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Your wedding venue is the foundation of your day, so take advantage of everything it has to offer. Jess Levin asked a few of the industry's insiders share their tips on what to ask and why!
What to Ask: How many events do you do in one day?
"Ask any venue you're considering if they book several wedding and events in one day. You want to know not only that you will be well taken care of on your special day but also that you and your even team will have plenty of time to set up and customize your event." —Kristin Doggett, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Bellafare
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What to Ask: Do you have a preferred or exclusive vendor list?
"A preferred vendor list will consist of selected vendors who have been vetted by the venue, but you will still be permitted to consider vendors not on their list. An exclusive vendor list means you can only use these vendors. If a venue has an exclusive vendor list, this can drive up costs as clearly only a few vendors have a 'lock' on the venue." —Lynn Easton, Co-Owner, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Think food, beverage minimums, rentals. "You want to know what's included for all of your menu and beverage requirements, and what the venue comes with (like tables, chairs, or linens). Make sure you understand what the minimum of the venue is (if they provide catering) and how that relates to your actual desires for food and beverage. Oftentimes the minimum won't come close to what you'll actually be paying out the door, so ask for a detailed estimate in writing including desired appetizers, dinner, late-night snacks, desserts, bar, and staffing and tax, as well as any rental fees, extra hours, or clean-up fees." —Aleah & Nick Valley, Owners, Valley & Company Events
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"Read your contract—the last thing you want is to plan on having all your guests send you off with sparklers only to find out the venue doesn't allow it. We hate to have to disappoint when it's something you have had your heart set on for months, but all could have been avoided as all restrictions are outlined in the rental agreement." —Julie Miller, Production Manager, The Foundry
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What to Ask: What makes your property unique, or is there anything special happening during the time of year?
"To get the most of our your wedding venue, embrace the special elements of the property, like the history of the venue or the unique features of the space or the gardens that might be in bloom. Choose a color palette and design that complements all the natural beauty of your surrounds." —Lyndsey Hamilton, Creative Director, Lyndsey Hamilton Events
"It's a smart idea to take suggestions on your floor plan from your venue coordinator. Listen to what they have to say first, and then ask questions. No question is a silly question so ask as many as you can—just be prepared to hear a possible no. And if you get a no, listen to their reasoning—it might inspire a new idea." —Jaclyn Journey, Owner/Designer, Jaclyn Journey Event & Floral Design
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"Work closely with the chef to set a menu that reflects your tastes and will wow your guests. The hotel will always have great suggestions of what works well, but a bride should push the venue to customize the menu." —Gary Merjian, Director of Catering & Event Management, The St. Regis New York
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"Learn from others' successes and mistakes. The property is a wealth of knowledge on what works and what doesn't, so use their expertise to your advantage." —Alexandra Metz, Director of Catering, New York Botanical Garden
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What to Ask: Is there anything we can do to make the process run smoothly?
"Most venue contacts will go out of their way to go above and beyond for clients that have been nice to work with throughout the process. I have seen many venue contacts add things to the order at no charge just because they loved the client. When you fight a contract too much, sometimes it could hurt you in the end." —Sara Fay Egan, Partner, Jackson Durham Events