So after looking through hundreds of venues, comparing the pricing and locations, you finally think you have found the perfect reception!
BUT…it never hurts to find out the good, and not so good benefits before you sign on the dotted line.
Here are a list of things to keep in mind and ask the venue and to be wary of Venue Restrictions :
Some venues have strict sound restrictions relating to their location. They may have an inbuilt system which they can monitor how loud the music goes.Some places say music must be turned off by a certain time, and others may not be able to have doors open if the sound is likely to carry. Always be sure to find out all sound restrictions before you book.
PITFALL- With venues which have an inbuilt system, they may demonstrate it for you, but keep in mind hearing how loud it is in an empty room is not a good way to see how loud it will be when you have 100 guests taking up room and talking. Always ensure you do some research on forums and ask other couples who have had their reception there how they found the system. Some places like Caversham House have a really great system, others do not. Do you research!
Venue Access for Guests
With most specific wedding venues, guests can usually rock up whenever they want. However some restaurant venues or yacht clubs may not allow you and your guests to arrive before the official start time. This may be because they are serving restaurant customers and they still need to “turn over” the venue or it may be rules and regulations regarding ‘Members’ of the club. This will not be the case for EVERY venue of this type but ask the wedding coordinator for the details.
PITFALL- With some restaurants and yacht clubs, if guests do arrive early they may not be able to buy drinks prior to the start time. If this is the case, ensure you inform your guests of the nearest pub.
Venue Access for Suppliers
While this does not affect you directly, ensuring all your suppliers have access to the venue is very important. Some suppliers (like a DJ) may only need 1-2 hours for set up (depending on how large and how close to the room they can get) whereas other suppliers (such as a cake deliveries) may only take 15 minutes. Ask the wedding coordinator what time your suppliers can get in and ensure it is enough time by your suppliers standards.
PITFALL- Some suppliers will add extra fees for setups that have difficult access (i.e. only stairs with no lift, 12 mile hike to access point, etc) Be sure to keep this in mind for your budget
Some venues are very much designed for only a certain kind of weather! When you book your place, ensure the following:
-Does it have air conditioning/heating (and what type)
-Are there any “leaky” holes you need to be aware off
-What happens if it rains/snows/windy/45 degrees/-10 degrees
PITFALL- Some couples decide to have an outdoor/open marquee wedding, thinking that because they get married in summer there is no chance of rain, and this has caused some problems when the heavens unexpectedly open up. Ensure you and your venue have a contingency plan for your guests and your suppliers that need electricity should it rain (no matter how unlikely)
Food, Drink, Smoking
Most likely you have already tried the food and you are happy, but also ensure you have checked the following:
-The venue has dietary options for you guests should they need it (Gluten free, vegetarian, etc)
-Should guests wish, can they buy spirits?
-Where are guests permitted to smoke and can they take their drink with them?
Parking and Disabled Facilities
There are some fantastic venues in Perth and Melbourne, but if it is going to be a nightmare to get to the place you may want to ensure your guests carpool. Parking is one of the things that get over looked but it is important. Check where available parking bays are, the costs and what time they close. Also it never hurts to ensure all guests who may be wheelchair bound or have difficulty walking will be able to get to and navigate the venue. If you are expecting guests like this, ensure there is a disabled toilets for them as well.
And finally, know what time you need to be out of the venue. If your reception finishes at Midnight, check how long you and your guests are permitted to “potter” as you gather up the belongings. Some venues have strict policies and may charge you if you take longer than 30 minutes to vacate the premises. Most venues are very flexible but check with your wedding coordinator of any possible restrictions.
If you asks these questions, it will help you in the planning process.
The last note of advice is no matter what answers your wedding coordinator gives you, ensure it is written down in your contract, that way it is all on record.
(Image courtesy of “Youthgrouptruth.com”)