Decoding the Contract
31. Your date isn't officially reserved until you sign your contract and, in most cases, make a deposit.
32. "Make sure when you are looking for potential venues that you clearly understand what's included and what isn't," says Lindsey Norton from L. Brook Events. For example, if you're getting married at a beautiful historic estate, but they don't have any upgraded electrical systems, you will need to factor the cost of renting generators into your budget. Read the fine print and triple-check that everything you and your site coordinator discussed is included in the contract. How to avoid the most common hidden fees ►
33. When negotiating, it's easier to work with a substitution than to deduct from the bottom line. For example, if you don't want an ice sculpture that's part of the venue package, perhaps you can ask the venue to remove it and add something else instead. "Most importantly, remember to be kind and thoughtful when you ask to negotiate anything. A grateful heart will give back to you in many ways," Kolanović-Šolaja says. Read more wedding negotiation pointers ►
34. Don't get pressured into signing right away. If a venue has your desired date open, but you aren't ready to book, ask if they can place a soft hold or give you a courtesy call if someone else is interested in your date. (Some places may charge a small deposit fee to hold your wedding date if you haven't signed a contract yet, which is usually taken off the final bill.) Take a few days to talk it over with your fiancé and make sure that your financials are doable in the time frame that you have.
35. You will usually give the first deposit at the signing. Some venues will accept the first payment on a credit card, but after that, it will be cashier's check or cash, so be prepared when those payments are due.