Planning the party of a lifetime begins with picking the best location. Follow these tips to find the ideal setting.
Ask the Right Questions
• In picking a site, don't overlook the practical details. The décor or the views might be drop-dead gorgeous, but they won't save the day if there aren't enough bathrooms or parking spots.
• Make sure there are no hidden fees, like overtime or cleanup charges.
• If you're considering an unusual reception site, make sure the facilities are adequate for the caterer—and don't forget the added expense if, say, you'll need to rent an extra tent for the caterer's equipment.
As you and your fiance look at various sites, here are some questions to keep in mind:
- Does the décor suit our wedding style?
- Is the room big enough for our number of guests? Is there a minimum we'll be charged for?
- Is the dance floor large enough and well-situated?
- What's the space like for the band or DJ?
- Does the kitchen look clean and well-maintained?
- Is the staff friendly and helpful?
If answers to the above questions are satisfactory, it's time to delve a little deeper with the site managers:
- Are there brochures or other printed information I can take home, or do you have a website?
- Can I see a sample copy of the contract?
- Are your insurance and health department certifications up to date?
- Do you have references I can call?
- Is there a rental fee for microphones and other equipment?
- How much time is allowed for set up and clean up?
- How many weddings do you accommodate at once? If more than one, how will my guests be directed to the right place?
- Are the restrooms adequate for the number of guests? Is parking sufficient and convenient?
- Is there adequate heating or air conditioning?
- What is your policy regarding valet parking, coat check and restroom attendants?
- Are gratuities for the maitre d', wait staff and bartenders included in the fee?
- Are any extras included, such as the cake?
- What basic decorations are provided?
- Is there a private room for the bride to change in?
- When will you need a final head count?
- What is your payment schedule?
When you make your site choice, make sure that every detail concerning costs, timing, and exactly what you're entitled to is outlined in the contract.