photo by Brandon Kidd
12 Essential Questions to Ask on Your Wedding Venue Walk Through
The entire globe is your oyster when it comes to where you can wed. Searching for that ideal wedding venue can seem like a daunting task with so many wonderful options to choose from. Whether you want to tie the knot in a barn in your...
photo by Brandon Kidd
The entire globe is your oyster when it comes to where you can wed. Searching for that ideal wedding venue can seem like a daunting task with so many wonderful options to choose from. Whether you want to tie the knot in a barn in your own hometown or in an overwater chapel overseas, if you can dream it, you can likely say “I do” there. So it’s important to make this decision an educated one. Whenever possible always tour the venue before booking. Walking the spaces, learning about the experience and asking questions are all important to the process. But what do you need to know? We asked experts from top venues around the world to weigh in on questions you should ask during a wedding venue tour. Don’t sign on the dotted line without being armed with answers to these key questions!

Knowing whether or not you can bring in your own cake or catering, if you need an additional insurance policy or how many guests can attend a tasting may not sound like the fun part of party planning but it’s all essential information to ensure there are no surprises. Making a smart first decision with your wedding venue sets you up for success and a spectacular wedding event to come!

Reporter: Harmony Walton
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Ask About the Bottom Line

"On a wedding venue walk through it is important to fully understand the costs. Make sure to ask if they have a food and beverage minimum and an explanation on how service charge and tax effects those costs. Always ask the venue to create a sample estimate that includes possible miscellaneous charges such as valet parking, bartender charges, power or overtime charges." - Paige Levy Kouretchian, Fairmont Grand Del Mar
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Know the Price Differences

Photo by Brandon Kidd
"When touring a potential wedding venue, ask your salesperson if the food and beverage minimums are different on different days of the week. Then ask if those prices are all-inclusive. You want to be fully armed with all the proper budget information to make an informed decision that fits your unique event so you aren’t overspending in any one area." - Cynthia Dolbee, Montage International
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Get an Idea of Timing

"I recommend asking the venue what the contracted amount of time is from ceremony to the end of the reception and how much set up time is included. It also helps to ask how many weddings the venue can host in a day so you can plan the day properly. At the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, hosting only one wedding a day is important to us so that our clients can experience a certain level of privacy on property and know that they are always our top priority." - Paige Levy Kouretchian, Fairmont Grand Del Mar
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Know the Magic Hour

"I always recommend everyone to ask about sunset timing!! This question will help you establish when the sun sets, which will help you build a timeline for the wedding and make sure the ceremony is in the daylight. Don't forget to ask where the sun will be setting in June, or whatever month you are planning, this will ensure you have the ceremony with the perfect backdrop." - Katie Cotten, Four Seasons Maui at Wailea
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Get Down to Basics

"Can we bring in outside vendors or is there a list of preferred vendors that you trust? Are you able to create customized menus based upon items that are special to us? Do you offer menu tastings? How much setup time do you allow? Do you cleanup after the event is over? What do you provide as far as equipment/décor (i.e. chairs, tables, linens, glassware, flatware, centerpieces, etc.)? Do you have any pictures or rave reviews from previous couples you can share?" - Lauren Kustwan, The Lodge at Sonoma
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Get Down to Basics [Cont.]

Photo by SLS Baha Mar
"What is your weather back up plan? What are the noise ordinates for outdoor spaces? Are there any restrictions on where we can take photos? Is there a bridal suite to get ready in? Do you require a wedding planner? What is your role the day of the wedding as the venue planner? Are there set up fees for outdoor venue spaces? Are there restrictions on plated versus buffet in any of your spaces?" - Robin Ewing, SLS Baha Mar
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Know What Makes it Legal

"Ask for information and requirements about legal marriage in the county or country." - Ana Cerna, Baha Mar
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Understand the F&B

Photo by Maui Maka
"Don’t forget to ask about the different cuisine options available to you if your event calls for something specific. Perhaps you want Indian or Persian food served at your reception or you’re planning a Kosher wedding. Here at Montage Hotels & Resorts we accommodate all types of events and are open to and experienced in working with a variety of cuisine requirements. If that’s important to you and your families, be sure you’ve found a venue that can handle your specific requests." - Cynthia Dolbee, Montage International
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Experience the Options

"During your wedding venue walk through, it is important to feel inspired, refreshed and in love with the location. This is the place where you have to imagine yourself saying your vows and celebrating with your loved ones. It is important to understand everything the venue has to offer for you and your guests, think about what’s important to you: Is it cuisine? Does the venue provide a variety of options or customization for food options? Is it scenery? Are there indoor and outdoor event spaces for you to choose from? At Baha Mar, we have a large range of outdoor and indoor event spaces with stunning views of the ocean and dramatic landscapes with a touch of natural beauty and culture that flows throughout the resort. Make sure the venue provides you with a sense of culture within the location to give your guests a feel of destination. Is it accommodation? What all does the venue offer for your guests and is there a variety of options for different age groups? It’s great to provide options for your guests especially for a destination wedding. Most guests turn a destination wedding into a vacation and spend 4-5 days at the resort so getting the feeling of variety is always a plus for your guests." - Nora Narkevic, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
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Don’t Forget the Guestrooms

"Do you have minimum of nights and percentage of guests required to stay at your hotel and what is the minimum Food & Beverage expend? If you are flexible with your dates, ask the hotel for low season deals (minimum guests stay and food & beverage expend requirements tend to be more accommodating)." - Ana Cerna, Baha Mar
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Plan to Practice

Photo by Annie Gray
"Am I guaranteed a place the evening before for my wedding rehearsal? It’s important to know that you can coordinate a dry run of your ceremony on the day or days leading up to the big date with your planner, officiant and wedding party. This helps to ensure a smooth wedding day so be sure to speak to your venue about options during your tour." - Lauren Kustwan, The Lodge at Sonoma
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Don’t Forget About the Pre and Post Parties

"Ask about pre/post event options and availability. Don't forget to plan for a welcome reception, rehearsal dinner and day after brunch. Creating a fun destination weekend gives you so much more time with friends and family. Creating these events ahead of time allows for a relaxing wedding weekend flow for everyone." - Katie Cotten, Four Seasons Maui at Wailea

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