Shortly after a couple announces their engagement, they not only receive tons of well-wishes but also questions asking the when and where. And with so many wedding venues available, choosing the right one is not easy any longer and couples need to ask many and important questions before they can check off that task from their wedding list. Choosing a wedding venue might seem like a task consisting only of liking a space or not, but in reality there’s way more to consider than that.

Knowing what to ask and what to expect ensures you that your big W-Day will be a success.

We’ve asked the weddings and events coordinators at Adelaide Hills Convention Centre, a wedding venue in Adelaide Hills, Australia, what are the key aspects that a couple should consider when choosing their wedding venue and which questions they shouldn’t forget to ask.

Regarding The Wedding Date

Even if you have a date in mind for your W-Day and you are open to discussing it with the venue manager, you need to make sure that that day is available. That said, one of the first questions you should ask is whether your chosen date is free and how many weddings will be booked that day. This is particularly important especially if the venue is large and has multiple spaces. It is important to know what else, if anything, will be going on in the venue. How will guests know where to go and how will the venue keep others out of your space? And last but not least, how many people the venue place can accommodate.

Regarding Payment and Other Financial Issues

Booking a wedding venue is not a minor expense and, therefore, it is important that couples make sure that their chosen venue is within their budget and that they have a crystal clear idea of all the costs and rates included.

It is worth asking if the wedding venue has different rates for holding events at different days and times. In some cases, wedding celebrations on a Monday evening are less expensive than the same event on a Friday evening. Once you learn about the rental fee, ask what it is included in it, how much is the deposit, when it is due, if it is refundable and what’s the payment plan for the entire bill. Some venue places allow you to pay in installments so make sure you ask about all your financing alternatives.

Additional costs, especially if they are unexpected, can turn your magical W-Day into a nightmare. That said, make sure you ask about any hidden costs like a service charge, cleaning fees, overtime charges, cancellation fees, gratuity, etc.

It is also advisable that you ask whether VAT is included or not. As you’re working on numbers, this cost can be easily forgotten and if you find this out after booking your wedding venue, it can really blow your budget.

As you discuss everything with the wedding venue manager, make sure you get everything in written. You don’t need to sign off anything yet, but it will allow you to evaluate the offer better and to check whether they have included everything you’ve discussed or not.

Regarding The Logistics

As it has been said, there are multiple things to consider when choosing a wedding venue and knowing the way in which the typical logistics of a wedding celebration will be handled by the venue of your choice is not a minor issue. From ample parking space to handicap facilities, to having a backup plan for rain or inclement weather, knowing that your venue is able to manage all these issues for you is definitely important. If there is parking on the site, ask if it is complimentary, if valet parking is offered and what the charge is. You may also be interested in asking if the venue has a shuttle available to take your guests from where the religious ceremony will be held to the reception venue as it can be really helpful if some of your guests don’t have a car of their own.

There is no wedding celebrating without a band and/or dancing, so make sure you ask about whether there is room for a band, where the outlets are located so that they can set up and where you can set up the dancing area. Inquire as well if there are any restrictions on what kind of music can be played or a time by which the music must end.

Ask if you can hold your ceremony there too, if there is an additional charge and if there is a changing area for the bride available.

Ask if you can move things around and decorate to suit your purposes or if you need to leave things as is. Inquire about decoration guidelines or restrictions. Make sure you check at what time your vendors can start setting up on the day of the wedding and if it is possible to start the process the day before.

You may also want to ask about whether the site has liability insurance or not and about what security facilities it offers.

Regarding Food, Drink and Other Vendors

There are two very different types of wedding venues: full service or not full service. A full service wedding venue offers everything from table and chair rentals to linens and catering supplies, while a non-full service venue most of the time offers you the space and it is up to you to fill in the rest, what means you’re responsible for booking all the vendors you may need for your wedding day. Both options have their pros and cons so it is advisable that you evaluate your options carefully.

If there is an in house caterer, ask what the available menu options are, if special dietary options can be considered for health, personal or religious reasons and if you can arrange a tasting to be made. You may also want to ask if you can bring in your own caterer and whether they’ll be allowed to use the kitchen and stuff without any problem.

Wine and other alcoholic beverages can be trickier. Depending on the venue you choose, red wine or some dark tinted alcoholic drinks can be prohibited because anything they may stain are harder to clean. If you are considering bringing in your own alcohol, ask not only if you are allowed to do that but also what the corkage fee is as it can be quite expensive in some venues.

Regarding Staffing

Ask whether the wedding venue you choose offers an on-site coordinator, what his or her fees are, how much assistance you can get from them regarding setup and decor and whether you can meet to have a talk, discuss some wedding celebration related issues and make sure you’re both on the same page. You may want to know if the coordinator will be your point person on the day of your wedding. Be sure you get a list of their responsibilities and make sure they’ll be present on your wedding day.

Additional Tips

Use your cell phone or digital camera take photos or videos of the wedding venues you visit so that you have a record of what you liked and didn’t like about them. And if you’re planning to visit more than a few venues, snap a photo of each one’s sign when you arrive so that the pictures don’t get mixed up when you review them later.

Pay attention to the wedding venue as a whole: check out everything, including the restrooms, the foyer, the outdoor lighting, the dressing rooms and even the kitchen. Make arrangements with the site representative to visit the venue when it is set up for a wedding and if possible, on the time of day when your venue will be held.