Essex wedding venue Crondon Park tell us all the questions you should be asking your wedding venue...
Getting married will no doubt be one of the most exciting experiences of your life. From the moment you get engaged, your head will likely be filled with ideas for your big day – from the dress to the date, hen dos to hair and makeup.
With so much to think about, it's a good idea to get organised as soon as possible. Your venue is a great place to start; once the big decisions have been seen to, the details will fall into place more easily.
When it comes to liaising with your chosen venue, there are some things you should bear in mind; some questions you might want to ask to make sure you've found the right fit for your wedding, and to ensure the day goes as smoothly as possible, with no unwanted surprises!
Start with the logistics
Make sure you have the basics covered. We've included a list of the most important things to check with your venue.
·When is the venue available? (if you're still in the early stages of viewing venues then you might also want to check if you can provisionally hold a date).
·How many guests can it accommodate? Remember to consider both the day and evening guests
·How long are you allowed the venue for?
·Is the venue available for exclusive hire?
·Can the venue accommodate the ceremony? And will these be held in the same, or separate rooms?
·Will you need to use the venue's recommended suppliers?
·Where do guests park and how many spaces are available. Is parking free?
·Will you have a dedicated point of contact for your wedding?
·Is there a designated smoking area?
·Is the venue accessible for disabled guests, should you need it to be?
·Does the venue have public liability insurance?
·Will they allow you to hold a wedding rehearsal?
If you're planning to hold your wedding outside, it's also worth asking your venue what their contingency plan is if it rains.
Accommodating your guests
More and more guests are choosing to stay the night. It's an especially popular option for those who don't live close by, or would just rather forego the hassle of choosing a designated driver.
·Does the venue have onsite accommodation?
·What are the room rates, and is there a discount for group bookings?
·If not, do they partner with any local hotels?
To ensure everything runs to budget and you're not left with any awkward cash flow issues, we'd recommend checking out the following first:
·What is included in the cost (some venues may offer a package deal that also includes other aspects such as catering, alcohol and staff, so it's important to take this into consideration when comparing costs).
·What is the total cost of the venue and when is this due?
·How much is the deposit and when is this due?
·What types of payment do they accept and can they offer payment plans?
·What is the cancellation policy?
Eat, drink and be merry
The part everyone looks forward to. Make sure it lives up to expectations by remembering to ask a few questions first:
·Does the venue provide in-house catering? If not, is there a preferred list of caterers you should choose from?
·Can you arrange a tasting and is there a cost incurred for this?
·Can the venue accommodate for special dietary requirements?
·Do they provide waiting staff, and bartenders, and if so, how many and at what cost?
·Are tables, linen, plates, silverware, cutlery and glass provided or will you need to rent them?
·Does the venue have a license to service alcohol?
·Do they provide the alcohol and bar service, and what drinks are included in the pricing?
·Is there a corkage fee?
·Do they provide a knife for the cake and is there a cake-cutting fee?
Note your music options
You want your guests to let their hair down and have a good time, so make sure you're aware of what your choices are when it comes to music and entertainment.
·What sort of sound system does the venue provide?
·Can you bring in a band or DJ, and if so, when will they be allowed to set up?
·What time will you be allowed to play music until?
Setting the scene
·How long should you allow for set-up and when can you begin?
·Are there any restrictions on decorations? For example, not all venues permit the use of candles in centrepieces.
·What decorations, if any, does the venue provide?
·How many people are seated to a table, and are there high chairs available for children and babies?
Taking the time to ask your preferred venue a few questions before you part with any cash, can be a really worthwhile way to avoid any stress later down the line. You're then free to turn your attention towards flowers, cakes and dresses. Happy wedding planning!
Crondon Park are an Essex-based wedding venue, and winner of Best Countryside Wedding Venue at The British Wedding Awards.