The prospect of touring many of the stunning venues in the York | Lancaster | Harrisburg area can be very exciting. After all, what’s not to love? You’ve been waiting for this day your entire life and now that dream becomes more real with each passing day.
Whether it is the elegance of Linwood Estate or the rustic charm of Stoner Commons, it is so easy to get swept up in the beauty of the space and forget all about the logistical questions you need to ask.
That's why we have created this article which is a list of questions you should ask while visiting a prospective venue.
While the price tag is likely the first thing that comes to mind when choosing your event venue, you need to dig deeper than that to determine if the venue is a deal or will cost more than you originally thought. While some of these questions may not seem nearly as exciting other decisions that you will make, creating personalized cocktails for instance, these can make a huge impact on both your budget and guests comfort.
What is your availability?
It's easy to get caught up in the love of a venue and if you have a set date in mind it's best to check before diving head first into planning logistics of a certain location only to be disheartened down the road. So, do your due diligence and add this to the top of your venue question checklist!
What services do you include?
The services provided by each venue often vary. It is important to understand what support the venue is providing leading up to and including the day of your event. Some may assist with setting out the place cards. Few will be responsible for creating the seating charts. Services are sometimes negotiable and it never hurts to ask. That said, make sure that the expectations are clearly written in your contract so that there are no unexpected surprises should there be a change in personnel.
As you visit multiple venues be sure to compare the included and excluded items to make a fair comparison between venues.
Is there a kitchen on site?
From a catering perspective, the most important questions to ask relate to infrastructure:
Does it have cooking equipment or is it just a staging area?
How far is it from the guest service area?
Does the venue provide tenting for caterers?
Is there ample power supplied or are generators needed.
Is there running water?
Is there parking at the caterers set up location?
Is access provided in advance of and after the event?
These are all great questions to ask as any gaps may ultimately affect the cost of your catering.
Does your venue have load in and load out terms?
This is HUGE! There are venues in the market that will not permit access to the venue until 45 minutes prior to the ceremony. This will have a significant impact on your expense!
Most vendors: Florist, Caterer, Décor, and the DJ; are arriving with van loads of equipment, flowers, or décor items. All of these take either time to set up. To set up faster requires more people. The cost of that labor will come out of your pocket and not the venue’s.
To give you an example of what is involved from the DJ Service for a typical event in terms of set up, here is an example. Our typical wedding includes the ceremony as well as the reception. These are in two different locations. Since they are in two locations, we bring two complete sound systems.
On a summer day the temps here are often in the “feels like” one hundred degree plus. To set up two sound systems, complete sound checks for both, and to change into proper attire is a stretch. Add in setting up a photo booth and doing uplighting and you are asking for something to go wrong.
This may not win me venue owner fans but here is my opinion: We are in the service business. In our line of work we get one chance to get it right. There should not be an unrealistic set up expectation. DJ equipment is not a radio that you plug in and turn on. There are components that are designed to be dialed in to work together. If the venue is more concerned about what time they have to arrive to unlock the doors than they are about the quality of the event, then in my opinion
they are should not be in the service business and there is no way I would book them for any event!
Does the property allow multiple events in the same day?
Inquire about additional events that also may be taking place on your wedding day. If other weddings are taking place, how will the on-property staff handle multiple events? You will want to ensure that you have a team of staff solely designated to your wedding.
Do we need to flip the space?
If you plan on hosting your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception all at one venue, finds out if the venue needs to reuse the ceremony space to accommodate the dinner reception. If so, this will impact other vendors, like your DJ and florist, since they will only have one hour to get equipment into position or to set the dinner tables.
You'll want to be sure that both are prepared with a large enough team to make the flip as seamless as possible. Keep in mind that this likely will have an impact on your total cost since items have to be set up multiple times.
Is there a fee if I bring in items from outside vendors?
When you are going through the planning process, there might be special items that you want to bring on-property like for example, if you bring a cake from an outside vendor, is there a cutting fee? Make sure to ask these questions ahead of time so you aren't hit with additional unexpected costs.
Are there any alcohol limitations?
If you have visions of personalized cocktails flowing at your wedding, be sure to ask if the venue has any limitations on serving alcohol. Some venues, especially wineries, are not licensed to serve alcohol and it could be a disappointment if you later learn your guest can only drink beer and wine.
What are your recommendations for guest transportation?
Don't forget about transportation when it comes to your venue—how your guests arrive/depart is important to keep in mind during your planning. Here are some suggested questions to ask regarding transportation: Is a shuttle mandatory to/from the property and local accommodations? Do you offer valet parking? If not, can we bring in a service for this? Is there a designated parking area for guests?
Will you be the person handling my wedding and will you be at my wedding overseeing all the details?
When touring a venue, it is very important to understand who you will be working with throughout the planning process and on your wedding day. I would also suggest that you find out their time in position. This will give you an idea of their likelihood of being there when your big day arrives.
What is our rain plan?
Always make sure to see the back-up space in case of inclement weather. You do not want to be in a situation where you have to move your wedding indoors and they have unattractive space, or worse, no space available!
Is there a noise ordinance?
Be sure to ask potential venues about their noise ordinance. Often times, venues have an outdoor curfew out of respect to their neighbors. If you are interested in extending the party, be sure to ask about options for an indoor location to utilize late night!
At Perfect Harmony Entertainment we provide exceptional DJ | Photo Booth | Lighting | Amusement service to clients in the four state area. Our dedicated team of DJs perform at events in Harrisburg | York | Lancaster as well as Washington DC | Northern VA | Frederick MD and all neighboring areas.
If you would like to learn more about our services or discuss your event in greater detail please reach out to us in the manner you prefer: Call | Text | Email.
Perfect Harmony Entertainment
We help people create legendary events. Compromise some place else.