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Venue Contracts: What You Need to Know Before Signing

Selecting a venue is one of the first major steps couples take toward planning their wedding. It can also be one of the most expensive decisions. It’s important to know what you’re signing when navigating a venue contract to make sure you have everything you need on your big day. We asked three wedding planners their top tips to know before you sign on the dotted line.


What is the top tip you can give a bride when it comes to selecting a venue?  

“Some things to consider are: style and decor; ability to bring in outside food/alcohol, choose your caterer/vendors; number of hours and rentals included; and a weather plan.” — Elizabeth Gonzalez of After Yes Weddings

Make sure that the venue has a rain plan that you love just as much as your initial location choice! You never know when you may have to use it.” — Jess Wegner of Jess Wegner Events

“Go in knowing what you want and if that venue works logistically for you, i.e. space requirements, kitchen accommodations for catering, if they’re going to have enough space or electrical circuits to hold a band or a DJ, etc.” — Alexa Kay of Alexa Kay Events


What are important things to look out for when signing a venue contract? 

“Damage waivers, extra fees for hours, and security. Also, if there are insurance requirements for vendors and explicitly listing what is included.” — EG

“A food and beverage minimum is how much you have to spend, not necessarily what you will spend. Make sure you ask for an itemized estimate for your guest count, so you can get a realistic expectation of what to budget.” — JW

Make sure it has all the time requirements stated, and that the timing you’re agreeing to is going to include set up and breakdown. This can easily get lost in translation.” — AK


In our current world of cancelling and postponing weddings due to the pandemic, how can brides prepare themselves in the case of this type of situation?  

“Carefully read the policies of each vendor and ask questions if it’s not outlined or unclear.” — EG

“Read and reread the fine print, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make sure to pay close attention to the force majeure clause, which should cover anything pandemic or natural-disaster related.” — JW

“Have a conversation with your vendors before you sign, and then make sure you have it in writing. This can include coverage during a mandated shutdown and knowing whether you’ll be able to cancel and get your deposits back.” — AK


What hidden fees can easily be overlooked?  

“Any requirements that come with a cost, like insurance, service taxes, service fees like cake cutting, reception flips and a la carte rentals.” — EG

“Service charges and taxes.” JW

“Additional time. You could be billed up to $200 every 15 minutes if your vendors don’t get out on time during breakdown.” AK


Why is it important to look into what the venue offers in terms of venue-hired staff?  

“It is important to have an understanding of each vendor’s role and to be sure every detail is taken care of and not paid for twice.” — EG

“Don’t be afraid to ask the venue what requirements and expectations they have for their staff. For example, a messy bun may be totally fine for the grocery store, but it can look a bit disheveled at a black tie affair.” — JW

 “Venue-hired staff are there to make sure everything with the venue is up to standards. If I need the lights turned on or off, if there’s a spill, if we’re doing a venue flip, they’re there to accommodate that.” AK


Anything else you think our brides could benefit from knowing when it comes to venue contracts? 

“My advice is to hire a planner before choosing the venue in order to have professional guidance on this first huge step in planning a wedding.” — EG

“You should expect to spend about half of your wedding budget on your venue and catering needs, never be intimidated to ask the important questions… or let your wedding planner do it for you!” — JW

“This is where a planner comes in handy. I know the questions to ask whereas actual clients may not if this is their first time.” AK


The post Venue Contracts: What You Need to Know Before Signing appeared first on D Weddings.

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