25 Questions you Should Ask your Event Venue, and Why!

There are a great number of questions you will have ahead of visiting your chosen venue, and it is important you capture everything you need to know before finalising with your other vendors. Below are some suggestions to make sure you know exactly what you are getting from your venue and how it affects your other vendors before signing the contract.

  1. What is the room capacity for guests?
    • Knowing how many guests you can seat for dinner or party will have a huge impact on your guest list. If you have a number in mind, make sure your venue can accommodate or that you can limit numbers before invitations are sent
    • The room capacity may affect the room layout you choose. If you can get away with an alternative room layout to seat everyone, you may be able to negotiate the space to best fit your needs ahead of the event. However, if the room layout is fixed for dinners or entertainment, you may need to slim down the list of invitees.
  2. Is there an entertainment / stage area, and how much space is available?
    • Understand how much space the entertainment area would take up in your event space. Having this information to had for your entertainment vendors will help them plan ahead of visiting or setting up at your event.
    • If the entertainment area is larger than needed, or ill-fit for purpose, this should be a serious consideration for choosing your event. Make sure to get a list of requirements from your entertainment vendor ahead of visiting the venue so you can confirm it has everything they need too.
  3. What are your deposit and cancellation policies?
    • Budget your spending by month, and also know how flexible the venue can be in case of any drop outs.
    • Knowing when the full balance is due for your space can help you know what to pay and when. If you can spread the cost over several months, it could give you some breathing space for other critical items you need for the event – for example, decorations and design elements.
  4. What happens if the expected number of guests don’t show up to the event?
    • Your venue should have a policy in place for any no-shows, including any meals and accommodation. Make sure you have these conversations early so you and your venue are not left with any surprises on the day.
  5. What other space can I access along with the event space?
    • Other rooms you may want to consider include: storage, washrooms, changing rooms and photo areas.
    • Understanding where you can access as part of your event package will help you organise your spaces easier. You will likely need to spread some of the activities to other areas in the hotel, and having a firm understanding with your venue will help manage crowd control.
  6. Who will be managing my event from the venue?
    • There should be someone allocated to your event on the day to ensure everything runs smoothly, and that you can make adjustments to the plan throughout the day.
    • Get a contact name and telephone number in case of emergencies or additional resources. They should be accessible to you at all times and for any reasonable reason, to support you and your guests.
  7. Do your staff have health and safety training?
    • First aid and CPR training on site is a necessity, in case of injury or emergency at an event. Knowing someone will be available to solve any unexpected health issues will avoid any manageable issues on the day.
  8. How flexible are the menu options?
    • Make sure you are familiar with the menu choices and attend a tasting, so you can verify it is exactly what you want and expect. If it is not at your level of expectation, find out if you can hire in an alternate catering vendor or design your own menu for the day.
  9. Does the hire price include alcohol and other drinks?
    • again, make sure you get the cost of everything. Wine and water on the table is common for most event prices, however it is always worth checking ahead of signing a contract. If this isn’t something the venue is able to include on the price, make sure you are getting the most for your money.
  10. Can I bring my own food, drink and / or cake?
    • There may be specific foods or drinks your guests would like to bring, depending on dietary requirements. This will require additional questioning if the venue is unable to fulfil specific requests
    • Knowing your options to bring in food, drink or cakes will help you manage your vendors more effectively. If you are able to host everything under one roof, it will certainly help your event planning. However, if you have plans to present a themed food, drink or cake for the event, knowing your options early on will definitely make your event and budget planning easier.
  11. Are there alternative charges for children?
    • If you have children attending an event, it is likely they will not have the same food that adults will be eating. Make sure you gather costs for the children attending the event, and if their headcount is at a lower rate.
    • Make sure you communicate the number of adults and children before the event so they are all catered for and the final invoice is correct before the event starts.
  12. Is there an additional charge for using my own vendors?
    • Always ask if there are additional charges for anything extra or extraordinary you are requesting. Getting early figures into your budget tracker will help you know what you can reasonably afford, and prioritise your required elements as needed.
    • If your vendors have specific requirements from the venue in order to set up or break down their equipment, make sure the venue can accommodate ahead of time. If there is equipment to hire, it’s good to know now – and if the venue would seek additional charges for alterations to the space, it is worth contemplating before agreeing to pay.
    • Pop up or mobile bars are quite common for events, and it’s good to know if a corking charge would be included at your venue.
  13. What is available from the bar and payment options for drinks?
    • There are a couple of payment options available for a venue bar: open bar or cash bar. Knowing what is available in both of these options (whether you or your guests are paying) will help decide which option you may wish to use.
    • If you choose an open bar, understand what drinks you would like to limit your guests to. If they are all requesting the best spirits or most expensive option and you have a limited budget, make sure you put these limits in place early. You can also request signature drinks aligned to your theme as part of the open bar. Remember, control as many elements as you can that makes sense for the occasion, to avoid any surprises when the bill is produced.
    • If you choose a cash bar, make sure your guests are aware of the drinks prices ahead of the event. They will be grateful that they can properly budget the occasion for themselves.
  14. What special amenities do you offer?
    • It’s good to know if after dinner teas, coffees and evening snacks are included within the cost of catering. Depending on the length of your event, your guests will need some ‘pick-me-ups’ throughout the night. If you do not get additional services as part of the price, make sure you are able to include it as an add-on, or hire in additional vendors for you guests comfort.
  15. Do you have accommodation options on site or nearby?
    • If you have traveling guests to your event, providing a list of on site and nearby accommodation options will help them plan their journeys. Organising special rates at either option based on the number of expected guests could give you and your guests an overall discount. You may need to brush off your negotiating skills for the best offer, but it’s beneficial to include accommodation with the planning stages if you know the numbers you want to attend.
  16. Are decorations included in the price?
    • Your venue will likely have a number of resources at your disposal, and some requests may be unavailable at the time of booking. If you know what decorations you would like to see at the event, check first with your venue to avoid hiring or buying unnecessary items.
    • These may include: table clothes, chair covers, tables, chairs and lighting.
  17. What time can my vendors get into the room before and after the event?
    • This will help you manage time on the day, and preferably you will be able to set most things up the night before. This will reduce time pressures and guarantee all equipment is set up or stored as needed before the day.
    • Set up time is a huge consideration for you and your vendors. If there is a delay to their set up time, make sure you have a contingency plan or allocate an alternate time to set them up. If it isn’t feasible, you may need to reconsider your venue or vendor.
  18. What space is available to store equipment?
    • Entertainers and other vendors will likely need to bring their own equipment as part of their contract. understand what space is available for storage, and any additional costs. communicate with all vendors ahead of the event.
  19. Are there set up fees?
    • Make sure all costs are considered for access to the event space, storage space and staff time. Knowing these additional costs ahead of time will help you budget more effectively.
  20. Is the breakdown and clean up included in the price?
    • If the venue will not be providing the breakdown and clean up service, see whether they can give you a price for this. Your vendors will likely be responsible in most occasions to set up and break down their own equipment. If the room needs your time to complete clean up, you must factor this into your planning timeline.
  21. Is parking extra?
    • This can be a nearby, on site car park or valet service – knowing if your guests have to pay for additional parking is good to share with them ahead of the event.
    • If you are willing and able to include this in your budget, knowing a cost per car per day will ensure everyone is accounted for. Equally, knowing if the guests can leave their vehicles at the venue overnight to collect the following day will help them budget and plan travel ahead of the event.
  22. Is there an additional service charge, and who receives this amount?
    • Tips are an important part of an event. The staff are on hand to support wherever needed, and it is a great gesture to give them all an extra thanks for good service.
    • Some venue will include service charge on top of the overall cost, and knowing who gets this amount will help you budget for all tips. For example, if there is a team that do not fall within this service charge amount, make sure they are acknowledged for their hard work equally.
  23. Is there a time limit associated with the space and is there an additional cost if we going over?
    • It is common for venue to set limits on the event space time, usually between 4 to 6 hours. However, they should have a plan in place for additional hours charge, which usually associates with the staff working hours. Being aware of additional costs for extra time will help you manage your guests better and also avoid any unexpected charges after the event.
  24. Are there any services available to accommodate my vendors?
    • Your vendors will need a space to eat, store equipment and get changed. Knowing what space and how much the cost is will help you budget and allocate this space effectively.
    • Feeding your vendors may come as an additional cost or overall headcount – be sure to identify which it is with the venues and communicate with all vendors ahead of the event.
  25. Will I have access to a changing room?
    • Depending on your event purpose, it’s always good to make sure there is a room for changing. This could be for yours or your vendors use (or both).
    • When you are checking the venue set up and storage, it is recommended to wear comfortable clothing before changing into your occasion clothes. If you do not have a room, you will find great benefit in hiring or using an additional room to change.
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