Besides saying “I do,” choosing a wedding venue is arguably the most important decision you’ll make. But the problem is that there are so many options, hidden fees, and confusing jargon which all make navigating the process feel like deciphering ancient hieroglyphics.

Even thinking about it can give anxiety.

So, how do you go about it? Here are 5 crucial questions you must ask before signing on the dotted line.

1. What’s included in the rental fee?

This seemingly simple question unlocks a treasure trove of potential hidden costs. Ask about tables, chairs, linens, lighting, sound systems, staff (e.g., security, bartenders), and even waste disposal.

Remember, “included” doesn’t necessarily mean “free.” Clarify if these items require additional rental fees or come at a set-up/breakdown cost.

2. Are there any additional fees or restrictions?

Don’t be shy! Inquire about corkage fees (if you bring your own alcohol), vendor restrictions (some venues have exclusive partnerships), overtime charges (if your party goes beyond the allocated time), and parking fees (both for guests and vendors). These seemingly small costs can quickly add up, so transparency is key.

3. What is your cancellation policy?

Life happens, and sometimes plans change. Ensure you understand the cancellation policy, including deadlines, refund percentages, and any potential penalties.

Remember, the stricter the policy, the more flexibility you might need in your overall planning timeline.

4. Can I see the venue contract in advance?

Don’t wait until the last minute to review the legal jargon! Request a copy of the contract beforehand and have it reviewed by a trusted friend or legal professional.

Look for clarity on payment schedules, damage deposits, insurance requirements, and any clauses limiting your decorating freedom.

5. Can you provide references from past weddings?

Talking to previous couples who used the venue can offer invaluable insights. Ask about their experience with communication, flexibility, responsiveness, and any unexpected challenges they faced. This insider information can be a real game-changer!

Contact us at Villa Ragusa if you have any questions you need clarification.