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What You Need To Know Before Booking A Wedding Venue

  |   By Kate Stewart

Nothing beats eating and dancing the night away with your friends and family, and your location really sets the mood for the night. Here’s a list of major things to check off before you bring out the chequebook.

Consider the cleanup crew If you’re planning on being a DIY bride and have your own set up crew be sure to ask when you’ll be able to get in to the venue and when you’ll have to do the clean up. Some locations will allow for next day pick up of rental equipment, but if it’s a busy time for weddings you could be stuck with a rental fee for two days. If you’re working with a wedding planner this is a definite "must discuss". Your planner's team will likely be the ones setting up and taking down, but don’t assume anything. Better to be safe than be in the red with unseen additional costs.

Do a tech check Before you go to book your reception, think about what you want at the reception. If you’re planning on showing your love through a slideshow, you’ll need to know if there is a projector available or if that’s something to add to the rental list. Veteran DJs will suss out the venue's sound system, but if you and your new hubby are plugging in the iPod, then a tech check is called for.

Think about food and drink Most convention centres have their own on-site catering and others will have contracts with local restaurants (and maybe some discounts for weddings!). If you have your heart set on serving your favourite restaurant’s fare, you might need to book your venue accordingly. When it comes to the cake, some venues may charge a fee to divide and dole out the pieces if it’s not coming from their kitchen.

Also, be sure to inquire about alcohol policies: How much do they have on hand and what do they stock? What happens if they run out? And how many bartenders do they provide? These are all things you need to cover -- especially if you know your friends like to party!

Set a timeline You can set a curfew for your reception, but if the party is going strong no one wants to be the Debbie Downer chaperone flicking on the lights and pointing to the exit. Check if the reception hall needs you out by a certain time, and what the punishment is for going over. A good way to avoid having to slam on the party brakes is setting a curfew for the bar. Last calls for food and drinks will have the party winding down naturally.

This article was originally published on Mar 03, 2014

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