1. What is the capacity of your ballroom?
– Let them know you will need a 32’X16’ stage for the mandap – how many chairs can you fit theater style with a 10’ aisle?
– For the reception, remind them you will want a dance floor and stage (if you want the stage), space for screens and projectors (if applicable).
2. Hotel: What is the minimum on the ballroom?
Venue: What is the rental cost for the space.
2a. What items to do you include with that charge? Take a tour before you book – side note: there is a great hotel in town that has these super comfortable chairs that have a little give when you lean back in them and they have these arms that make sitting in them very comfortable. HOWEVER, have you ever tried to put a chair cover on chairs with arms?? I went on the tour when they initially opened the property and then I learned that these were the only chairs they had on site. After that, I learned whenever I used that venue I had to add chair rentals to the decor budget because their chairs didn’t always go with the decorative theme.
2b. Do note that “off-season” and Friday/Sundays are usually better priced. Off-season is really city dependent – like in NY – who wants to get married in the dead of winter OR in Texas – who wants to get married in the middle of the summer? You’ll find they’ll be more willing to negotiate during the off-season.
2c. Are there any other ancillary fees for the space? Hotels have anywhere from 20%-28% service charge fees/admin fees/etc. and plus sales tax added on top of that – that’s nearly 30% or more added to your final cost. Be aware of that number before signing on the dotted line.
3. What is your average time to flip a room?
– As you’ve learned a flip is when you re-purpose a room, or convert it from the ceremony to reception style for example. It’s important to know this time limitation so that your decorator cam allocate time and staff to setup the decor.
4. Do you have any restrictions regarding the ceremonial fire?
– Some places require that you get a permit to bypass the fire alarm or require that you someone posted to do the fire watch which will all add costs to your budget
5. Do you charge for parking?
– My advice on this is if they charge for parking, try to negotiate valet parking down to close to the same cost as self-pay, and pay for it yourselves!! If valet is much more expensive and not in the budget, then at least pay for the self-parking!! It leaves such a terrible taste in your guests mouths as this will be the last thing they do as they leave your wedding. Definitely negotiate for in and out privileges if you are having the ceremony in the morning with the reception in the evening.
6. Do we have to go with your Audio Visual team?
Desi DJs have all the equipment you need and likely better priced. Find out how flexible the venue is about outside A/V equipment. Sometimes there’s a nominal fee to bring in your own Audio Visual team.