10 Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Wedding Venue

By: Lillian Miller, Events Coordinator

Trying to find your perfect wedding venue can be very exciting but challenging. There is more to finding the perfect indoor or outdoor wedding venue than just pretty looks. Different venues have all kinds of rules and ways that they do things. It is important to ask some very important questions. This 10-question guide should help you navigate your way to finding the perfect wedding venue in Suffolk!

Is the venue available?

To secure the desired time of year for your event, it is crucial to begin the booking process as early as possible. Remember that certain venues may already be fully booked for your preferred dates. Suffolk outdoor wedding venues are likelier to have a peak (busy) season when the weather is ideal for outdoor weddings. Some indoor and outdoor wedding venues also offer packages that will differ during high and low seasons. When researching Suffolk wedding venues ask about special packages. The Suffolk Conference Center has multiple wedding packages, including buffet and plated options.

How much is the deposit, and when is the final payment due?

Each Suffolk outdoor wedding venue will have different terms or rules regarding deposits and payments. It is important to know when you will need to pay so that the flow of money goes smoothly and you do not miss a payment. Keeping all of your vendor contracts together in a folder will help you stay organized. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an electronic folder on your computer or a physical folder with printed contracts, whatever is easiest for you.

When can we start setting up, and how long do we get for the event?

Knowing the set-up time for your chosen Suffolk outdoor wedding venue is crucial. This varies among different venues, so knowing when you can begin and how much time you have is important. Suffolk outdoor wedding venues typically allow you to reserve the entire day exclusively for your party. However, some venues may have other events scheduled, so confirming that your wedding will be the only event taking place is important.

What is the cancellation policy?

No one wants to think about having to cancel their wedding or special event. However, extreme special circumstances happen. In case of the worst-case scenario, it is good to have a backup plan. So, if you must cancel, knowing the venue’s cancellation policy is important. Some contracts will state that the venue will keep your initial deposit, and others will require payment in full even if the event is canceled. Everything should be clearly stated in your contract. Don’t just assume what the policy is. Be sure to ask questions if you have concerns or don’t understand the contract.

What restrictions do you have?

All indoor and outdoor wedding venues have different restrictions. What do we mean by restrictions? Many venues will not let you tape or permanently adhere anything on walls or have confetti or flower petals. Other Suffolk indoor wedding venues provide their own catering and do not allow outside food vendors. There may be limits to how loud or late the music can be played at a Suffolk outdoor wedding venue. Knowing the limits or restrictions to the venue while you are touring the properties will allow you to ensure the wedding venue can offer you precisely what you envision for your big day.

Do you have pictures from previous events hosted?

This question may not seem as important, but seeing other events at the venue is appealing. It can give you inspiration on how to use the space efficiently. You can see the professionalism of the venue by seeing photos and how they have used the space in the past. You can also use venue websites and social media to research venues. Social media accounts may also show related vendors working at the venue to give you ideas on whom you’d like to work with.

Do you have preferred vendors? Do you partner with hotels for discounts?

If you need help finding or choosing vendors, ask the venue if they have preferred vendors they like to work with. Local vendors recommend they are also familiar with the venue, which can make the setup process more manageable. Some venues, like the Suffolk Conference Center, are connected to the Hilton Garden Inn in Suffolk Riverfront Hotel and can offer group blocks. Group blocks provide a discounted room rate and help accommodate family or friends traveling for your event.

Will there be anything that might interfere with your event?

Another thing to consider when planning is other events or items that may happen during your event. Some places may have renovations scheduled, and you want to ensure your event is smooth. You also do not want other birthday parties or meetings to go simultaneously if you plan to utilize the whole space just for yourself. Usually, venues will not put a meeting next to a loud birthday party, but it is always good to ask. Another thought when looking at Suffolk outdoor wedding venues is to understand the parking options for guests. Is there ample parking? Is it valet or self-parking? These are all great questions to ask when you are touring wedding venues.

What is the venue staff responsible for?

Staff at some venues will have different jobs like cake cutter, servers, bartenders, etc. But other venues may have a small team and only have the salesperson who books the space for you. It is important to figure out whom you will have so that you can prepare to have the staff you will need for your event. For example, the sales manager of a venue is different from a dedicated wedding planner If you want a coordinator to help throughout the entire planning experience or just the day of the event, you’ll want to hire a specific person.

What does the event space come with?

Different event spaces come with a variety of amenities that are included in the room rental. For example, the Suffolk Conference Center offers tables, chairs, white linen, and a complete utensil set. We also have a variety of rectangular and round tables and a sweethearts table. However, some small venues might have tables and chairs; you must bring tablecloths, utensils, and plates. Suffolk outdoor wedding venues are typically very natural and offer basic amenities. Figure out what your venue will provide so you can come prepared and ensure it fits your budget!

Suffolk Conference Center is an excellent combination of a Suffolk indoor and outdoor wedding venue. Our Nansemond Ballroom has flexible event space that can be divided into 4 sections. There are 2 other smaller rooms as well. We are connected to a full-service hotel with a restaurant, gym, and indoor pool. Located in the heart of downtown Suffolk on the Nansemond River, the photo opportunities are gorgeous. We can help accommodate event space, catering, and sleeping rooms for travelers. Our sales team can answer all your important questions to make the planning process as smooth as possible. Contact our team today for a walk-through!