Welcome to our COVID-19 bridal column. This is part two of a 16-part series. Today I wanted to discuss ten questions to ask your venue. I am going with a venue that has been around for ages, Avianto in Muldersdrift. The more established venues are usually very upfront with all their policies, but newer venues may need to get back to you. So, ask these questions upfront to avoid any disappointment.
Questions to ask your venue:
Let them eat cake:
You are planning to have a cake right. Whether it is the buttercream type or a cake made of cheese and preserves. Ask your venue if they provide a cake cutting knife or if you need to arrange that yourself. You do not want to land up cutting your designer cake with a bread or even worse, a butter knife on your big day now do you?
Day of the week:
Some venues offer favourable rates if you get married between Monday – Thursday as opposed to Friday – Sunday. If they do, look at having a weekday wedding. Your nearest and dearest will be happy to take leave, and it will cut down the already stretched guest list from all those friends and colleagues who are not keen to take the afternoon / day after off. This can, depending on the venue, save you 50% of the venue hiring fee. If you are not keen on an evening micro wedding, I really love the idea of having a morning ceremony, followed by a Russian picnic on the lawns – cheese, biscuits, wine, cakes etc with some soft music playing in the background. Everyone relaxes, gets a little day drunk and then catches a ride home, in time for a late afternoon nap.
You cannot sit with us:
Ask your venue what is included in the venue hire. Do not assume anything. Do not assume that the candles in the wall will be lit, or that the tables include tablecloths / chair coverings – some venues include this in the venue hire, while some only include the space. Some venues include basic crockery and cutlery, while others want you to pay for every napkin and under-plate. Ask these questions upfront so you are well versed in what is and is not covered by the venue as you do not want any last-minute surprises.
Find out if your venue offers an early check-in so that your wedding party can get ready, or if you need to get ready at another venue. Some venues will only allow an early check in of 12h00 which may not be enough time for hair and makeup, depending on the size of your wedding party. You may need to check in the night before, or get ready at another venue and just come through for the ceremony.
Most venues do not allow food to be removed from the venue, at all. So, ensure those cheese, biltong and preserve platters you are paying for as snacks, are ALL eaten up before the ceremony starts. As you will not be able to pack a little padkos for your aunties trip back down to Durbs the next day. I am sure this is for health and safety standards, but it still feels odd to be paying an exorbitant fee for platters, that you cannot enjoy post the pre-wedding reception. All I know, is I am telling my guests to come hungry! I do not want to see a cracker left over LOL!
As wonderful as it would be to bring in your own alcohol, most venues charge a hefty corkage fee. The venues I spoke with charge R130 for a 750ml bottle of sparkling wine and R350 per R750ml bottle of French champagne/gin. Even if you are looking to gift your guests with a dinky bottle of ‘anything’ as party favours/gifts, a corkage fee will apply for all bottles. So, it is usually more affordable to get your alcohol from the venue directly and this needs to be ordered two weeks in advance.
Find out the venues policy around this. I am not talking about standard breakage of glasses/plates. Some venues do not allow candles to be placed directly on the linen. If they see this, they will bring in candle holders/bases and a surcharge will be billed to the wedding party. This include nails/hooks/anything like that – so ask all these questions to ensure there are no surprises post ceremony. You may opt for a pinata cake, as opposed to a buttercream cake – find out how the pinata cake will be hung, do not allow your suppliers to just insert a hook on a wooden pole, this could land up being a super expensive exercise for you.
Did you know that most venues only allow flower petals to be thrown as confetti? Paper confetti, rice, feathers, and non-biodegradable items are simply not allowed. A clean-up fee is also charged at some venues. Consider if those confetti shots are worth the R500 clean-up fee for you as a couple. I did not even know that venues charged for such things, until I started planning my own wedding. I know appreciate all the weddings that I got to throw confetti at, so much more now.
Generators / water tankers:
Pray that your wedding is not on Eskom sePush’s schedule that night, or your water municipalities list for that matter. As a precaution, find out if your venue has a generator / water tanker available. As this could seriously affect festivities if a back up option is not available.
Ask what your venues policy is regarding cash on the property. If you are having a cash bar, most venues will only accept card payments. No hard cash/EFT accepted so please let your guests know. Most people carry cards on them, but we all know that one person who only carries cash on them.
I hope these 10 tips help you be better prepared for your wedding. As mentioned, I am getting married at Avianto. They are well versed with having weddings, so they give you a wedding pack on what is and is not allowed at the venue. This pack answers most of these questions upfront already. It is these tiny details that make you as a bride feel like you are in safe hands.