When my fiancé - now husband - and I were planning our destination wedding, we had so much to do and decide and consider, that we felt completely overwhelmed! Having no prior experience in planning a wedding, we didn’t even know where to begin.
We both use organization skills and problem solving in our jobs, so we knew there had to be a better way. Since it wasn’t possible to do a site visit to each venue we liked, we put our heads together and came up with a list of questions of our “must-haves” to ask the resorts/venues that we were considering, to see how well they fit with what we were looking for.
Our questions evolved and got better over time, as we communicated with more and more resorts.
We’ve made a list of the questions we found most helpful for ourselves, and want to share it with you here, so you don’t have to start off cold at the beginning like we did.
It’s sure to take a huge stress load off your shoulders and make your planning a lot more FUN – just like it did for us!
(Feel free to revise, delete or add questions to best suit YOUR own needs and preferences.)
Here we go......
Is your chosen date available at the resort?
Which other events are they hosting onsite on the same day/week/weekend?
Is the area you are requesting scheduled for another event that day at a different time?
How far in advance do you need to book the venue?
What is the weather typically like in the month of your wedding?
What are the local marriage requirements – ie for a legal or symbolic ceremony?
Are there any vaccinations required?
Do you need to send any documentation prior to arrival (proof of citizenship, passport, etc.)?
Is there an onsite wedding coordinator to help you, and what’s their name?
How many guests can the venue accommodate?
Are there rooms for your guests (and what’s included), or do they partner with another hotel nearby?
Do they provide a website for your wedding information?
Do they have references you can contact?
What other types of activities are scheduled at the resort?
Can your package include weekend activities for the guests?
What is the dress code?
Are children allowed on premises?
Is the water safe for your guests to drink?
Are you able to have a rehearsal at the venue and a rehearsal dinner?
What are their wedding package options – ie price and what’s included in each one?
Decorations / Decor
What decor do they use for table settings?
Do they provide chair decorations – ie chair bows with your chosen accent colour?
Does the venue provide any decorations, and if so, what kind/colour?
Do they offer options for flowers, or can they recommend a florist?
Do they provide place cards, or do you need to bring your own?
Wedding Day Preparations
Do they use preferred (in-house) vendors – ie. hair stylists, make-up artists, photographer/videographers?
Is there a vendor fee if you want to bring in your own professional outside vendors, and if so, what’s the fee? Can you book a room for an outside vendor as your guest, and not need to pay the vendor fee? If so, how many nights do you need to book them in for – ie 1 or 2?
Can the venue accommodate the ceremony, and where is the ceremony location?
How long is the ceremony?
Is there an area to have a cocktail reception following the ceremony?
Are the ceremony and reception held in the same area? If same area, what can be expected for set up and take down to switch over from the ceremony to the reception?
How many days before the wedding do you need to arrive?
What times of the day are available to have the ceremony?
Does the venue provide an officiant or recommend one?
How long are you able to have the area?
Is an outdoor area included for a cocktail reception?
Do they have outdoor covered areas such as canopies or tents in case of rain?
Do they have indoor space available if you need to move people from outside to inside?
What does a typical layout of the area look like on the wedding day?
Do they have photographs to show you of other receptions?
What are the table sizes and seating arrangements?
Are there booster seats or high chairs available for children?
What are they different styles the venue serves food? Buffet, family style, individual plates?
Is the food prepared in-house? If not, do they have a preferred list of caterers with price options?
What meal choice options do they offer for your guests?
What does the venue provide for drinks with the meal?
Can they accommodate special diets?
How many wait staff will be provided?
What does the wait staff wear?
Can they provide a wedding cake, if so, what are the options?
Where/how will the cake be displayed during the reception?
Is there a cake-cutting fee?
Alcohol / Liquor
Does the venue have a liquor license to serve alcohol?
Does the venue provide the alcohol and bar service?
What drinks are included in the pricing? All-inclusive?
Do they provide a cash bar or an open bar?
Does the venue hire the bartenders and is there a charge per bartender?
Do they charge for unopened bottles after the reception?
Is there a corkage fee?
Do they provide a DJ and what do they offer for music?
Can you supply our own music?
What do they have for a sound system? Speakers, microphones, etc.?
How many people does the dance floor accommodate – is it a lighted dance floor?
What time do they allow the music to play until?
Do they have a generator for back-up in case of power outages?
Do they have an in-house photographer or can they recommend one?
What are the package options for photography?
Are there any photograph or video restrictions?
What suggestions do they have for picturesque backdrop locations?
Does the venue offer airline booking services for your guests – or full vacation packages?
Do they offer transportation to and from the airport – is it included in the rental fee?
What type of transportation is available if your guests stay off site?
Do the resort rooms have safes to secure valuables or is there a cental safe at reception?
Is there a secure area to store the wedding gifts?
What are their wedding packages and what is included?
What is the cost to have both the ceremony and reception at the venue?
What is the total cost and what is required for a deposit?
What are the guest room rates?
Is there a wedding discount for blocks of rooms?
Is there a discount if you decide to stay for your honeymoon?
What is the currency exchange rate?
Do they offer payment plans?
What type of payment can they take – cash, check, credit card?
What it their cancellation policy?
Do they provide a contract and guarantee that everything will be in good working order?
This list of questions will certainly get you started off in the right direction for reaching a well informed decision.
We recommend you take your time researching your “possibilities”, because this is time well invested, resulting in your Big Day being Spectacular!
Imagine how great it’ll feel to accomplish finding your dream destination wedding venue!
What a BIG Item on Your Checklist to check off as... DONE!
Check out our article here for more great info on choosing your best wedding venue... How do you decide between an AI Resort - OR - a Private Hotel or Villa?