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Hi I'm Heather, owner, clothing designer, construction worker, mom, wife and lover of chocolate.

15 Questions to Ask Wedding Venues in Northwest Arkansas

You got engaged and one of the first things on your to do list is find a wedding venue! I Once you secure a date all the planning falls into place. I am a wedding venue owner of the Brick Ballroom and here are some extremely helpful questions to ask when going on venue tours.

Dancing reception

1. How many guests can the venue hold? Determine how many guests you will be inviting and then assume that 20% of them will not come, that’s how you can get a quick guest count. I like to tell people how many fit in my venue comfortably because no one wants to be pushed up against someone or bumping elbows when they’re eating.

2. Can you have a ceremony & reception in the same place (is there an extra fee)? It is ideal to have the ceremony and reception set up in one place so your guests can easily transition to the reception. If a venue can not have the ceremony & reception set before the wedding ask who is in charge of flipping the room. Flipping the room includes setting up tables, linens, chairs moved, place settings and centerpieces. Also, check where your guests go when you flip the room? If outside, is there a rain plan?

3. What are your rental packages and what is included? Some venues offer a flat rate with all the amenities and some offer packages. Choose the best package for your needs.

4. What is the time of the rental? There should be a time given when you are allowed to enter the venue. Check to see if this is the time that vendors are allowed to come as well? What if a vendor needs to drop something off the day before, is this allowed?

5. Is there a payment plan offered? How much is the deposit and is it refundable? Usually, venues have some type of retainer to hold your date, often it’s monetary. Ask what the deposit is (some may do a percentage of the price or flat rate). Check to see if the deposit is refundable or if your date needs to be moved is there an extra fee?

6. Is the rehearsal included? Can we have the dinner at the venue? How long is the rehearsal allotted for? Find out how much time the rehearsal includes and when you can have it? If a venue is booked for a Fri and Sat that throws off the rehearsal the day before, check to find out how they deal with that.

7. Is tax included? Check to see if the price includes tax already. That could be a significant chunk of change depending on where you live & tax laws.

8. Do we need to purchase insurance? Many venues hold general liability insurance. You will need to check if you are responsible for getting your own day of insurance to cover your wedding and guests.

9. Alcohol - may we bring our own in? Is hard liquor allowed? Do I need a licensed bartender? Is there a corkage fee? Is there a cost minimum? Do I have to get a permit with the city? Insurance? Lots of questions to ask about alcohol!

10. Can we use our own vendors or do we have to use the venue's specific list? Some venues let you bring in your own vendors for your wedding. If they do make sure to ask if the vendors need their own insurance. There have been accidents where a kid was running, tripped on photographers backpack straps and broke his leg (who pays? Venue? Photographer? You?)

11. Do I need to hire security officers? Some venues require security officers if alcohol is being served, sometimes only if hard alcohol is being served. Check their policy?

12. Do you have a sound system? Some provide a sound system for the ceremony, is there a mic? Can my DJ use your sound system, can my DJ bring his own? Sound ordinances?

14. Overnight Accommodations? Check to see if there are adequate hotels or Airbnb's in the area, especially if alcohol will been served at your wedding. Also see if cars can be left on site if someone is too intoxicated to drive.

15. Heat/Air Nothing is worse than trying to have a celebration and your guests are miserable. In Arkansas we can have extreme weather so definitely check to see if the venue has heating and air. Guests will leave if they are uncomfortable.

In conclusion, when you have found your dream venue my advice would be to book it right away. Dates get snagged very quickly and many venues won't hold dates without a deposit.

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