Niagara Falls Wedding Venues 101
The most important part of planning your wedding is selecting your wedding venue. There are many things to consider and a bit of research can go a long way in finding out what you can expect – not only in the form of service but also price.
Here is a checklist of questions you should make sure you ask when you’re looking at a potential wedding venue:
- Is my date free? Will I be sharing the date with any other weddings? If so, how does the facility keep the different weddings separate?
- Does the venue have enough seated capacity to accommodate the number of guests I intend to invite?
- Does the venue provide an on-site wedding co-ordinator? If so, how long will they be there? And what are their exact duties and is there an additional charge for them?
- Can the venue accommodate ceremonies on site as well?
- Would the ceremony be in a separate area than the reception?
- If there ceremony or reception is to be outdoors, what is the backup plan?
- Is there room for a band or dancing?
- Do you allow for a rehearsal?
- Does the venue have its own sound equipment and speakers (even just for speeches) or do you need to rent that?
- Can I hook an iPod or laptop into your sound system?
- Are there adequate bathroom facilities? Is there a coat check? If so, is there a cost for that?
- Is the site accessible?
- Is there a smoking area?
- Is there enough parking? And will it be within walking distance? Will guests be charged for parking?
- What time do my guests need to leave the facility?
- Is there somewhere secure to store wedding gifts?
Food & Drink
- Do I have to use your caterer? Or is there a limitation to which caterers I want to use?
- Is a complimentary menu tasting included? How many people can I bring to that?
- What is included for drinks (pop, tea, coffee, wine with dinner)? Is it a flat rate or per person cost?
- Is your venue licensed?
- Can I bring my own wine? Is there a corkage fee if I do so?
- Is there a cost for the champagne toast?
- Do you charge for bar or wait staff?
- What time will my meal be served?
- Do you accommodate for allergies and other dietary requirements?
- Can I bring in my own cake or do I need to use your pastry chef?
- Do you charge a cake-cutting fee? Do you provide special cake cutting utensils?
- What is the price per person/plate? What is the tax and service charge/gratuity?
- How long will the bar be open? Do I need to pay for after bar hours?
Décor & Styling
- Are linens, tables, chairs, plates, silverware and glassware provided?
- What kind of tables do you have?
- Can I change any of the current décor?
- When can my vendors arrive to set up for the wedding? Any chance for day before access?
- Can I use candles?
- Who is responsible for setting up and tearing down the décor?
- If this is a hotel, is the bridal suite included?
- What type of accommodation can you offer? Do you offer discounted rates for wedding guests?
- If not a hotel, what types of accommodations are in the area? Can you provide recommendations?
- Do you offer any type of shuttle service?
- What is the check out time?
- Is there a cost to rent the ceremony site? Is there a room charge for the reception? What about any other areas we plan to use?
- Is there a discount for days other than Saturday?
- Is there a discount for non-peak season, especially in Niagara Falls or Niagara-on-the-Lake?
- Is there a payment schedule?
- What kind of deposits are required?
- Are there hidden costs like a service charge, gratuity, cleaning fees or overtime charges?
- What is the consequence if I don’t have the minimum food and beverage bill or minimum number of guests?
- What’s the cancellation policy? What deposits can I expect back, if any?
- What’s the last possible date that we can make changes? Are there any fees for making changes?
There can be a lot of fine print at some venues. If you have your heart set on a venue, ask to have a proposal put together that includes everything, including a detail of service charges and the venue’s policies. While at the facility, use your phone to take pictures and record what you see so you’ll remember it better. Don’t have your heart set on a venue before you compare it to others. You might be pleasantly surprised with a venue that was your third or fourth choice based on the answers to the above questions. And most of all, get it in writing. For the majority of venues, you haven’t secured anything until you’ve paid a deposit and signed a contract. Keep a copy of any correspondence between you and the venue representative and when changes are made, make sure they are noted.