As you start the exciting (and often overwhelming) journey of planning your wedding, your venue is a milestone. Sure, it’s not as exciting as taste-testing a tastebud-liberating cake flavor or trying on elegant wedding gowns, but it’s arguably the most important decision you’ll make. Why, you ask? Because the venue you choose will not only set the tone for your big day but also take a hefty chunk out of your budget. According to studies from Statista, the venue typically accounts for the largest expense in a wedding budget.
Therefore, you must ensure the wedding venue contract you sign is all-encompassing, leaving no room for unpleasant surprises. Whether you’re eyeing an Instagrammable golf course wedding & reception venue, or a quaint chapel in the countryside, knowing your contract from page to page is non-negotiable. Remember, the last thing you want is to discover that your chosen venue lacks a liquor license or other crucial provision a week before your wedding. Keep reading to become a wedding venue contract expert before you seal the deal.

Wedding Venue Contracts: Things To Look For

Payment Structure and Cancellation Policy

Pro Tip: A good wedding venue contract should clearly outline the payment structure and cancellation policy. It should specify the deposit amount, due dates for all payments, and payment method. Beyond that, it should detail the cancellation policy, spelling out the duration you can cancel without penalty and how much your refund will be if you cancel

Responsibility for Damages or Theft

Your contract should clearly state who will be held responsible for any damage or theft that may occur during your event. This includes damages caused by guests or vendors. Be sure to read this section through and through to avoid financial surprises down the line (or aisle)

Vendor Policy

Some venues have specific policies about which vendors you can use for services like catering or decor. Ensure this is stipulated in the contract and that you’re comfortable with the available options

Contingency Plan for Inclement Weather

If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, know the contingency plan in case of bad weather. The contract should state this, detailing the available indoor space and any associated costs. To play it safe, our wedding experts recommend choosing a venue with an indoor space   just as stunning as its outdoor one

Liability Insurance Requirements

Some venues require couples to purchase liability insurance for the event. If so, the contract should specify the coverage amount and other related details

Ensuring Clarity in Contract Management

Event manager confidently holds a wedding venue contract amidst elegantly decorated tables, creating a perfect setting for a memorable celebration.

Name of the Manager on the Wedding Day (and Substitute)

The contract should specify the name of the person managing your event. If this person cannot attend, there should be a named substitute. This helps you know who to contact with any last-minute changes or issues on your wedding day.

Proof of Insurance and Liquor License

If you plan to serve alcohol at your venue, the contract should provide proof that the location holds a valid liquor license. On top of that, the contract should outline the venue’s insurance policy, including coverage details and the process to file a claim if necessary.

Any Additional Requests

If you have custom requests, like a special setup or permission to use certain types of decor, make sure they’re written into the contract. This protects you from any disagreements or misunderstandings closer to your wedding day.

All About Costs and Fees

Setup, Cleanup, Overtime, and Other Fees

Speaking of setup, find out if there are any additional fees like setup and cleanup charges. Some venues may also charge overtime fees if your wedding exceeds the agreed-upon time. Also, keep an eye out for sneaky miscellaneous fees like coat check or valet parking fees.

Total Cost (Itemized)

An itemized breakdown of costs gives you a bird’s eye view of every little (and big) wedding venue cost. It can include venue rental, catering, beverages, decoration, and any other services the venue provides. This is an excellent opportunity to identify areas where you might want to cut back (going overboard on the ice sculptures?).

Deposit Amount and Due Date

The deposit amount and its due date are wedding venue contract essentials. This upfront fee secures your booking and is typically a portion of the total cost. Note the due date to avoid any booking lapse.

Balance and Due Date

The remaining balance after the deposit, along with its due date, should be clearly mentioned in the contract. Like the deposit, mark this date in your calendar to pay the amount on time. Click here for more information on how much an average wedding costs!

Handling Cancellations and Refunds

When dealing with the potentiality of cancellations and refunds, you will need an explicit explanation of the venue’s policy. The refund amount may vary based on how close to the wedding date the cancellation occurs. This information protects you from unforeseen circumstances that may force you to change your plans.

Always Communicate!

Never hesitate to ask questions— wedding venue contracts are everything. Don’t just skin the fine print; set clear expectations and know every aspect of your agreement. From setup to cleanup to the types of decorations allowed, every detail matters.
Have an event inquiry for the #1 golf course wedding venue in Virginia Beach? Need wedding venue contract advice? Contact VB National On the Green today.

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