In most cases, one of the very first things you book for your wedding is… the venue! This is because your venue is, to some degree, going to dictate what style and expectations you have for your wedding. If you have a huge guest count, but the venue you choose only hosts 50 people, you’re going to have a problem. If you’re dreaming of a super whimsical, candlelit wedding ceremony outside and your venue only hosts ceremonies indoors and doesn’t allow open flames, that’s not going to work either.
So we’re going to tell you 14 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue Before Booking that will help you feel more confident and knowledgeable about this super important decision that you’re making. Along the way, we will also be answering each of these questions as they pertain to weddings at our venue, Windridge Estate. Our hopes are that if you do decide to come tour the estate, you feel so prepared and well-educated on the nitty-gritty details that you can enjoy your tour, take in the beauty of the property, and start dreaming about the fun parts of planning a wedding!
1. What is the guest capacity?
As we mentioned before, you want to ensure that the venue can accommodate your guest count. At Windridge Estate we can accommodate up to 200 seated guests using our 8’ rectangular tables and Chiavari cross back wooden chairs. We can host larger groups with format variations. We do not charge an extra fee for larger groups.
2. What is included in the price/package?
Some venues provide chairs, tables, linens, etc, while others offer the bare bones (the space only) and require that you truly DIY everything. You’ll definitely want to ask this question early on, as adding in rentals and decor can hike up a wedding budget substantially.
At Windridge Estate, we supply our couples with tables, chairs, ceremony arches and decor options, all of which can be found in our vast inventory valuing up to $7500. For a more detailed list of everything we include in a wedding at the estate, click here!
3. Are there multiple locations to choose from for your ceremony?
This question is very important if you have a particular vision for your wedding ceremony. If you want your ceremony overlooking a hilltop and your venue only hosts ceremonies inside or in a garden, you’re going to feel very limited.
At Windridge Estate, we offer many ceremony locations. Ceremonies can take place on the front lawn overlooking the hills, in the apple tree orchard, in front of the grape arbor or the granddaddy oak tree, plus more! The possibilities are endless!
4. Are catering services included/required or are there vendor restrictions?
You’ll find some venues require that you use their catering services for your wedding, while others don’t offer catering at all and allow you to hire your own caterer. Other times, venues have restrictions on what vendors you are allowed to hire.
At Windridge Estate, we do not offer catering. Although, when you book your event with us, we provide you with an extensive and detailed list of vendor recommendations, with a focus on all local, quality specialists, caterers, florists, wedding planners, photographers and party rental companies. We also allow vendors who are not on our preferred list, so long as they are licensed and insured.
5. Do you have the wedding venue for a day or the weekend?
This is our FAVORITE question on the list! Most venues only offer one day weddings, but at Windridge Estate, we host wedding weekends! This means that you have access to the venue from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. This is such a great option for couples who want to enjoy the festivities with a more spread out timeline. Check back on the blog next week to read more about what a wedding weekend at Windridge Estate is like!
6. What is the Booking Fee Payment?
In order to reserve a venue for your wedding date, you’ll most likely need to make an upfront payment. Asking your venue the amount in advance will be super helpful later on when you’re organizing your budget.
At Windridge Estate, the Booking Fee Payment is $5000.
7. Are there good photo ops nearby, on site and off site?
For many people, getting beautiful wedding photos is an incredibly important part of the day! So you’ll want to know what types of photo backdrops your venue offers.
At Windridge Estate, you have access to the entire 80 acres of our property which features hills, fields, meadows, wooded and garden settings! Plus there are plenty of nearby locations like Chittenango Falls and Cazenovia Lake!
8. Are there sleeping accommodations? For how many?
If you’re hoping to have you and your wedding party stay overnight at your venue, you will definitely want to ask about their overnight accommodations. When you book a wedding at Windridge Estate, you have access to the Farmer Cottage, which can sleep up to 10 people. For larger parties, there are many 5-star hotels located nearby in Cazenovia Village.
9. Can you have your rehearsal on site?
If you’re planning on having a wedding rehearsal, you’ll likely want to host it at the wedding venue or somewhere nearby. At Windridge Estate, since we only offer wedding weekends, you’ll always have access to the estate the day before the wedding. We always encourage our couples to utilize the venue for their wedding rehearsal on Friday!
10. Is there an indoor option or Plan B in case of bad weather?
In case of rain on your wedding day, you always want to make sure that your venue has a Plan B option, so don’t forget to ask this question!
At Windridge Estate, since we are an indoor/outdoor venue, rain can always be a factor in your wedding day. In the case that there is inclement weather on your wedding day, we have multiple Plan B options that will make your day run just as smoothly as it would with sunshine.
11. Is there parking on-site? How far is it and is there a shuttle?
Unless you’re shuttling or bussing in your guests to the venue, you’ll want to ask your venue if they offer on-site parking. Also, if you have older guests or guests with mobility issues, ask the venue how far the distance is between parking and the event space. Some venues will provide shuttle services from the parking lot.
At Windridge Estate, we have on-site parking for your guests that is within walking distance to the barns. We also offer a golf cart shuttle for guests who need assistance.
12. Is there a getting ready space on site?
A great bonus that some venues offer is a designated getting ready space. At Windridge Estate, we have the Farmer Cottage, which has a light and bright bridal suite in addition to a stylish living room, sunroom, and more! The White Stone Barn can also be used as a second getting ready location.
13. Does the venue allow open flames/sparklers/lanterns/fireworks?
If you’re hoping to do some late night activities like sparklers or fireworks, you’ll want to check with the venue first. Certain states/counties have regulations and restrictions on activities like these.
At Windridge Estate, open flames and sparklers are allowed and fireworks require a permit. Unfortunately, floating lanterns are not permitted in NY state.
14. Legitimacy: Does the venue meet safety and building code requirements to legally operate? Do they carry the proper insurance?
Perhaps the MOST important question to ask your venue is if they meet all safety requirements and if they are insured. Knowing this information will assure you that you are using a legitimate and reputable venue. Windridge Estate is a fully insured and safe venue.