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8 Things You Should Ask Before Booking a Venue



At Goode Catering we are happy to work with any venue you choose. Though we do offer a list of places we’ve catered to, are familiar with, and have good relationships with we don’t want to leave you with the impression that we only cater to those places.

However, we do want to help you pick the venue that’s going to make your special day perfect. We’ve worked at venues all over town, which has helped us narrow down a list of questions that every bride or event planner should ask before booking any venue.

What’s the venue’s policy on vendors?

Some venues will let you use any vendors you want. Some have a list of preferred vendors. And some make it mandatory to use their vendors and only their vendors.

This is neither a bad thing nor a good thing. Much depends on your own plans and vision for the wedding. Some people really enjoy being able to book a venue that will basically take care of everything for them. Others want to choose every aspect of the event on their own.

Either way, it’s best to know what the venue’s requirements are.

Are there outsource fees?

Venues with preferred vendors often levy a percentage charge if you decide to use vendors that are not on their list. Sometimes these percentages change depending upon the vendor type. There might be one percentage for a DJ and another for linens. Some venues will also charge a flat fee (such as $2 per person if you have your own wedding cake brought in) to cover any deviations from their preferred list.

Again, it’s simply good to get this information out in the open so you have everything you need to make a final decision.

What are the parking policies?

Parking is probably not the most exciting thing on your list, but you still have to ask the question.

Some venues require you to hire a valet. Some have garage parking, and require you to pay per car. Others give you an allotted number of cars that you can park and charge you if you park any more cars than that.

If the venue has inadequate parking you might also need or want to direct your guests to alternate places to park when you send out your invitations.

How much time will there be for set-up and break down?

There’s no good or bad answer here…a lot depends on how you’re planning the event. If you’re doing everything yourself then you’re going to need a great deal of time. If you’re hiring multiple vendors, you’ll have to get with them to find out exactly how much time they’re going to need. We generally need about one to two hours, depending on the menu you’ve chosen. If your venue only gives you thirty minutes, there might be a problem! Some venues will also let you have more time, but only if you pay for it.

If you’re letting the venue handle everything themselves, then this is hardly going to be a problem at all.

Keep in mind that some venues, such as the Houston Zoo, are open to the public throughout the day. Nobody will be able to get in to start set-up until they close. These venues can be a lot of fun, but they will usually require a later start time for your event, and they can make it hard for you to get everything “just so.”

What comes included with the venue rental?

Often the tables and chairs do come included, but what else does the venue offer? Pay special attention to lighting. Good lighting can be expensive if you have to rent it yourself.

How flexible is the bar service?

Some places allow us to provide alcohol. We’re certainly certified to do it and we have all the permits. We can provide bartenders for a full-service bar. But we can’t do it for you if you’ve chosen a venue that wants you to use their own bartenders or some other bartender vendors. Again, it’s just smart to know what is and is not allowed before you make your choice…especially if your mouth is watering for our beautiful frozen margaritas!

Are there any fees that haven’t been included in the price quote?

Venues sometimes sneak in a mandatory hidden fee or two. These aren’t always included in the price. Make sure you know the absolute bottom line.

How versatile is the venue?

We always tell our customers to “have a plan B!” Imagine choosing a beautiful garden with amazing scenery only to watch a thunderstorm roll in on your wedding day. Make sure the venue has a way for you to move inside if necessary. And if it is necessary, find out if that will change anything. Will they charge you more? Will you get more or less time to set up? How soon will they need to be told that plans have changed? Obviously the more versatile, the better.

Got questions about the venues we’ve worked with? Call us!

We’re more than happy to discuss these venues with you. We’ll even answer all of these questions our own venues, like Armadillo Palace or Goode Company Barbeque on Hwy 290. Our biggest concern is making sure that you're able to plan the event of your dreams.


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