10. Do you have any staff designers to help decorate the space?
While some higher-end spaces will have designers to help you plan your decorations, others will not. If they offer this service, take into account the cost, and if their design taste is to your liking. If not, find out whether bringing in outside designers is an option. Remember, it is your day, and things should be exactly as you envision them.
9. Can we remove some of your "built-in" decor?
So, you booked your wedding reception at wonderful hall, but you just cannot stand some of their permanent decor. Ask if some of their ugly wall and lighting fixtures can be removed temporarily, or else they might become part of your lasting memories.
8. Do you serve food, and if so, what options do you offer?
Many Chicagoland reception venues will serve their own dishes. Chances are, your guests will have a choice between chicken and steak, as a main course. If catering to your guests' dietary restrictions is important to you, ask whether or not they can alter their meals accordingly - what vegetarian options they have, etc. Perhaps the venue does not serve their own food, in which case, they will likely have various catering companies they can recommend to you.
7. Are there any late night noise restrictions?
The type of neighborhood that the venue is in, might dictate how late your wedding can go. In a more urban setting, sometimes reception halls can be nestled in a residential neighborhood, which means that the venue has to respect its neighbors. You don't want the police showing up at your wedding, accusing you of disturbing the peace!
6. What is the maximum occupancy of the space?
The answer that the owners should give, is the one that adheres to fire code. It wouldn't hurt to look around the space for a sign hanging up, that will tell you what this number is. The venue owners should be able to tell you the maximum amount of people that you can invite.
5. What is the bar situation?
If you decide to have an open bar, make sure that there aren't any hidden fees. It is also important to ask what type of alcohol is provided. Some reception halls only carry beer and wine, but if you want the hard stuff at your wedding, make sure this won't cost extra.
4. Is the space rental hourly, or just a flat rate?
Many venues will either be an hourly or a flat rate, but you also might have your choice between the two. If this is the case, decide how many hours you want your reception to be, and simply compare that, to the flat rate option.
3. What is the parking situation?
A limited parking situation will obviously make it difficult for some guests to find a space, and might even make them late to the reception. Make sure there is easy access to parking for your guests. Ask if valet parking is an option, and what it costs.
2. Is there a set-up fee?
Some venues will charge a separate fee, simply to set up the bar, the tables and chairs, etc. Much of the time, there won't be anything mentioned about this fee until you read the contract, so it's always good to ask about something like this ahead of time. Nevertheless, always read the fine print when going over the contract!
1. Do you offer any specials or package deals?
Often times, reception halls will have specials or package deals, that might only be for a limited time, and might also come with certain built in features (food, drinks, etc). Decide if the discounted price is worth having your wedding in their given window of dates, and if the features they offer, are to your liking.