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Welcome to our blog where we share everything from recent weddings and engagements, to our amazing adventures as a family of four. When we aren’t photographing weddings, our family is traveling the world, decorating our new home in Ottawa, Ontario or snuggled up watching movies with our basset hound, Georgia. We love working with joyous couples and absolutely cannot wait to tell your story!

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Choosing a wedding venue is one of the most important decisions you will make when planning your wedding day. Selecting the right Ottawa area venue for your wedding day will determine how your day will look and feel. This is such an exciting time because you get to visit some of Ottawa’s most incredible spaces, speak with their helpful coordinators and sip on champagne while envisioning your wedding day unfold.

Over the years of talking with wedding planners and past brides alike, we’ve compiled a few unique questions you might not have thought to ask your wedding venue before booking your big day.

With all of the excitement of touring wedding venues and wedding planning in general, you might not think to ask:

What Does The Venue Fee Include?

The venue fee varies greatly across Ottawa because it truly depends on what is included with your venue. In most cases, a venue or site fee covers the cost of general maintenance of the grounds which includes landscaping, electricity, water bills along with wear and tear on the venue. The fee can also cover the costs of having a venue manager or coordinator that handles the visits to the property and all communication during the planning process. This fee may also include the use of their decor or furniture like tables, chairs, tabletop decor and day-of set up fees. Don’t forget about the rain plan too! Some of the more established venues have a wonderful rain plan already set in place for you, which of course is included in the venue fee.

It is really important to truly know what you are receiving from your dream venue! You need to know not only the value you are receiving, but also to plan what you may need to source elsewhere and have brought in.

Can We Use Candles or Sparklers?

Some venues in the Ottawa and surrounding areas will allow the use of sparklers and open flame candles while others have a strict no open flame policy.

Are you envisioning an epic grand exit shot while surrounded by an arch of long sparklers? Maybe you are picturing an intimate reception flooded with soft candlelight?

Be sure to ask these questions before signing on the dotted line.

When Do We Gain Access?

You’re in love with your venue, but have you stopped to ask when you will receive access the day of? When will your vendors be permitted on site? Is the access time different for vendors than it is for the couple and their guests?

If you are planning a lavish reception with elaborate decor pieces, your wedding planning team will need to know when they are allowed to begin. Their access time will also determine how many staff members your planner will need on site to complete the decor set-up on time for you.

Your wedding venue begins their day much earlier than you arrive. They want to be prepared for your arrival so that when you set foot on site on your wedding day, it’s exactly how you envisioned it! The last thing your venue wants you to see, is the not so glamorous behind the scenes like cleaning and regular maintenance. They need time to do this which brings us back to why this is an important question to be asking.

But did you know that many of the wedding venues here in Ottawa will allow your wedding vendor team earlier access than when they’d like you to arrive? This is important to know.

Your wedding venue and your team of wedding professionals are all busy working behind the scenes to provide you with the best possible experience. Think of us like a big family coming together to prepare the biggest celebration of your life. Sometimes Ottawa wedding venues will grant wedding professionals earlier access to complete their job on time for the couple.

Can We Toss Confetti?

Never assume what you are allowed to throw at your wedding venue.

Some Ottawa venues have strict policies regarding ceremonies and grand exits. Certain venues will allow the tossing of environmentally friendly materials (think bird seeds, lavender, flower petals, rice etc.) while others may not permit the tossing of any material.

Yet you might get lucky with one of those rare venues that allow pretty much anything – but first, it’s a safe bet to ask.

Will Other Weddings Or Events Take Place On My Wedding Day?

This is a big one.

Sadly some wedding venues aren’t overly transparent with their clients. We once arrived to a wedding years ago in Ottawa where the bride was in tears because the venue hadn’t mentioned to her, that they often hold multiple events on the same day. This meant there was restrictions to where we had access on the day of her wedding. It’s really unfortunate to think you are paying for exclusivity when that may not be what you are receiving. She was also told she had limited portrait time in each area that we did have access to. Needless to say, it wasn’t the best way to start her day.

This wasn’t her only worry. With multiple weddings taking place at the time time there is generally competing ceremony and reception music as well as guests from both weddings wandering into the other couples event.

Now if sharing your venue doesn’t bother you – perfect! It’s good to avoid any surprises on your wedding day.

Don’t Forget To Ask These Popular Questions Too…

While the above might not have popped into your head right away, let’s not forget to ask the basics too.

Below is a list compiled for you so you can bookmark this page on your tour:

Do you have my date available?

How many guests can you accommodate?

What areas are included in the venue fee?

Where is the designated smoking area?

Where is the cocktail reception held? Is there an outdoor space for a cocktail reception?

Is the venue accessible for disabled guests?

Do you provide a safe place to store our wedding gifts?

What does a typical wedding set up look like?

Who is the main venue contact for the day?

What do I need to bring it that you do not provide?

Are there any decor restrictions?

What do you use for table settings?

What decor pieces does the venue provide?

Do I need to provide my own place cards?

Do you have seating for small children?

How many guests can sit comfortably at one table?

How is dinner served? (Ex. Individual plates, buffet, family style)

Do you provide catering?

Is a tasting provided? Is there a cost for this?

What beverages are provided with meals?

Can you accommodate diet restrictions?

How many meal options are offered?

Is there a space for our wedding cake/dessert area?

Do you provide a cake cutting knife?

Does the venue provide the alcohol and bar staff?

What are the costs of alcoholic beverages? What drinks are included in the venue fee?

Is there an option for a cash bar or an open bar? Are there limits to the open bar?

Is there a corkage fee?

How many people can the dance floor accommodate?

Is there a time can we play music until?

What types of payment do you accept? What is the cancellation policy?

Are payment plans available?

Is there a plan incase it rains on my wedding day?

Does the venue have a generator incase there is a power outage?

Are we able to have a ceremony rehearsal on site?

Are we able to have a rehearsal dinner?

Do you have access to overnight accommodations? Do you have accommodation recommendations for my guests?

Where do guests park and how many parking spaces are available?

Is there an additional cost for parking?

We Hope You Found This Helpful

Are you looking for more Wedding Day Tips & Tricks? Be sure to check out:
Our Top 10 Tips For Brides On Their Wedding Day
How To Capture Magazine-Worthy Getting Ready Photos
Your Guide To Flat Lay Photos
Should You Plan A First Look?

  1. 3M 9502V says:

    You’re doing a excellent job Ma,,Keep up it.
    Best regards,
    Demir Cannon

  2. […] Our Complimentary Wedding Budget Tool5 Questions You (Might Have Not Thought) To Ask Your Wedding VenueYour Guide To Wedding Flat Lay […]

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