We sat down with our friends over at Cedarmont Farm and talked about the best questions to ask your wedding venue. They shared some amazing advice that we decided to share with you!
Cedarmont Farm is a family-owned boutique venue nestled on 40 acres minutes from Franklin, TN and downtown Nashville. Setting them apart, Cedarmont Farm has an Antebellum Historic House and a barn venue in one place. Not corporate-owned, they have a super team that is flexible, so each wedding gets the individualized attention it deserves. Another thing that sets them apart is they offer venue rental and all-inclusive packages.
Cedarmont Farm is one of our favorite venues in the Nashville area, and we are so glad they shared the important questions to ask your wedding venue with us!
If drunk Uncle Joe hurts himself on the dance floor, you don’t want to be held responsible. Many venues require that brides purchase their own day-of event insurance, which you should do for your own protection. (We love The Event Helper) But it doesn’t hurt to have a venue that has their own insurance (this goes for caterers and bar services too!)
At Cedarmont, we have liability insurance and make sure all our vendors do as well.
What’s the approval process for outside vendors? Many venues only offer all-inclusive packages and will charge a “buy out fee” for bringing in other vendors. So if your caterer friend is giving you a 50% discount, make sure upfront that the venue will let her cater your wedding. The venue may also require vendors to be pre-approved. Take a tip from Cedarmont: discuss the vendor approval process beforehand.
At Cedarmont, along with an all-inclusive package, we offer venue packages that don’t include vendors so you can pick and choose your own without paying extra fees. To be approved, vendors must have the proper insurance and licensing and not be on our Bad List (Like Santa’s list. If a vendor did something bad at Cedarmont, we add them to our list and we check it twice. Most vendors we know in Nashville are lovely, so our list is very short!)
Many venues include bartending services but not alcohol in their packages. In order to provide alcohol, venues must also have their liquor license and be insured for host liquor. If you’re getting married at a restaurant, hotel or other similar event space, it’s more likely they include the alcohol in their packages, but many other venues require that the client purchase it.
At Cedarmont, we don’t include alcohol in our all-inclusive package but do include bartending services with two bartenders, a bar back, and all the mixers. Our bartenders can help clients determine the quantity, a good place to get your alcohol and even arrange pick up, but they can’t purchase the alcohol.
It’s common for venues to restrict certain types of decor for safety and housekeeping reasons. Confetti, sparklers, and real candles are often on the “no” list.
At Cedarmont, we allow candles as long as they’re in the proper type of candle holder. We also allow sparklers, but we don’t allow paper confetti. (Have you ever tried to sweep confetti out of grass? It’s REAL fun.)
The budget aspect of a wedding can be stressful enough. Make sure you know what will be included on your last invoice from your venue. When it comes to sales tax and gratuity, different venues have different policies.
At Cedarmont, we include gratuity but the sales tax is charged separately. The only other fee not included in packages is event insurance. We require our brides to purchase event insurance. Normally it costs about $100. We let brides know this upfront so they know what to expect.
Everyone loves an outdoor ceremony. It’s good to be optimistic and imagine your wedding ceremony taking place on a gorgeous sunny day with a light breeze. However, rain happens. Ask about your venue’s rain plan. Whether it’s a totally indoor location or some umbrellas and a good attitude, make sure you’re aware of the worst-case scenario.
At Cedarmont, our rain plan is a ceremony in the reception barn, then a cocktail hour on the covered porch or in the lobby while your space is flipped into a reception set up by our staff.
What time does your bar close? When do guests have to leave? You need to know how much of your “venue time” is used for cleanup. Packages often say things such as “10 hrs of venue time,” but they don’t say that one hour of your total time is used for breakdown. Does the staff take down all of your decor? If you brought some decorations, when do you need to pick them up? Because some venues have multiple events in a weekend, they can have strict rules about when things need to be broken down and picked up. Especially if you’re not doing an all-inclusive package, make sure you know who’s responsible for cleaning up and what exactly that means (chairs stacked? linens off tables? etc).
At Cedarmont, we have a limit of four hours for an open bar, so the bar normally closes 45 minutes before guests depart. We require that all guests leave by 11 pm allowing for an hour of clean up. Also, we include clean up in all of our packages, and our staff will gather your personal items and arrange with you a later pickup time if you need it.
Many all-inclusive venues include wedding planning and styling. Find out what this entails for your venue and how many in-person meetings are included. Will your planner be readily available by phone and email for questions? If they don’t include planning services, ask what their policy is on outside planners. Many venues that don’t include these services will allow outside planners, but they may require that you hire one from their preferred list.
At Cedarmont, we include wedding planning & event styling with all of our packages. This includes three in-person planning meetings and unlimited phone and email consultations. We also allow outside wedding planners and stylists.
The allotted rental time for a venue often includes clean up and set up. Make sure that your timeline matches your venue requirements. If you wanted a full morning to get ready and hang with the girls before photos, make sure your venue includes more than a few hours of pre-wedding time. You may want to ask if vendors are allowed to come in before the rental period starts. If not, make sure the vendors you’re hiring will be able to set up in the time the venue is allotting. For example, if you have an elaborate floral installation at your ceremony site, your florist may need more than just a few hours before your ceremony.
At Cedarmont, we include 12 hours of venue time. For our normal wedding timeline, vendors and bridal party are welcome to arrive at noon for a 5:30p wedding ceremony. For our overnight add-on, checkout time is normally 10 am the following morning but may be extended depending on our event schedule.
It goes without saying that the South can get hot and muggy. Rustic weddings can be truly beautiful. But do you know what’s not beautiful? Fifty people dancing to The Black Eyed Peas in a barn in the middle of July. It’s swampy, it’s sweaty and it’s the opposite of what you want on the happiest day of your life. Many rustic venues may not have AC or heat, so make sure you pick a date that’s conducive to a non-climate-controlled space. You paid a lot for that makeup. No one wants to see it melt off your face in the middle of your dance rendition of “Sweet Caroline.”
At Cedarmont, our reception barn is climate-controlled and has both heat and AC. We did enough July weddings in a tent to make that a priority.