1. Does your venue do multiple weddings at a time?
This is one of, if not the best question to ask your catering hall. The reason is simple, if they have 3 weddings going on at the same time, you will be limited to where you can go in this venue. This means if you booked the hall for a particular location to take photographs, and there are multiple weddings going on simultaneously, you run the risk of another bride already using this location to take her wedding photos. You want to make sure that you can use whatever part of the grounds you wish to, at any time you want. Get this in writing! Many times catering halls, just like most salespeople, will say one thing, and then when push comes to shove, they will say they never said that or you misheard them. Get it in writing, so you know you are covered at all times.
2. Do we have complete and total access to all of the grounds?
Just because you are the only wedding of the day does not always mean you can go wherever you want to go.
We have photographed hundreds of wedding through the years and the one thing that keeps happening is, the bride and groom think they are allowed to use the all of the grounds and this sadly is just not the case. If you do not ask, you will not know.
You need to have it in writing that you have total and complete access to all the grounds from a particular time to another particular time.
Once again, it comes down to options. If you want to do your family photos in front of the giant oak tree, but your wedding is on a golf course, you may not be able to use the golf course or the grounds around it. We have photographed hundreds of weddings, and this has happened countless times. We try to go to a particular area, and then the Matri D comes to us and says, "Where are you going? You can't use this area." The bride and groom look puzzled and were now scrambling to find a secondary location for photos. Don't let this happen to you. Get it in writing that you can use all of the grounds and, most importantly, at any given time you desire.
3. How fresh is the food?
Don't just assume your food is fresh! You need to make sure you are getting the freshest food possible, not just some leftover chicken from last night's wedding. You want to make sure they are not marrying the bottles of liquor also.
4. What happens if I have to postpone our wedding date?
No one wants to think about it, but the truth is, it happens. A death in the family, a sudden job loss, things happen, and you want to make sure that you have as many options available to you as possible. You want to be able to postpone your wedding at no additional fee.
5. How many waiters will be assigned per table?
Why is this important? Because if you have 10 people at one table and one waiter per two tables, this poor waiter now has to wait on 20 people at the same time. Chances are, the service is going to be horrible. If your venue has the best food, but you can't get a clean fork because your waiter is in the back running around trying to service 20 people, what's the point? By the time he gets you that clean fork, your food is cold, and your drink is warm. This is something most people don't even think to ask, but it can make all the difference in the world to your guest's experience.
6. Why do they have preferred Vendors?
This is a question almost no catering hall wants you to ask. The reason they have preferred vendors is not because they know the "best" vendors to use. They have preferred vendors or house vendors because they get a kickback from each vendor when they book a wedding at their hall. Why else would they push a particular DJ or Photographer?
They have all types of responses to this; "Well, this photographer or videographer works here all the time.", "They know all the good angles and where to shoot." This is complete and Total B.S. or they say, "The DJ knows where to put their lights and knows where to load in.", etc. It is not that difficult to figure it out. At the end of the day, this is a business to them, and they are in it to make as much money as possible. They usually don't care who does the job as long as they get a cut.