Wedding Venue Contract: Key Elements to Cover

Here are some of the most common elements you can expect to find in a wedding venue contract. Be sure to discuss these items before you sign with your venue.

The Basics

  1. The date and time of your ceremony and reception. 
  2. Approximate number of wedding guests. 
  3. Deadline for final head count. Ask whether additional, last minute guests will be charged differently and what is the policy for guests who do not end up attending?
  4. The “Limits of Use” clause. Will you have exclusive use of the site? When will you have access? Is there a time limit on the event?
  5. The exact names of each specific room that will be used on your wedding day.
  6. A detailed description on the reception space. Cover all décor details, including the color of the walls, type of flooring, chandeliers, and other amenities like the stage or bridal suite.
  7. An itemized list of what the venue will provide, such as floral arrangements, decorations, linens, waitstaff, coatroom and valet parking services etc..
  8. Name of the manager who will be present on the wedding day, as well as the name of an acceptable substitute.
  9. Setup time of other vendors, such as the florist and DJ etc..
  10. Any other points that have been agreed upon verbally and need to be finalized in writing.

Deposit and Payment Process

  1. Total cost breakdown based on the expected guest count. This should include both the number of people and the price per person, as well as state tax and service charges.
  2. Deposit and balance amount and the due dates.
  3. Charges for any damaged, lost, or stolen items.
  4. Fees for setup, cleanup, and overtime.
  5. Policy on cancellation and refund.

Food and Drink Details

  1. If you are having your wedding at a restaurant or other self-catered venue, specify if cocktails and an open bar are included in the price. If so, confirm what alcohol the open bar includes and how long the open bar will last.
  2. Specify how the alcohol served during dinner will be billed.
  3. The number of hors d’oeuvres that will be served per person, if provided by the venue.
  4. The number of courses that are included in the reception dinner, if provided by the venue. Specify the meal options and deadline for choosing dinner selections.
  5. The limits and allowances for outside food, beverages, and decorations.

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