At the beginning of 2020, no soon-to-be-married couples or wedding venues could’ve predicted what was to come. The coronavirus crisis has nullified all those months of poring over wedding-related magazines and websites, leaving brides and grooms everywhere to look at their 2020 and 2021 weddings and wonder: What do we do now?
Wedding venues everywhere, including Earle Brown, have responded to the COVID-19 outbreak by doubling down on health and safety protocols, but it’s important to know exactly what precautions and new standards your venue (or prospective venue) have in place.
It’s only natural that, in a time of uncertainty, you have tons of questions for your venue—and, in all likelihood, questions about what questions you should have! To guide you through the venue-vetting process in the age of coronavirus, we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask when speaking to your venue or prospective venue about COVID-related concerns or changes.
COVID-Related Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue:
- What is your postponement policy?
- Are there fees associated with postponing our wedding?
- If we need to postpone our wedding, do you offer reduced pricing for weekday or off-peak weddings?
- Is our deposit refundable in part or full? Is it transferable to a new date?
- If we need to postpone the wedding, will we be required to choose a new date within a certain time frame from our original date?
- Our wedding is several months away. How far out from our wedding will we need to decide whether or not we postpone?
- If we need to postpone our wedding until the next calendar year, are there dates available?
- If we are unable to postpone our wedding, what is your cancellation policy?
- In the instance that your venue is temporarily closed, how can we reach you?
- Do you offer elopement, micro-wedding, or “marry now, celebrate later” packages?
- How many total guests can you accommodate at this time?
- How many guests will you seat per table?
- Can our wedding be live-streamed from your venue? If so, will you facilitate? Can your WiFi or internet connection support a live-stream?
- Is mask-wearing mandatory for guests at your venue? What about for venue employees and vendors?
- Do you have policies and practices in place for guests, employees or vendors who do not follow your mask policies? How would a non-compliant guest be handled during our event?
- What are your cleaning/sanitation practices? Will you sanitize the event spaces before, during and after the wedding?
- Are hand sanitizing stations or mobile hand-washing stations an option for our event? If so, will you facilitate, or will we need to find and contract with a third-party vendor?
- What health and safety measures do you have in place for staff? (Temperature checks upon arrival, masks provided to staff, etc?)
- Do you have any health and safety measures in place for wedding participants and guests? (Temperature checks upon arrival, masks provided, hand sanitizer provided, socially-distanced seating, etc?)
- Do you require valet parking, and if yes, how will it be handled safely? Will self-parking be an option for guests?
- What creative layouts/floor plans can you offer for the ceremony and reception to maintain social distancing?
- How far apart will tables and chairs be spread to maintain social distancing?
- Will we need to add tables to accommodate our guests safely? Will there be additional costs associated with that?
- We’re planning on having a cocktail hour during our wedding. How can you encourage social distancing during that time, knowing we will likely have clumps of people throughout the space?
- Our event is indoors. What kind of ventilation is available? Can we leave doors and/or windows open throughout the event?
- What is the traffic flow like for guests? Is it possible to set up “one-way” doors for entrances and exits? Do you have an event space with automatic doors or hands-free doors?
- Can we move our entire event outdoors, if it is not already? If yes, would that affect our event curfew?
- What is your cut-off date for outdoor events?
- What is your outdoor guest capacity?
- Are there noise restrictions on amplified music outside?
- Is it possible to set up a tent in your outdoor space? If yes, can you facilitate, or will we need to find and contract with a third party vendor?
- Can we have a dance floor outside? If yes, can you facilitate, or will we need to find and contract with a third-party vendor?
- What plans are in place for inclement weather while maintaining social distancing?
- What are our lighting options for an outdoor event?
- Do you provide heaters and/or umbrellas for outdoor events?
- What is restroom access like for outdoor events? Will we need to rent additional portable toilets? How will the restrooms be kept clean and sanitized throughout the event?
Food & Beverage
- How will food be prepared and served?
- What measures are being taken in the kitchen and among serving staff to ensure food safety and employee health?
- Can we still have a buffet or food stations? If yes, are you offering any modifications, such as plexiglass barriers between food and guests, disposable serving pieces, sanitizing stations at the beginning and end of the buffet line, etc?
- What are your plans for preventing groups of people clustering around the bar?
- What kind of bartending service can you provide? Is table-side bar service an option? If yes, will there be additional fees associated with that option?
- Are you still offering on-site tasting services to help us choose our menu? Are those tasting services private, or done with other couples? If the latter, how will social distancing be maintained throughout the tasting? Is there an option to pick up samples for at-home tasting?
The list above is an non-exhaustive tool to help you evaluate your wedding venue options during this time. Whatever type of wedding you choose to have, it’s important to do your part to minimize risk, and always follow local, state, and federal health and safety guidelines! With that said, remember that venues will be changing their policies as the situation continues to unfold, and your venue manager or wedding planner can’t predict the future. Keep your mind open, your plans flexible, and don’t forget: You can handle this!
If you’re interested in planning your wedding at Earle Brown Heritage Center, contact us today to get all your most pressing coronavirus-related questions answered by our friendly, capable staff. No matter the circumstances, we’re dedicated to making your wedding day safe, seamless and extraordinary!