14 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Venue Before Booking

Usually when it comes to weddings one of the first things you book for your wedding is the venue.

This is because your venue is, to some degree, going to dictate what style and expectations you have for your day. If you have a huge guest list, but the venue you like only hosts 50 people, it’s a case of back to the drawing board. If you’re dreaming of a intimate and romantic candlelit outdoor ceremony but the venue you love only hosts ceremonies indoors and doesn’t allow open flames, that’s not going to work either. 

So we’re going to guide you though some top questions to ask prospective wedding venues before booking that will help you feel more confident in your decision and save you time (and heartache) falling for a venue that does not meet your criteria.

We will of course answer each of these questions as they pertain to weddings here at Tullyveery House.

If you, in time, decide upon arranging a viewing with us you should feel well prepared so you can fully take in what Tullyveery has to offer from our grounds and breath-taking views across the Clea Lakes to the Mountains of Mourne and so much more.

Gillian Higgan's Photography | Michael and Charlotte

1. What is the guest capacity?

Having a rough idea on guest numbers before considering or viewing a venue is crucial. Jotting down your priority guests and a possible evening list can help you gauge things.

Although this is a case of easier said than done! The guest list can be tricky as often couples do not want to offend anyone. Unfortunately we cannot help you there. It may well be the first pre-marriage test, compiling the guest list! 

Once you have an idea of your numbers you will want to ensure that the venue you are interested in can accommodate your guest list.

This should be your first question always to avoid heartache in your quest. 

At Tullyveery we can accommodate up to 137 guests depending on the format of the room. In our larger dining room at long rectangular banquet tables we can hold 137  with chiavari chairs or 126 at round tables with our chiavari chairs.  

 We do have a smaller dining room which is ideal for smaller guest numbers and room layouts can be altered to your desire.

There is also a marquee site, adjacent to the Walled Garden, suitable for marquee weddings of up to 200+ guests should your numbers exceed the capacity of the courtyard rooms. So do not rule out Tullyveery if the courtyard is not suffice for your numbers.

The courtyard can make an excellent drinks reception/afternoon tea spot for guests to move on to the marquee for their evening of dinner and dancing all under one roof with adequate space for additional evening guests.

What is included in the price/package?

Some venues provide packages to include the venue/or individual room as well as a set food menu, toasting wines and right down to chairs, chair covers, tables, linens, etc, while others offer the bare bones (ie. the space only) and require that you truly DIY everything or bring in a team of decorators.

You’ll definitely want to ask this question early on to gauge what is included and not included with each venue you view. Some tend to not be so black and white and can be known to have many ‘hidden extras’.

Not going for a ‘package’ and creating a bespoke wedding is not for everyone, there is a bit more organisation but it also means you get exactly what you want and allows you to choose from an abundance of wedding suppliers. With the right guidance from an experienced venue, and team to orchestrate everything in the background, there is no reason your vision cannot run seamlessly using your desired wedding suppliers. There is an abundance of talent and services here in N.Ireland or even further afield.

In our opinion; here at Tullyveery a package, like the sort you would see being offered at hotel style venues, is far too tying. We don’t want you to be limited to a pre-set range of choices. Instead, we support you building up your own, unique and personalised, ‘package’.

Some couples have a clear vision in mind right from the start and don’t need our assistance, whereas some couples will get our help to build up their perfect day which makes the planning no more onerous than if you did go for a package wedding – whatever works for you. 

It would be a very long list for us to list everything available for your use at the venue, the best way to see and hear about them all is to arrange a viewing. You can do this by contacting us here. 

For example though we have a mobile PA system (great for relaxed speeches in the garden or Courtyard), background sound systems in the dining rooms (perfect for a pre set playlist for a little background ambiance), all the dining tables and Chiavari chairs you’ll need, outdoor tables and chairs, brazier (we light this in the evening, all you do is bring the smore’s), lanterns, festoon lights, umbrellas should you need them, blankets when it gets cold….the list goes on!

Just to note – we don’t believe in charging you extra for every table and chair… if on the day you suddenly decided to have your speeches in the garden as the weather is glorious instead of having them in the dining room, we’ll pop the PA system up and off you go.

Tullyveery is a family home, and when you have your wedding with us, you and your guests are part of the family. This means, just like you would expect from any family member, you can expect from us care, attention to detail, dedication to making sure everything goes right, and doing whatever is necessary to ensure every aspect of your day is just how you want it.

This question is a very important one if you have a particular vision for your wedding ceremony.

It is very important you ask a potential venue this as if you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding as an example for 130 guests but it gets rained off and their indoor ceremony alternative does not cater for those numbers then that venue is an instant no go. You must always have a plan B so you are not left disappointed on your day. 

You will not feel limited here at Tullyveery, we always have a plan B, C and D up our sleeve!

We offer multiple outdoor ceremony locations. Ceremonies can take place on the front lawn overlooking the rolling hills of Co.Down with the Mountains of Mourne in the distance. In the walled garden which has a little micro climate of its own even on the windiest of days. The final outdoor location is the Kitchen Garden (Summer House Garden), suitable for more intimate ceremonies, it is such a peaceful and relaxing space.

The Front Hall of our Georgian House provides a stunning indoor option for small intimate ceremonies. Hosting up to 20 people, the couple can make their entry or exit via the sweeping staircase to maximise impact.

The adjacent Drawing and Dining rooms provide space for guests to mingle before and after the service as well as excellent photographic backdrops.

Both larger function rooms within the Courtyard are also licenced for ceremonies – with the possibility to decorate the rooms in whatever style you wish, these spaces provide a blank-canvas indoor location.

With this range of ceremony location options, you’re inevitably going to fall in love with one (or all) of them if you visit.

Why not arrange a viewing here, and see for yourself that the possibilities really are endless at Tullyveery.

In the meantime you can learn more about our ceremony options here.

4. Are catering services included/required or are there vendor restrictions?

Food is a big deal at a wedding! You have invited your guests to spend the day and celebrate with you – they can’t do that on empty stomachs. You will want them to enjoy their day as much as you.

You’ll find some venues require that you use their catering services for your wedding, while others don’t offer catering at all and allow you to hire your own caterer.

In some cases venues have restrictions on what vendors you are allowed to hire so if you are a real foodie and have your heart (tummy) set on a supplier it could be make or break for you. 

At Tullyveery we do not offer catering. Although, when you book your wedding or event with us, we will happily share recommendations of suppliers who we rate and have worked well at Tullyveery.

We do also allow vendors who are not on our preferred list, so long as they are licensed and insured.

So if you want to have a five course meal your chosen catering team will not be disappointed with our purpose built catering kitchens to ensure a smooth as possible dinner service. Alternatively if you want to go with a BBQ buffet or a mix of street food vans and stalls we are open to all options at Tullyveery and are happy for you to customise your day as you wish.

Tom & Emily | Pure Photo NI

5. Do you have the wedding venue for a day or the weekend?

This is a great question to ask a potential venue. Most venues only offer one day weddings and some are a conveyor belt with 2-3 weddings taking place across one location on any given day. (Could you imagine your guests attending the wrong wedding service? Worse still could you imagine bumping into another couple on their wedding day!)

For practical reasons though it can be so confusing for suppliers and there is certainly room for error when there are multiple weddings taking place at a venue. So it is certainly worth asking especially if you would like to be involved in decor and need time to set up.

At Tullyveery we only host one wedding per day and the venue and grounds are strictly private to you and your wedding guests. 

We cannot emphasise enough how we are entirely focused to ensure your wedding day is stress free for you and your guests. For this reason, we provide access from noon the day before your wedding till noon the day after.

This allows you and your suppliers to come the day before and ensure everything is just how you want it. It also means you’re not going to be rushing after a busy night partying to collect together all of your items – you can come back and get them the following morning.

There is no cross over at Tullyveery with couples overlapping set up. Some venues will move a wedding party from dining room to dance room while the dining is set up for a wedding the following day. We don’t like to see our couples as a ‘number’ here at Tullyveery – we treat our couples and their guests as if they were our own family and we are here to make everything about your experience a personal one. 

6. Are there good photo ops nearby, on site and off site?

For many people, getting beautiful wedding photos and videography shots is an incredibly important part of the day, so you have something special to look back on. Even for your guests it is important as often its when families come together, everyone is looking their best and is keen to get a pic! So you’ll want to know what types of photo backdrops your venue offers. 

At Tullyveery, you have access to the entire property which features a swing overlooking the rolling hills of Co.Down, a skyline of fields and the infamous Mountains of Mourne, arable fields, fields over looking the Clea Lakes, meadows, woodland, manicured garden settings, out-buildings, not to mention inside the house itself.  

All of which are within walking distance of the venue and the party! We do not want you off on a long excursion to get your shots and missing out on all the fun – all of the photography you see on our Facebook and Instagram is all accessible on foot. Photographers often comment how they love shooting at Tullyveery as whatever setting a couple want for their photographs can be easily found and quickly accessed. 

We do offer a gator so you can hitch a ride over the field for shots overlooking the Clea Lakes if the terrain is a little rough in heels – perfect if your photographer wants to quickly steal you away for a sunset shot so your guests will barely know you are missing! 

Fraser Stewart Photography | Struan and Chloe

7. Is there accommodation? If so for how many?

If you’re hoping to have you and your wedding party stay overnight at your venue, you will definitely want to ask about a venue’s overnight accommodations. If you can block book for your guests and so on.

If you have friends and family flying in to join you on your day you will want to have options and have done a little research on their behalf.

We are not a hotel venue and hence do not have accommodation to host all guests. However, there are numerous local B&Bs some of which host over 20 guests, perfect for families and bridal parities.

Couples with guests coming from over-seas sometimes like to host their guests in a Belfast hotel, letting them take in the tourist sights, and then provide a bus to bring them to and from the venue. We’re only about 30 minutes from the closest Belfast hotels.

You can find more guest info and recommendations here. 

Simply Red Coaches

9. Is it possible to have a rehearsal on site?

If you’re planning on having a wedding rehearsal, you’ll likely want to host it at the wedding venue. If you are nervous about anything at all it is a great way to brush off any concerns, put your mind at ease and to make you a little more comfortable on the day when you are familiar with your surroundings. Not all venues give you this opportunity.

At Tullyveery you will have access to the venue the day before the wedding. We always encourage our couples to utilize this time for set up, be it DIY wedding decor or to have wedding suppliers to set up and prep what can be done the day before to help take away any stress and pressure on the day of the wedding. 

We also encourage you to have a stroll around the grounds or if it’s wet have a look over our instagram albums online to get an idea of the backdrops you would like to be photographed in. This can be confirmed with your photographer and videographer, with all locations within walking distance and a gator available – this will allow you to get the perfect shots and not miss too much of the mingling and celebrations. Having a little stroll the day before is a lovely way to pinch yourselves that ‘this is it’ and to soak up the excitement.

It is within this time frame our couples also choose to have a little rehearsal (for those who have their ceremony with us). There is however no option to have a formal rehearsal dinner but we would be happy to suggest local restaurants nearby that would be suitable. We are fortunate to have a wealth of good restaurants nearby from ‘pub grub’ to fine dining. 

10. Is there parking on-site? How far is it and is there a shuttle?

Always ask your venue if they offer on-site parking. It could be the perfect venue but with no overnight parking it will be more hassle for your guests and you may need to arrange shuttling or bussing your guests to the venue. 

You’ll also want to ask (if you have older guests or guests with mobility issues) the venue how far the distance is between parking and the event space. Some venues may provide shuttle services from the car park.

At Tullyveery, we have on-site parking for your guests that is within walking distance to the ceremony locations and courtyard rooms. For guests who need assistance we offer a closer car park option or the option of dropping off in front of the house or at the courtyard and parking the car. The front of the house must be kept clear for the couple and their photographs and is a drop off and pick up point only.

Many of our couples have family flying in and often put a bus or coach on from a hotel and have them dropped off to the venue and collected again. We have a turning circle suitable for single buses and coaches to access and turn at Tullyveery.

We have a large grassed car park adjacent to the house where the majority of guests will park. There is also another smaller car park closer to the Walled Garden and Courtyard. Cars can be left overnight (at owners own risk) and collected the next morning. No cars (apart from bridal cars) will be parked at the front of the house (got to keep the amazing view clear!).

Just to note we also have a small grounds vehicle which can be driven by a member of the Tullyveery team to assist any guests around the grounds.

Iain Photo G | Tom & Samantha

11. Is there a getting ready space on site?

A great bonus that some venues offer is a designated getting ready space.

At Tullyveery for couples who plan to have their ceremony with us, getting ready at the venue is a popular choice. To avoid the stress of running late and to enjoy the day as it unfolds. 

We have rooms in the main house to get ready in and a large landing with flooding natural light that the MUA’s love.

For couples who host their reception with us and not their ceremony there is a powder room available to the couple and their bridal party only, should anyone wish to change into a fresh shirt, a second dress or have any hair/make up touch ups. 

12. Does the venue allow open flames/sparklers/lanterns/fireworks?

If you’re hoping to have some late night activities like sparklers or fireworks, you’ll want to check with the venue first. Certain venues will have regulations and restrictions on activities like these. 

At Tullyveery fireworks are unfortunately not allowed due to the impact they have on local wild and farming animals. However, sparklers are permitted.

Candles may be used up to and during the meal as long as they are placed in a suitable container. After the meal they will be extinguished or replaced with an electric candle. Unfortunately, floating lanterns are not permitted.

An open flame brazier is lit in the courtyard in the evening and festoon lighting is used creating a beautiful outdoor room.

Regarding drones, these may be operated as long as the operator is accompanied by a member of the Tullyveery Team – this is to ensure they remain over the Tullyveery Estate and don’t stray on to adjacent farm land.

13. What time can the party run until?

This is a very important question, after all you are planning a wedding, a celebration, a party! It is the quickest day of your life and if you have entertainment booked you do not want the night cut short. If a party is important to you, you will need to know what time your music and the party must end! Not least to let your guests know on their invitations when they should arrange their ‘carriage’ home.

At Tullyveery the party can run until 1am. Plenty of time to make the most of your day!

14. What is the Booking Fee Payment?

In order to reserve a venue for your wedding date, you’ll most likely need to make an upfront deposit payment. Asking your venue the amount in advance and when full payment needs to be made will be helpful later on when you’re organising your budget. 

At Tullyveery all of our prices are available via our brochure. We have no hidden costs and pride ourselves on the standard of venue and service we provide. Our online google and Facebook reviews speak for themselves.

To request a brochure or to arrange a viewing please contact us here. 

Tullyveery House by Simple Tapestry

Contact us to arrange a viewing at Tullyveery

Plan your day unique to you

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