10 Questions You Wouldn’t Think To Ask When Touring Wedding Venues But Are A *Must*

“Plan a wedding,” they said. “It will be fun,” they said. Like many others, I do not have a single clue what I am doing when it comes to wedding planning. I’ve relied heavily on friends who know the ins and outs, and what I thought would be the most enjoyable part of the process has turned out to be the least. I’m talking venue hunting.

Seeing venues is fun, so I don’t mean to hint otherwise. The problems lie less in what you see, and more in what you don’t. While the limit does not exist for questions you should be asking when touring venues, here are some must-ask queries with answers that may surprise you.

1. Do You Have A Designated Ceremony Area?

If you plan on hosting your ceremony at a different location than your reception, you can skip this question. If you plan on hosting onsite, do a little digging about the venue offerings for a ceremony. For starters, can they host the ceremony? If they can, is there a designated area for the ceremony? I recently toured a venue, and when asking if I could host a ceremony on site the host replied “yes”. I asked to see the ceremonial site and they then pointed to a small patch of makeshift grass between two parking lots. While it took physical restraint to not gasp and/or laugh, it was seriously eye-opening that even the most beautiful venues aren’t always what they seem. The other kicker is the ceremonial fee, which is a self-explanatory fee for hosting your ceremony on site. According to WeddingWire, the average cost in the US is $600, but for big cities like NY and LA, expect something closer to $2,000.

2. Do You Have A Bridal And Groom Suite On Site?

I’ll be the first to say the bride is the *most* important on the wedding day (bridezilla in the making here), but I want my groom to be treated like a king as well. I was shocked to see how many venues only had one wedding suite, which meant only one of us could get ready on site. My fiancé is irrationally laid-back and would get ready in the parking lot if he had to, but not all couples are comfortable with a single-suite venue. While it may seem minor right now, it’s important to think about what getting ready offsite day-of means for the person who chooses to do so (renting a hotel suite, renting a large car or limo for wedding party, etc.).

3. Can I Bring A Hair And Makeup Team To The Bridal Suite?

THIS is a question I can’t believe I had to ask at venues. To me, a bridal suite was an obvious getting ready location for myself and my bridesmaids. However, I quickly learned this is not always the case. Some venues do NOT allow you to physically get ready in the suite. They must arrive with hair and makeup done, with no outside vendors allowed in to help prepare the wedding party. Personally, I am really looking forward to getting ready with my bridesmaids all together in the bridal suite, and then waltzing out the door and into the ceremony, so this was an important ask in my book.

4. What Are The Different Rates?

I semi knew this was a “thing” going into venue touring, but I was honestly shook at how drastic the price differences were between “on” and “off-peak” months, Friday/Saturday/Sunday, and time of day. Most venues break down their pricing first by month, with May, June, August, September, and October being the most popular (and therefore, the most expensive) months. From there, choosing your day of the week also dictates the price, with Saturday being the most expensive. AND FROM THERE, the time of day further influences the pricing. A daylight wedding (typically 12pm to 5pm) is often discounted, whereas an evening wedding tends to be more expensive (typically 6 or 7pm to 12 or 1am). So, be warned that Saturday night wedding at sunset in summer WILL impact your budget more than you want it to (I’m talking double the price of a Sunday daytime wedding in April).

5. Where Do The Extra Fees Go?

Venues with in-house catering will charge a per plate fee which covers the guests’ attendance and dinner/open bar. Venues who allow you to bring outside vendors will often charge a flat venue rate. But one thing common across the board is the added 20-25% “service charge”. What is this, you may ask? No, it’s not to compensate the waitstaff, the bartenders, or the cleanup crew. It actually typically goes towards any collateral damage (broken plates, carpet stains, etc.), and the rest goes into the owners’ pockets. If, on a venue tour, you ask what the fee goes to and you hear “it goes back into venue upkeep”, be aware of what this *really* means. It may bother you, or you may be fine with it. If you ask about the service fee going toward service and you’re told that the waitstaff makes “regular minimum wage” instead of “servers minimum wage”, just note that you will be tipping another 20% on top of your 20% service fee and 8.875% tax fee (and a potential cleaning fee). Just to put this in perspective, if your wedding is $50,000, with the fees, cleaning, and gratuity, you’ll actually be spending about $75,000. I know, I was just as shocked as you are rn!!

6. Do You Require Chair Rentals?

Add this to the list of questions I didn’t know I had to ask. For reasons unknown, I assumed with a wedding venue came chairs and tables and normal seating arrangements. For many venues (especially those with in-house catering) this is true, but not for all. Some venues require chair rentals for the space, and this is what I call annoying. Add it to the category of “fees I never thought I’d have to pay.”

 7. Do You Require Preferred Vendor Use?

If you have specific vendors in mind ahead of time, this question is an important one for you. Most, if not all, venues have a list of preferred vendors—vendors they work with often, trust to work in their space, and recommend to their clients. Choosing these vendors often come with perks such as no plate fee for the vendors working the wedding, no insurance cost, and the obvious (and best) perk, discounts. That being said, some venues require you choose a vendor from their lists (this is especially true for flowers and DJs) and is something to confirm before falling in love with a venue or outside vendor.

8. How Many Hours Are Included In Rental Space?

This question is semi self-explanatory, but an important ask. How many hours are “included” is a polite way of asking can I come in early? Can I stay late? Will there be more fees for those extended hours outside of my actual party? How long is my actual party? Get those answers and avoid those fees!

9. Is Parking Available And Included?

Oh hey there, another fee. Parking on premises isn’t always included, but when it is, you can guarantee it comes with a fee. There are often different “levels” to this parking fee. Typically, couples can choose to play a lot flat fee which allows their guests to park for free, but park themselves. There’s also the option to have the guests pay for parking, which feels really reasonable to some and really jarring to others. But, if you’re feeling fancy, there’s also the option to have a valet service for all guests driving in, and this is where it gets pricy. Worth it? Only you reading this can be the judge of that.

10. Do You Offer A Planner?

While some people choose to go the route of planning their own wedding in full (me), others (people smarter than me) go the route of hiring a planner. Planners have pros and cons—pros being the fact that they know what they are doing, cons being that they often work with specific vendors and venues and may be biased with their recommendations. But, the most ideal situation (in my eyes) is finding a venue you love that assigns you a planner to help handle the rest of the arrangements. This person works specifically for your venue, so they know every single issue you may run into, and therefore are perhaps the most powerful point of contact throughout the entire process. It’s good to know if your venue offers a person to help, how far out they begin helping you, and if they are included in your package.

While there are an infinite amount of obvious questions to be asked, these are the questions you don’t want to forget about. Happy planning!

Images: Abby Savage / Unsplash; GIPHY (10)

Raquel Leviss Is Shading Her ‘Vanderpump Rules’ Co-Stars Online

Dear, sweet Raquel Leviss. When James Kennedy’s pageant girlfriend officially joined the Vanderpump Rules cast this year, no one was sure what to expect. We knew her as soft-spoken, college-aged, and possibly delusional about James’ alleged cheating. This season, as the rest of the cast turns against James, Raquel has decided to show her personality. This is happening both on-camera and off, as Raquel has decided to talk sh*t online about James’ former friends. This is the kind of drama I live for.

Exhibit A: Today, Raquel posted this tweet sharing an article discussing the feud between Lala and Billie Lee. Her caption? “Lala Kent Joins The Mean Girls Club And Never Looks Back.”

Lala Kent Joins the Mean Girls Club and Never Looks Back https://t.co/FOZaoOtenQ

— Raquel Leviss (@RaquelLeviss) January 22, 2019

Okay Raquel! Given your interactions with Lala last year, in which you asked her to please stop sitting on your boyfriend’s lap quite so much, I guess it’s not totally shocking that you’re going after her now. But if you’re hating on her for hanging out less with your boyfriend, that does seem a little counter-intuitive to me! (Yeah, I will not for a second pretend Raquel’s real stake in this is somehow about Billie Lee.)

In Exhibit B of Raquel’s (admittedly pretty tame) shade, we have her comment on this Instagram from Tom Sandoval. He’s announcing a “Spicy Tequila Tuesday” that he’s hosting at SUR (guess Girl’s Night In was not a huge success after all).

View this post on Instagram

Join me TOMORROW at SUR from 8-11! I’m taking a break from Tomtom to SURve some cocktails back where it all began @surrules . Come by kick it! Also, don’t forget to check out a new episode of #pumprules TONIGHT!

A post shared by Tom Sandoval (@tomsandoval1) on

Raquel responds to this news (screenshotted below) with the following comment: “You’ve got me thinking about what I would call my Tuesday night.” Innocent enough, but in my opinion, this is a dig that pretty much anyone can have their own Tuesday night now that James’ super-successful event is out of the mix.

Lest you think that Raquel Leviss is taking over James Kennedy’s title as Queen of Internet Shade, James was quick to get in on the action here too. On Tom’s Tuesday night post, he responded to a comment saying, “We Want C YOU NEXT TUESDAY!” by tagging Lisa Vanderpump herself and Guillermo Zapata, the other owner of SUR whose last name you probably never knew. (Did anyone else read that comment in a “Pump-ti-ni!!” voice btw?)

Honestly, James and Lisa better be on good enough terms that this reads as something of a joke. Otherwise he is literally just sad at home tagging his ex-boss on Instagram to say “SEE YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE FIRED ME!” If possible, it is even sadder than drunk-tagging an ex.

Honestly, I’m always up for a new girl stirring the pot. Raquel, I may find your home decor Instagram stories insufferable, bur I am here for any and all petty fights you’d like to start.

Images: Twitter; Instagram

Who’s Behind The Mask And Hoodie? Get To Know Alan Walker

You probably know Alan Walker from his 2015 banger “Faded”, but the Norwegian-British DJ has been far from a one-hit wonder. This year, Walker became the number one YouTuber in Norway with 15 million subscribers. He also just turned 21, so like, he can have a drink now I guess. He’s way more famous than me even though I’m six years older than him… it’s fine, I’m fine. We sat down with Alan after his Electric Zoo 2018 performance to hear about turning 21, his musical inspirations and who “Alan Walker” really is.

Betches: You just celebrated a birthday right? 21?
Yes, 21

I feel like in America 21st birthday is a huge deal but for you it’s probably not.
Well, for here, I think the biggest deal is that you can finally drink. And, in Norway, we can do that since we were 18, so. But, it’s cool knowing that I can play at the casino, I won’t get thrown out.

Some casinos are 18, some, not all…are you a big gambler?
No, no but when I went to play, they let me in when the show starts, but they kick you out when you’re done with the show.

So, we really enjoyed your set, we loved the Pirates of the Caribbean. So I read that you are a fan of Hans Zimmer, so what’s your favorite movie score of his?
Time.

How do you feel about John Williams, cause I’m more of a John William’s fan to be honest
Well I think that like, I’ve got a bunch of his music in my playlist as well. He also did Jurassic Park. He’s a classic.

I felt like your songs, the lyrics are kind of dark, but the melody is upbeat—so what’s that like when you’re creating these two things that are sort of opposite?
Well, I always like to produce melancholic songs and sometimes even though the lyrics can be dark it doesn’t really matter. If the lyrics are just dark, you don’t necessarily have to make something that sounds as dark as the lyrics. And if you can make something that sounds happier, then it changes the whole vibe of the song. For example, a dark sound could make it sound very dark. And it sounds very happy now when it comes to the drop, so that’s kind of like the highlight of the song, to make it more positive.

And how involved are you in the visuals?
For my songs, usually music videos, we really have one guy that’s been directing every music video that we’re doing like I don’t know, the last four or five music videos we put out. Then, it’s going to have like a red line that’s like, a life story that goes through all the music videos, which I feel like is kind of important so it’s not completely random. At the end of the day, it’ll be more like you’re watching a TV series but it’s music videos.

Ifeel like you as a person, you’re a little bit of an enigma. I actually really want to know what your day-to-day life is like.
By enigma do you mean like a machine?

Like, you’re a mystery. Like, ‘we know about his music but what is he like?’ Like on your social media you post about your songs, you don’t Tweet out your thoughts and your jokes and stuff.
You don’t necessarily have to front yourself. Like, I want to front Alan Walker the artist, not necessarily myself. I think I’m able to do that, so it’s different, it’s unique; it’s different from what everyone else is doing and that’s why I’m attracting so many people to come like find out and be like who really is that guy?

How do you think Alan Walker the person differs from the artist?
Alan Walker as a person does not like to be on stage. When I used to go to school, I hated being on stage. I was like the guy who got so shaken up, holding a piece of paper and super nervous. It’s very different when you’re there to come out and play, because you’re prepared to speak to and play music and I don’t have to speak to them too much. I just say like, “one two one two three drop” and then the crowd is happy.

So what do you do before you get on stage to calm yourself down?
Now it’s become a habit. I’ve been touring for the past three years now, so I’m like, never nervous anymore. So, it was only at the very beginning, the fear of being in front of a huge crowd and knowing that everyone is looking at you. It’s weird, but at the same time, you overcome it. It’s kind of like you start to let it be a job and you get used to it.

I do feel like even though you are super famous, you’re also sort of a regular guy. You’re really into gaming, I know nothing about gaming, all I know is Fortnite, do you play that?
Of course!

Who do you surround yourself with when you’re out on tour?
My best friends, my tour manager, my crew.

Do you enjoy touring?
I do, I really do. The fact that I can travel around the world and experience so many different cultures, so many different people, I get to see weird but cool stuff.

So tell us about the mask.
My mask is there because, it’s not necessarily because I want to hide myself, it’s more to show a symbol of community and that anyone can be a Walker. It’s just a hoodie and a mask, so hoodie and the mask are actually inspired by Mr. Robot’s. Anonymous, like on the video game “Watch Dogs”.

I was going to say that the mask and the hoodie make you a little more recognizable because you’re always with it.
Like, I can go around without and people wouldn’t recognize me. It’s pretty fun. Like last year at Tomorrowland and this year at Tomorrowland as well, I just went around the crowd. But like last year there were so many of my friends there in the same weekend as I played and we just went into the crowd, had a good time. I was actually in the crowd, in the middle of everything at the main stage just with my friends having a good time. It was so fun.

Do you keep in touch with your friends when you’re on tour a lot?
Yeah, I keep up with them on Snapchat and talk to them on Facebook and sometimes Facetime them. It’s kind of like, just letting them know I’m still there.

And what’s that like for them to have a friend that’s like this huge name?
Oh, I don’t know. Like my closest friends don’t really care.

What is your favorite song you’ve produced?
I would say “Fade”, the one before “Faded”.

I also feel like a lot of your songs are really personal, is there one that’s particularly personal to you or is that also Fade?
Well, “Fade” is pretty personal because I was sixteen, pulling it together putting emotion into it.

I sense a lot of love motifs, is that accurate?
Uh, maybe.

Not anyone in particular? Just your feelings?
I just like to make music that makes me feel happy and feels good and if I make a melody, that makes me feel like better about myself, so it feels naturally good.

Images: Rikkard Häggbom