The Balmoral House Answers the “Here Comes the Guide” QUESTIONS TO ASK A WEDDING VENUE
Typically, this time of year we are providing lots of tours and showing our venue to so many newly engaged couples. Since we can’t host any events at The Balmoral House right now, we want to be sure that we still provide you the answers you are looking for to plan your Wedding.
Providing an elegant setting and impeccable service will always be our top priority. While we take this break from life to quarantine and recover from this pandemic, we believe that continuing to plan for the future and celebrate life’s milestones is even more important.
Indianapolis is home so many different types of wedding venues from rustic to urban and everything in between. The Balmoral House is a versatile venue as a former residence with light-filled indoor spaces and multiple outdoor sites as well. While finding the venue that fits your aesthetic is important, there are also some other important questions you may not think about that you should be asking venues before making your final decision.
Rather than creating our own list of questions, we reached out to Here Comes the Guide to get their list of Questions to Ask A Wedding Venue, and completed the questionnaire for you.
Here is a link to the original worksheet for you to use when questioning other venues as well.
VENUE NAME: The Balmoral House
CONTACT INFO: Venue Managers, Ashtin or Katie
1. What dates are available in the month I'm considering? Currently we are holding all dates through October 31 for currently booked events to reschedule. There are several dates available from November 2020 through 2021 and 2022. Call to check current availability 317-288-8741 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
TIP: Some venues offer a discount for booking an off-season date or a Sunday through Friday wedding.
2. How many people can this location accommodate? Indoor weddings up to 150 guests, outdoor events up to 200.
3. What is the rental fee and what’s included in that price? Our Balmoral Wedding Experience ranges from $3500-$5500 depending on the month and day. The Twelve-Hour Exclusive Venue Rental includes: One-Hour Ceremony Rehearsal Time, One Venue Selections Meeting, Use of the Entire Balmoral House, including the Bridal Suite, Groom's Quarters & Private Grounds, Venue Manager & Venue Assistant On-Site For Entire Event, Parking Attendant On-Site, Set-Up & Teardown for Indoor Ceremonies, Indoor Receptions, & Outdoor Ceremonies on the Grand Deck and Garden Patio*, Guest, Cocktail, & Buffet Tables, Two Rustic Wooden Farm Tables with 16 Crossback Chairs, Two Hundred White Padded Chairs, One Wrought-Iron Ceremony Arbor, Fifteen Complimentary Classic Linens, in a Variety of Colors, Outdoor Twinkle Lights, Five Ivory Easels
4. How many hours does the rental fee include, and is there an overtime fee if I stay longer? We really like to party. The Balmoral House Experience is a 12-hour rental. We do have options to add additional hours but all events at our venue must end by 12am Fridays & Saturdays and 11pm Sunday-Thursdays.
5. How much is the deposit, when is it due, and is it refundable? We do require a deposit, 50% of the venue rental to reserve your date. Your deposit is not refundable, though we will work with any guest to reschedule an event within a year of the original event date. During the COVID-19 crisis, events can be reserved with just a 25% deposit.
6. What’s the payment plan for the entire bill? The Total must be paid two weeks prior to your event. We can work with you on creating a payment plan. What forms of payment do you accept? Cash, check or credit card (cards will be charged a 3.8% processing fee)
7. Can I have my ceremony here, too? Yes. Is there an additional cost? No.
8. Are there changing areas for the bride, groom, and/or wedding party? Yes! We have an amazing three-room Bridal Suite as well as a Groom’s Quarters on the opposite side of the house for those couples that wish not to see eachother before their First Look or ceremony.
9. Can we have our rehearsal dinner here? Yes! What about a morning-after mimosa brunch? Yes!
10. How much time is allocated for the rehearsal? We allow one hour for the rehearsal. If you reserve your rehearsal dinner at The Balmoral House, you can start decorating during that time as well!
11. What's the cancellation policy? Event deposits are non-refundable. The Balmoral House will work with clients to reschedule events. Events cancelled within 30 days are responsible from the entire invoice.
TIP: Some places will refund most of your deposit if you cancel far enough in advance, since there's still a chance they can rent the space. After a certain date, though, you may not be able to get a refund—at least not a full one.
12. What's your weather contingency (backup) plan for outdoor spaces? We can make indoor accommodations for any outdoor event, We give you up to 24 hours before your rental time to make your decision. Pergola and patio flip fees may still apply.
13. Do you have liability insurance? Yes.
TIP: If drunk cousin Steve gets injured during the dance party, you don't want to be held responsible—if the site doesn't have insurance, you may need to get your own.
Food + Drinks
14. Do you have an in-house caterer or a list of "preferred" caterers, or do I need to provide my own? We do have 7 Exclusive caterers at this time, to allow flexibility in budget and cuisine. A Cut Above, Jacquie’s, MBP, City Barbecue, Jonathan Byrd’s, and recently added Mills Catering and Indy Fresh! Even if there is an in-house caterer, do I have the option of using an outside caterer instead? We can make accommodations for those that have specific cultural requirements. Ask your venue manager for details.
15. If I hire my own caterer, is there a kitchen available for them? No. We do have a large prep space for catering.
TIP: Caterers charge extra if they have to haul in refrigerators and stoves.
16. Is there a food & beverage minimum? There is no food minimum from the venue. You may confirm minimums with your selected caterer. The Balmoral House does have a beverage minimum based on your beverage package and guest count.
17. What’s the tax and service charge? Tax 8% and Service & Gratuity is 22%.
18. Can we do a food tasting before we finalize our menu selection? Yes, each of our caterers offers tastings. Does it cost extra? Each caterer handles tastings differently, please check with them direct for details.
TIP: Be sure to ask if they’ll accommodate dietary restrictions and/or food allergies. Usually it’s no problem!
19. Are tables, linens, chairs, plates, silverware, and glassware provided, or will I have to rent them myself or get them through my caterer? The Balmoral House provides tables and chairs, including a couple farm tables with cross-back chairs for the wedding party. Linens can be selected and rented through The Balmoral House. Plates, silverware & glassware can be rented through catering.
20. Can I bring in a cake from an outside baker or do I have to use a cake made on site? Yes! We do require that any baked goods come from a commercial bakery.
21. Is there a cake-cutting fee? This is handled by catering. If I use a cake made on site is the fee waived? Varies based on caterer.
TIP: Sometimes if you ask if a friend or family member can cut your cake, they’ll waive the cake-cutting fee for you.
22. Can we bring our own wine, beer or champagne? No. What about hard liquor? No.
23. Is there a corkage fee? No.
24. Are you licensed to provide alcohol service? Yes!
TIP: Some venues (like wineries) aren't licensed to serve hard alcohol. You may need to get permission to bring in an outside beverage catering company if you like your booze.
25. How is alcohol priced, and is there a bar minimum? We have several packages, including non-alcoholic, domestic or craft beer, house or premium wine, champagne, house and premium spirits options. We do have a bar minimum based on guest count and package selected.
26. Are there additional charges for bar staff? Yes
Décor + Rentals
27. Are we allowed to bring in our own decorations? Yes. The Balmoral House provides an elegant, neutral setting that does not require a lot of décor. Decorations to personalize your wedding day are encouraged.
TIP: Keep the existing décor in mind when planning your own decorations so that they won't clash! And if your event is in December, ask what the venue's holiday décor will be. Because creepy Santa’s NOT invited.
28. Do you have an inventory of décor (lighting, candle holders, vases, etc.) we can borrow from? No.
29. Can I move things around or do I have to leave everything as is? If you have a request for items to be moved, we recommend discussing with your venue manager. Balmoral staff must move Balmoral owned items/décor for guests.
TIP: Some venues have restrictions on whether or not you can hang things from the ceiling or on the walls. If you’re obsessed with string lights, better check on this.
30. Can we use candles/confetti/sparklers/fireworks/animals/lawn games/bounce houses/food trucks/insert your own fun-but-potentially-dangerous liability here? Yes and No. Candles may be used as long as they are contained in holders. The Balmoral House can help you with arrangements for sparklers, fireworks, lawn games and including pets in your ceremony. We do not typically allow bounce houses, food trucks or confetti. If you have a special request, just ask and we will try to find a way to accommodate.
31. Do you have signage or other aids to direct guests to my event? We do have some directional signage as well as providing a parking attendant for larger events.
32. Do you provide heaters and/or umbrellas for the outdoor spaces? We have a few umbrellas that can be used for shade. We do not have heaters. Generally we would recommend having an indoor space reserved for cold weather events.
Vendors + Staffing
33. Can I hire my own vendors or is there a preferred vendor list we need to stick to? The only preferred vendor list we have is for catering. Any other service you may choose your own vendor or check our “Vendors We Love” for recommendations.
34. Do you offer on-site coordination? Yes. What services are included? New for 2020, we do offer day-of coordination. Services Included: Assist On-Site with ceremony rehearsal, Coordinate pre-ceremony food & beverage services, Set up ceremony & reception spaces, Meet caterers, vendors and deliveries & deliver final payments and/or tips, assist with decor set up, Greet and direct guests, make sure that the wedding party is on time and in the right places, Wedding party lineup for ceremony, Wedding party lineup for reception grand entrance, Coordinate reception timeline, Tear down and pack décor, collect personal items for exit, Loading gifts for exit, Coordinate Send Off, Coordinate returning rentals, Ensure space is left clean, Solving last-minute emergencies. Fees are based on the size of your event.
35. Can the venue accommodate a DJ or live band? We can accommodate either DJ or live band.
36. What security services do you offer? We do offer security for larger events and it is required for all events with bar service.
TIP: In general, you should have 2 security guards for the first 100 guests and 1 more for every additional 100 guests.
37. Do you provide a coat check service? Yes. We have a coat room that can be utilized as either staffed or self-service.
38. What time can my vendors start setting up on the day of the wedding? Your vendors can begin arriving any time after your rental begins.
TIP: Some venues host multiple weddings per weekend. Others just host one! If your venue does the latter, ask if you can start the setup the day before.
39. Does the venue provide assistance getting gifts and/or décor back to a designated car or hotel room after the wedding? This service is part of our day-of coordination service.
40. Is there a separate space for cocktail hour? Our lower level bar space, Celebration Hall, is perfect for hosting a cocktail hour.
41. Do you have a sound system and/or microphones for speeches? No. Typically, a DJ will provide microphone for toasts.
TIP: Check where the outlets are located in your event space, because that will help you figure out where the band can set up and where other vendors can hook up their equipment. You don't want the head table to block the only outlet in the room, right?
42. Are there any noise restrictions? No. We do limit the length of our events to adhere to noise restrictions.
43. Is there parking on site and if so, is it complimentary? Yes! We have added a second parking lot over the winter to allow plenty of paved parking for guests. If not, where will my guests park?
44. Are cabs/rideshares (like Uber, Lyft, etc.) easily accessible from the venue? We are located right in Fishers, at 106th & Allisonville. Very accessible to local hotels and I-465.
45. If a shuttle service is needed, can you assist with setting it up? No.
46. How many restrooms are there? We have 7 restrooms located throughout the house.
TIP: You should have at least 4 restrooms per 100 people. At least.
47. What overnight accommodations do you provide? None. Do you offer a discount for booking multiple rooms—or a complimentary room or upgrade for the newlyweds? No.
48. If no accommodations are available, what are the nearest hotels to the venue? We have several hotels within 1-2 miles of our venue. We can make recommendations based on your needs.
TIP: Some venues have partnerships with local hotels that offer a discount if you book a block of rooms.
49. Is the site handicap accessible? Yes. We also have a golf cart that is available for transporting guests to outdoor spaces.
50. Do you have a recycling policy? Yes. Our Share the Love program allows our couples to donate their flowers after the wedding to Meadow Ridge, a neighboring nursing home, to provide flowers to their residents. We’d love for our wedding to give back.