Forty Frequently Asked Questions about Wedding Venues

angelaCheck out some great event tips from our ISU Alumni Center team. This piece was written by Angela Horner, ISU Alumni Center Program Assistant. For more tips and assistance planning a special event at the ISU Alumni Center, call Angela, Lexi, or Brooke at (515) 294-4625 or visit

Knowing what questions to ask and what to expect is a key element in finding the perfect wedding venue. Before you make any final decisions, sit down with the venue’s manager and go over the following questions. The Alumni Center events staff has answered the questions below to give you a head start if you are interested in reserving the Center for your special day. Happy planning and hope to see you at our booth (south end of the Reiman Ballroom) at Bridal ExCYtement on Sunday, Feb. 8.

  1. Do I have to be a member to rent the venue? No, but there are discounted rental packages for ISU Alumni Association members. Click here to become a member.
  2. Do you have a professional wedding planner? Yes, there are three events staff professionals onsite.
  3. Who will be our point person prior to the day of our wedding? The three events staff professionals rotate weekends and one will be assigned 3-4 months prior to your wedding day.
  4. Who will be our point person on the day of our wedding? The events staff that you work with prior to your wedding day will be onsite day of along with additional events staff depending on your final headcount (generally 2-3 staff).
  5. Is my wedding date available? Contact one of our events staff at 515-294-4625 or request more information here and we will look at dates for you and set up a tour of the venue.
  6. How many guests can your venue accommodate? We can accommodate up to 250 ceremony guests depending on which space is requested. For wedding receptions we can accommodate up to 194 in the Reiman Ballroom, 300 guests in Reiman Ballroom and Mente/Boyd Reception Area, and up to 500 utilizing the entire building for a less formal reception. Contact the events staff for examples of diagrams and room setups.
  7. What is the rental fee, and what is included in that price? See the Alumni Center wedding packages here and everything included with these rates.
  8. Are there different rates for peak and off-season dates? Yes, there are peak wedding season rates from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
  9. Is there a service charge on top of the bill? No, the wedding package price is the only charge (unless outside vendors are required per your request and arranged through your wedding planner). There is a 10% catering commission fee that your caterer will charge on the food and beverage bill.
  10. Are there any cleaning fees, overtime charges, insurance-fees? The Alumni Center reserves the right to charge a damage/cleaning fee if necessary after the wedding. There are no overtime charges; however, the guest and client must exit per the agreed upon time. Proof of liability insurance may be required. Security may also be required at the expense of the client.
  11. What kind of deposit is required? 50% of the package rate is due at time of signing the rental agreement. Acceptable forms of payment include credit card (VISA, Master Card, Discover, and American Express), check, or cash.
  12. What is the cancellation policy? Cancellations are accepted provided that notification is given in writing to the events staff. The following cancellation fees will apply:
    1. More than 9 months prior to the wedding date, cancellation fee will be 25% of the deposit
    2. Between 6 and 9 months prior to the wedding date, cancellation fee will be 50% of the deposit
    3. Fewer than 30 days prior to the wedding date, cancellation fee will be 100% of the deposit
  13. When is final payment due? 5 business days prior to your wedding day.
  14. What is the last possible date that we can make changes to diagrams and timeline? The day before your wedding day.
  15. What is the back-up plan for rain or inclement weather if using outdoor space? We can always move outdoor ceremonies indoors to the Mente/Boyd Reception Area or Reiman Ballroom. The events staff will work with you the day before your wedding to determine if an outdoor or indoor space will be set for the wedding.
  16. Can you provide a list of venue policies? Yes, click here for our general policies.
  17. How many weddings will be booked on my special day? Just your wedding!
  18. Is there an in-house caterer or do you allow outside caterers? All food and beverage must be contracted through an approved caterer. No food or beverage may be brought into the Alumni Center from any other source.
  19. Do you allow alcohol? Yes, from an approved caterer.
  20. Do you allow us to bring in our own alcohol? We do not allow outside alcohol. All alcohol has to come from an approved caterer.
  21. Are plates, silverware, and glassware provided? The Alumni Center does not provide these items. Contact individual caterers for more information about what items they provide.
  22. Is there a food and beverage minimum? This depends on the selected approved caterer. Contact individual caterers for more information about F&B minimums.
  23. Can I bring in a cake from a bakery? Cakes and mints may be brought into the Alumni Center from a licensed vendor in the state of Iowa if arrangements have been made in advance with the events staff. We do not provide cake-cutting, but some approved caterers can offer this service at a fee. We do not provide plates, forks, napkins, or serving utensils for cake and these items must be provided by you, your bakery, or approved caterer cutting the cake.
  24. Must I use vendors of your choosing? We require a caterer from our list of approved caterers. We also have a list of vendor partners for vendors other than caterers, but do not require you to select from this list. We ask that you provide us with names and contact information of the vendors you are working with so we may assist with making day of arrangements, especially for vendors whom have never been to our venue.
  25. Can we have a DJ or band and dancing? Yes, we ask that DJs and bands provide their own sound equipment and we provide the dance floor. We have multiple outlets in the entire building to accommodate DJ and band equipment.
  26. Are there restrictions for the photographer in terms of flash usage? If your photographer has not been in our building before, have them make an appointment with one of our events staff to tour the facility prior to the wedding.
  27. Who is responsible for setting up and tearing down décor and when? The Alumni Center events staff sets tables, chairs, linens, and other items included in the wedding package by 8 a.m. the day of wedding. Other décor is set by client or vendors starting at 8 a.m. the day of the wedding.
  28. How early can vendors get in to setup? 8 a.m. day of wedding.
  29. Can I move furniture around and decorate to suite my likes and dislikes? Yes, every wedding is custom and we work with you to create personalized diagrams and layouts for your wedding day.
  30. Are there decoration limitations and do you allow candles? All decorations and furniture arrangements must be approved and coordinated in advance with the events staff. Décor may not be affixed to the walls, ceilings, banisters, doors, or stairways. Nails, hooks, tacks, screws, and bolts may not be used on any surface at the Alumni Center. Glitter, sprinkles, confetti, petals, rice, birdseed, wheat or similar materials are not allowed. Fog machines are not allowed. Use of candles is restricted to enclosed flames at least one inch from the top of the container or floating in water. All décor must be removed and cleaned up at the end of the wedding.
  31. At what time will my guests and vendors have to leave the facility? Guests must exit by 12 a.m. Immediate family and close friends assisting with tear down and vendors must exit by 12:30 a.m.
  32. Do you provide assistance with getting gifts or décor to designated cars at the end of the event? Yes, the events staff working can assist with loading cars if needed.
  33. Is there a shuttle service available? The Alumni Center does not provide a shuttle service, but our events staff can work with you to find reliable service in the Ames area for your guests.
  34. What overnight accommodations do you provide? The Alumni Center does not have sleeping rooms, but there are several hotels and bed and breakfasts in Ames to accommodate guests.
  35. Are there adequate bathroom facilities? There are men’s and women’s restrooms located on each floor of the Alumni Center each with multiple stalls. There is also a family restroom located on the 2nd
  36. Is there coat check? No, but we have a coat room and two coat racks that can be used if needed.
  37. Is the site handicap accessible? There is elevator access to all three floors at the Alumni Center. There is one handicap parking spot on the west side of the building and one on the east side of the building.
  38. Is there ample parking? Will guests be charged for parking? Complimentary guest parking is located east of the Alumni Center.
  39. Do you have signage or other aids to direct guests to my wedding? Yes, at each entrance to the venue there is a sign holder with last name of the bride and groom along with the room name and floor level where the event is taking place.
  40. Do you like the people working at the venue? Come meet us to find out. The ISU Alumni Center events staff is experienced, professional, courteous, and LOVE what they do!

One thought on “Forty Frequently Asked Questions about Wedding Venues

  1. My cousin is getting married at the end of this year, but still hasn’t found a venue for it. I like your point about asking if there are any decoration limitations, like candles. I think asking this would be great for narrowing down his choices, so I’ll be sure to share this with him.

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