FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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How do you pronounce Pend Oreille?
C'est une excellente question! Pend Oreille is French and it's pronounced Pon-der-ay. It means 'ear-loop'. When the French first explored this area they found the Pend Oreille Lake forms the shape of an ear. The Pend Oreille River starts at Pend Oreille Lake in Sandpoint, Idaho and flows North into Canada where it joins the Columbia River. Ok, enough with history lesson - we just love this area! ;)
Where does everybody stay?
Although you won’t find these views in the heart of a major city there are many great accommodations nearby. One of the ways to secure accommodations is by using our Accommodations Guide (given exclusively to our booked couples) and sharing that link with your guests when you send out your invitations. This gives them a direct resource to book accommodations early because things do tend to fill up quickly around here in the summertime.
Another way to help facilitate guest accommodations is to arrange a room block (discounted rates - yay!) at a local hotel or resort in Spokane, Coeur D’Alene or Sandpoint. You’ll find many of them provide airport transportation services so it’s a great option if you’re expecting a lot of out of town guests. With everybody in one place it’s easy and convenient to secure round trip ground transportation to and from the venue via shuttle, party bus, limo or even charter bus depending on your guest count. There are so many amazing types of ground transportation anymore it’s really fun to look at the possibilities of incorporating this into your wedding day. This also makes for a great way to provide an after party destination depending on the types of restaurants and amenities the hotel or resort has. It’s a great way to continue the celebration and help make sure guests get back safely.
What is your maximum capacity?
We can accommodate up to 150 guests, including the wedding party members.
Will there be another wedding the same day?
You've been waiting your entire life for this day, we work extremely hard to make sure you don't have to share it with another couple!
What about additional visits to the venue?
Absolutely! Once your wedding date is secured with us, you're able to attend as many Open House Events as you'd like.This is a time reserved for our booked couples to plan and finalize the details for your big day, show family that is in town or even take engagement photos!
Do you allow dogs?
We understand the love you, your family and friends may have for furry friends - we have a few of our own! As much as we'd love to welcome every dog we can, we are only able to accommodate service animals & ring bearer dogs at the venue. Service dogs are welcome as long as they remain on a leash. Prior approval is required & breed restrictions do apply for ring bearer dog's - they must also remain on a leash while at the venue. You'll also need to bring a designated shelter/place for them to rest, eat & stay hydrated. Please come prepared with disposable doggie bags and keep a watchful eye to maintain cleanliness of the venue.
Do you have wildlife?
Absolutely! Being on over 1000' of waterfront surrounded by millions of acres of national forest gives us an incredible view point for local wildlife. Deer frequently visit the venue, eagles will often photo bomb the ceremony & the blue herons are there to bring a sense of majestic beauty to your day. If you're wondering about more pesky wildlife... ie: bats... we do our best to control the bat populations with professional means & bat boxes throughout the venue. They are an endangered species & help keep the mosquitos at bay so we have a love - hate relationship with them. We do our best to ensure their distance from the ceremony & reception spaces but it is something to be aware of.
How does your booking process work?
Are we the one? Yay! Let's make it official. Once you've decided to give us the honor of hosting your wedding, simply complete the book now form. We'll hold your day for 24 hours in which time we'll get your contract & online planning portal established. Your first payment of $1,000 & contract are then due within 3 business days of receiving the contract (because when you know, you know). Vendors tend to book up quickly so we do require confirmation of hire for the remaining required services 4 months prior to your event date (bar service, professional catering & event insurance). You can expect your second payment due in between the first and final payment. Your final payment is due six months prior to the date of your event. We also reserve the right to hold a credit card on file for any damages to the facility or grounds.
What is an Adventure Session?
If you've always dreamed of twirling in your dress at the top of an epic mountain range, taking to the sky for your grand exit or exploring the water by boat on your wedding day then this is for you! Contact our concierge for more information on all the adventure session destinations available to you. With over 1000' waterfront access and millions of acres of National Forest Service to explore, your options are pretty limitless!
If we have to cancel, can we get a refund?
We get it, life as we know it hasn't been so predictable these last couple years. Though we understand there are many variables that may require a cancelation, we also have to keep in mind the reality of the likelihood of rebooking a canceled date. Since we want to be here to serve couples long into the future, we are happy to work with you to reschedule your event to a later date if for any reason you need to cancel. The amount paid up to that point will be applied to an available future booking date of your choice at the new date's price or forfeited without a future booking. If we are able to re-book your date once you choose to release it, you can expect a partial refund. We highly encourage the purchase of cancelation insurance for your event to help cover this and many other 'what-if' scenarios.
Do you have any hidden fees or up-sells?
We understand that planning a wedding has many unknown, ever changing and often expensive variables - we want to make sure that we are not one of those. Our hope is that you can consider us the firm foundation in which you can build your dream wedding and budget upon. Because we strive for utmost transparency we always let our prospective couples know that we do require the following:
A $1M event insurance policy with Grand Pend Oreille Weddings listed as additionally insured (approximately $250)
The hire of an approved Washington State licensed bartender if having alcohol (options starting at $250)
The hire of a professional catering service (licensed & insured - options typically starting at $16 pp).
We also reserve the right the hold a credit card on file for any damages done to the facility or grounds.
How many cars can your parking lot accommodate?
We can comfortably accommodate up to 100 cars in our parking lot, with some overflow parking.
What happens in case of rain?
In the great PNW there can be rain, snow, hail & sun all within a few minutes right so it is important to know that we are an outdoor ceremony & covered reception style venue. Although the summer months tend to be on the dry side, rain is definitely still something to be prepared for. Our Waterfront Barn can accommodate up to 100 people for the ceremony under cover with a slight turnover to reception. Keep in mind, we typically only go this route for dangerous weather (lighting/thunder/extreme wind). In case of rain, we provide clear umbrellas and hand towels for guest use. For groups over 100, we highly encourage the reservation of the required tent style to be used as a rain back up plan to give you more covered space for the ceremony and/or reception. We'd be more than happy to discuss the different rain plan options with you and if you have more questions please don't hesitate to reach out.
Do you require a wedding coordinator?
Great question! Though we HIGHLY encourage a professional day of coordinator (you'll even get a discount for hiring a pre-approved pro with the Traditional Experience!) we understand the budget needs of today's couples. If you choose not to hire a professional day of coordinator from our approved list or otherwise, you'll need to choose a highly organized & assertive family member or friend to be your designated rehearsal & day of coordinator (it CANNOT be moms/dads/wedding party members/those with small children). This is a HUGE job with the potential to make or break your big day. About two weeks prior to the wedding we'll have a video chat with you both & your chosen coordinator to go over final details & preparations for the day.
Is there a play area for children?
We offer plenty of open space for you to bring lawn games or family friendly activities. Because the venue is located on the shores of a river, it is very important that all children be very well supervised at all times. Though the river may seem slow moving from the shore, the current is quite quick. Children and guests are required to stay in the designated ceremony and reception areas. The shoreline and dock areas are for photograph opportunities for the couple only.
Can we take engagement photos at the venue?
Absolutely! Once you've booked your wedding with us, you can plan an engagement photo session during one of your reserved times at our Open House Events.
What are your catering options?
You're welcome to bring in any professional catering of your choice (licensed & insured). Our Favorite Vendors list has many incredible options to fit any desired taste and budget (access to our Favorite Vendors list is reserved for booked couples).
Can we bring our own cake/dessert or does it have to be provided by a professional too?
You are more than welcome to bring your own cake/dessert options. Helpful hint... don't forget to designate somebody to cut the cake if your caterer doesn't provide this service & make sure to plan for plates/utensils.
What is your alcohol policy?
We are a no hard alcohol venue - this includes signature drinks/cocktails. Beer, wine, champagne, seltzers & ciders are welcome! We do require the hire of a certified bartender/service vendor to serve if you are planning on having alcohol (cannot be friend/family member). Self serve is not permitted at the venue. Whether you want a full service vendor, bar wagon/truck or pour service only we have plenty of options to choose from to meet your needs. Our Favorite Vendors list is always growing!
Do you have a catering prep area?
Yes! Located in the Waterfront Barn you will find prep tables, a countertop, a sink, a commercial refrigerator and a chest freezer.
What is an Open House Event?
We love connecting with our couples & their loved ones! These events are scheduled in advance in the months leading up to your event so make sure to plan ahead. This gives you an opportunity to come visit for any of the following reasons:
Bringing a photographer for an engagement photo shoot.
Brainstorming layouts and decorations with your Wedding Coordinator.
Bringing family and friends to view the venue.
Bringing a picnic for some much deserved 'us' time to relax and rejuvenate.
Celebrate your anniversary on the shores where it all happened!
Once you've booked with us, you can attend as many Open House Events as you'd like. Our team will be on-site ready to assist you and answer any questions throughout your visit. This gives you numerous opportunities to visit the venue prior to your wedding to make sure you feel confident about all the little details of the big day. And even more opportunities to capture these landscapes for family photos for years to come!
Do you have a standard venue layout?
Excellent question, we sure do! Throughout the planning process you'll have access to multiple planning resources through our planning portal including our standard reception layout, venue tips, favorite vendor list and many other helpful planning tools.
How does rehearsal work?
Every Traditional Experience receives a 2 hour rehearsal the Friday before the wedding. Micro Experiences can reserve a time at an Open House Event or do a quick walkthrough during your designated venue rental time the day of. We always encourage you to wait for the day of to decorate because we do have wildlife and they can be very curious creatures (especially with pompous grass!).
What time does the music need to end?
As much as we'd love to let you party all night long, per our County ordinance and out of respect for our neighbors, music has to end at 9:00pm. This is also a perfect time to start the clean up process to ensure all guests, family, wedding party members, and vendors are ready to leave the venue at the appropriate time.
If we are using a rental company, can they get access to the property before or after our reserved time?
Your rental time frame is reserved for you and your vendors. We cannot allow anybody to access the property outside of their designated venue rental time frames. The ONLY exception to this is if you have rented a tent for a rain plan. Because it can take up to 5 hours to set the tent up, we do allow the tent vendor to come in early.
How far in advance do you need a final head count?
We need these details two weeks prior to your wedding.
How do I obtain a marriage license?
Set Up and Day-Of Questions
Do we have access to all areas on the property?
Guests have access to the ceremony & reception locations only - the private shoreline & boardwalk are for the couple only. Private Residential areas are restricted and are clearly marked.
Can we come early to decorate?
We cannot allow anybody to access the property outside of their designated venue rental time frames. There is plenty of time to get everything decorated and prepped within the 12 hour timeframe.
What is the event set up process?
Upon arrival you'll find the Barn set up in our standard reception layout based upon your total confirmed guest count. Ceremony benches/seating will be set & cleaned and your choice of arbor placed accordingly.
What is the event clean up process?
Our rule of thumb is please leave it like you found it, if you brought it in please take it out.
Can we take photos on the dock?
This is a great question! The answer, is a bit tricky. As long as the water levels allow, you're always granted access to the private shoreline & boardwalk. The dock itself (beyond the ramp) is reserved for sea plane & boat departures.
Spring runoff (typically April-May) can often send the water levels soaring over the boardwalk so unless you want a brisk swim, that would not be the time for boardwalk photos. While we make effort to ensure you get the most incredible pictures, the private shoreline & boardwalk are available for photos based on the water level.