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FAQ's

General Questions

 

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?

Another question we get asked frequently is where to people stay. Although you won’t find these views in the heart of a major city there are many great accommodations nearby and we’ve found for our couples, where there’s a will - there’s a way. 

 

One of the ways to secure accommodations is by using our Accommodations Guide 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 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. 

What does set up & clean up look like?

Great question! Upon arrival at the venue, you'll find welcome & gift tables in the woodland waiting area and the benches and arbor of your choice set up at the ceremony location. You'll find the reception space set up according to the standard venue layout based on your confirmed total guest count. We have standard venue layouts for up to 50, up to 100 & up to 150. If you'd like to see what those options look like please email us directly. They are also readily available to all our booked couples through our online planning portal. Venue decorations will be available for you to use in the Waterfront Barn. Garbage cans/liners will be provided and ready as well.

Our rule of thumb is please leave it like you found it, if you brought it in please take it out. 

 

We require the services of a Wedding Coordinator from our approved vendor list to help you with the necessities of set up, coordination & clean up. We will have a Venue Liaison on site solely for security of the estate and to help answer questions you may have throughout the event. Set up (beyond the standard venue layout), coordination & clean up is the responsibility of the couple, their designated teams of friends/family members and their hired Wedding Coordinator from our approved list. Our Venue Liaison will provide garbage removal and deep cleaning at the end of the event. At the end of the night, any venue decorations need to be returned, personal belongings taken, any garbage from ceremony & reception areas placed in trash cans & linens piled on one table. 

We specifically chose the wedding coordinators on our approved vendor to help you with this piece of the puzzle so make sure to communicate with them about your desired level of help in this area as you do your research in choosing the best package they offer to fit your needs.

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 bride!

What about additional visits to the venue?

Absolutely! Once you've secured your wedding date with us, our couples are able to bring the wedding party members, family, planners, and Wedding Coordinator to the venue during our Open House Events held often in the months leading up to your wedding. This is a time for you to plan and finalize the details for your big day, show family that is in town or even take engagement photos! Reserve your time at our next Open House Event on our online reservation portal.  

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 accomodate 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. 

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 send us an email with the date you've decided on. We'll hold your day for 72 hours in which time we'll get your contract & online planning portal established. Your first payment of $1,000 & contract are then due within 10 days. Because our approved vendors tend to book up quickly, we do require confirmation of hire for the remaining required services 6 months prior to your event date (wedding coordinator, DJ, catering, bar service & event insurance). You can expect your second payment of 50% to be due four months after your contract date. 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 taking a hike with your love, in your wedding dress, to find the most intimate and epic photograph opportunities in the Pacific Northwest then this is for you! In addition to the acreage surrounding the estate, we are so blessed to be located across the road from over 350+ acres of pristine mountain peaks overlooking the river, meadow, fields and a year round creek surrounded by lush forest - all accessible to the community thanks to the Kalispel Tribe's Indian Creek Community Forest. Spend some time exploring to find your 'must have' photo spots in the months leading up to your event. Hire an adventurous photographer and add it right into your wedding day. See our Adventure Session FAQ page for more information. 

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 and liability 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. We strive for transparency and do require the following services:

  • A professional day-of-coordinator hired from our approved vendor list. We've made it easy and affordable to take the weight off your shoulders by hiring a trusted coordinator who knows our venue expectations.

    • Choices range from approximately $800-$2,500+

  • If you're planning on having alcohol, a professional bartending service is required from our approved vendors list. We have great options from pour service only, bar wagon/truck, full service and many others to choose from.

    • Choices range from approximately $250-$2500+ 

  • A professional DJ is required from our approved vendor list. 

    • Choices range from $50-$1,500+​

  • Your choice of caterer from our approved vendor list is required. 

    • Choices range from $10-$35+ per person ​

  • We do require a $1M event insurance policy with Grand Pend Oreille Weddings listed as additionally insured.

    • Approximately $220. This covers both our beloved couple and the parents of the couple (spoiler alert - most other insurance plans do not cover parents).

  • 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 & covered barn estate 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 150 people under cover with turnover from ceremony to reception. We highly encourage the reservation of the required tent style to be used as a rain back up plan (a 20'x60' marquee tent with water barrels for securing cables).  Umbrellas are always a great option as well for the ceremony. 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.

Why do you require a wedding coordinator?

Great question! Having been in the industry for almost a decade, we've have seen many weddings with and without a coordinator present. We've come to realize that the absolute best experiences, for both the couple and their guests, have come from weddings in which a professional coordinator was hired. Since we want to provide only the best experience possible we've adjusted our venue rental price so that our couples can take the weight of the world off their shoulders by hiring a trusted coordinator from our approved vendor list. These professionals know our venue, our expectations and work diligently with our couples to ensure the joy of this experience is not stolen by all the details that can so easily get in the way. You're in exceptional hands! 

 

Is there a play area for children? 

We offer plenty of open space for you to bring lawn games or family friendly activities. For safety reasons, all games and activities need to be approved prior to your wedding. 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.

Catering Questions

What are your catering options?

You'll find plenty of options on our approved catering list to fit your desired taste and budget. We do require hire of one of our approved caterers to help ensure the best experience for our brides & our venue. You can view our list of approved caterers by clicking here. 

What is your alcohol policy?

We are a beer, wine, champagne & one signature drink only venue. We do require the hire of one of our approved bar service vendors if you are planning on having alcohol. 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. You can view our list of approved bar service providers by clicking here. 

Do you have a kitchen / catering prep area? 

Yes! Located in the Waterfront Barn your vendors will find prep tables, a countertop, a sink, a commercial refrigerator and a chest freezer (full of ice for you to use - one less thing for you to remember to bring). 

Planning Questions

 

What is an Open House Event?

Our Open House events are so much fun! 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! Bring a picnic (or hire pop-up-picnic as a surprise!) & relive the moment together. 

To best serve you, your time must be reserved by going through our online reservation portal. 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. 

How will tables and chairs be arranged for my event?

Tables, chairs & linens will be set up according to the standard venue layout based on your confirmed total guest count. During your reserved time at our Open House Events you will be able to envision what you want your big day to look like. This is a great time for you to work with your chosen Wedding Coordinator to brainstorm ideas - they'll have great insight into what will work best for your style of event. Beyond the standard venue layout, your Wedding Coordinator (and chosen wedding party members) are responsible for set up, coordination, tear down & clean up so make sure to choose the best package they offer to fit your needs.

 

How do rehearsals work

Every Friday, Saturday & Sunday Experience comes with a designated on hour rehearsal the Thursday before your wedding day. Sunday weddings have a 4:00pm rehearsal start time. Saturday weddings have a 5:30pm rehearsal start time. Friday weddings have a 7:00pm rehearsal start time & can bring decorations to be stored overnight at the venue. 

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 9:30pm. 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 the morning of your wedding day.

How far in advance do you need a final head count?

We need these details three weeks prior to your wedding but make sure to consult with your Wedding Coordinator and catering vendors - they may have a different deadline. 

How do I obtain a marriage license? 

Click here  for all the information you need on obtaining a marriage license in Washington State. 

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 shoreline, dock, boardwalk & residential areas are for the couple only. For photo opportunities the couple, with their photograph team only, have access to the entire estate. Please let us know what areas you believe you'll want to utilize specifically that are outside of your ceremony and reception areas so that we can ensure it is completely ready for you! 

Can we come early to decorate?

We cannot allow anybody to access the property outside of their designated venue rental time frames. If you have your heart set on decorating the day before your wedding, you may be interested in booking a Friday Experience. All Friday Experiences can bring decorations to be stored overnight and can use part of the rehearsal time for set up. Having a professional coordinator & decorating team helps cut down on set up time dramatically - our couples find 10 hours is plenty of time to do it all on the big day. 

What is the event clean up process?  

Set up, coordination & clean up is the responsibility of the couple, their designated teams of friends/family members and their hired Wedding Coordinator from our approved list. Clean up includes stacking chairs, putting tables back to their original location, piling linens and removing any personal belongings. Our Venue Liaison will provide garbage removal and deep cleaning at the end of the event. Our rule of thumb is please leave it like you found it, if you brought it in please take it out. You will be working with your Wedding Coordinator to have a clearer idea of what this process looks like for your event. Any live floral arrangements left at the venue will be donated to a local company working hard to serve the community. 

Can we take photos on the dock?

This is a great question! The answer, is a bit tricky. Because the water level is constantly changing on the Pend Oreille River, we cannot guarantee the opportunity to take photos on the dock - however, the boardwalk will almost always be accessible (some of the best pics are taken there anyway).

 

Early spring runoff can often send the water levels soaring over the boardwalk so unless you want a brisk swim, that would not be the time for dock photos. Late May and June are usually the best time for a perfect water level because the delta we are situated on is usually completely covered with water and access to the dock from the boardwalk is good. Like clockwork every year, after July 4th the water level starts dropping rapidly. By August, the dock nearly sits on the delta itself making it difficult to go beyond the boardwalk for photos. While we make every effort to ensure you get the most incredible pictures, the dock is available for photos based on the water level. 

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