1. How soon can/should I book my wedding reception venue?
We accept bookings at any time! Typically The Veranda is booked for Saturday dates over 1 year in advance. So how soon you book really depends on how set you are on a certain date. If some date has sentimental value for you or you have a packed social calendar, I would suggest securing that date ASAP! The additional benefit to booking early – even if pricing goes up for a given year, yours is locked in at a lower rate!
2. Am I able to tentatively hold a date while I am researching wedding venues?
Yes! You can always tentatively put your name on a date at The Veranda. This is a BIG decision – and we know you don’t make it overnight. We want you to be sure of your choice to host your wedding with us. So while you are looking around you can let us know what date you would like to hold – no deposit required – just your contact information. Should another couple come along that wants to put a deposit down on your date we will contact you and give a week to come to a decision.
3. Who does the catering for your reception venue? Are they exclusive?
CK Catering is The Veranda’s exclusive catering company. Once you book The Veranda they are already secured for your wedding so you don’t have to worry about coordinating another vendor’s availability! We’re sure you will be blown away by CK’s fantastic menu, flexibility, and excellent customer service.
CK Catering will work with you to customize your menu if you want to add personal touches – or if you prefer to keep it simple – you can choose from one of their sample menus already put together! Pricing is on a per guest basis and will be dependent on your menu choices and style of service. CK believes in giving you up-front, inclusive pricing so each package comes with a host of included items like china, linens, wait staff, & cake cutting.
If you are looking for a direct quote on pricing please don’t hesitate to contact Bob Hollerbach, owner of CK Catering at:
You can also click on CK Catering’s link at the bottom of this page to visit their website!
4. How is the price of catering determined?
5. What bar service do you provide?
All Veranda weddings will have the benefit of our Hosted Bar Service! Hosted Bar works the following way: we provide the professionally trained bartenders via Lil’ Fox Bartending, we provide all needed glassware, and we provide the non-alcoholic accompaniments such as sodas, mixers, and garnishes. You provide the alcohol.
Please contact us for Hosted Bar Packages and Pricing!
6. What does the rental fee include?
Rental of The Veranda includes:
- Use of the entire outside facility including the garden patio
- Use of the indoor men’s and women’s restrooms
- Set up before the reception
- Clean up after the reception (does not include decor clean-up)
- Guest seating tables
- Bar tables
- Food tables
- Any tables for extra “stations” like gift tables, escort tables, or cake tables
- Eight high-top cocktail tables
- White resin padded chairs
- Use of our bridal suite for the entire day
- A Basic Package for Onsite Coordination
7. Are there additional fees that will come up throughout the course of my wedding event planning?
We, along with our partner vendors of CK Catering and Lil’ Fox Bartending, are very upfront about our pricing. We feel it’s best to include everything you need in package pricing format versus piecing everything together for costs that continue to climb and climb. With that said – there are a few costs that are not included in package pricing we give out. These include:
Event Insurance – required for all receptions
Tax – 6% in MI
Gratuity – at your discretion
And any premier rentals you might like – for example our oh-so-suave lounge furniture or use of our shuttle. We also offer Full Service Coordination Packages for an additional charge!
8. Who determines my floor plan for the wedding and sets it up?
Who determines my floor plan for the wedding? The easy answer – you do! We will work with you to create the set up you have envisioned. We can certainly give you tips for what works best with your guest count and style of dinner service etc. but when it comes down to it – you have the final say in how we will set up. Our crew will follow a computer generated floor plan that you have signed off on and will make sure The Veranda is set to those specifications on the day-of.
9. Are there any guest minimums or dollar amount minimums for wedding receptions?
The Veranda does have a minimum of 120 guests for Saturday events. Should you wish to host an event with us on a Saturday but don’t meet the minimum guest count you are certainly still welcome to book, you will just pay for 120 regardless of count.
Friday and Sunday events have no minimum requirements.
We also do not have any minimum dollar amounts that must be met in order to book with us.
10. How many hours is the wedding venue rental?
Each Veranda rental includes 6 hours use of the space. Receptions may begin as early as 4pm and must end no later than 11:30pm (with music ending at 11pm). Should you decide to use The Veranda for your ceremony additional time will be made available as part of that extra service. We do only book one event in The Veranda per day so we will be working on your wedding from 7am to the wee hours of the morning.
11. Can my ceremony be held in the same place as the wedding reception?
Yes! You can have the convenience of having your ceremony at the same location as your reception. This is an especially good idea if you have a lot of out of town guests who don’t know the area. Just get them to one location and they are good for the night!
Ceremonies can be held on our Garden Patio for up to 120 guests seated and more if some guests are standing. We will provide the chairs for the ceremony and set up/clean up of the site, well worth the AMAZING view of the lighthouse that would be the backdrop for your photos!
12. Is there somewhere for my wedding party to get ready?
Yes! We have an adorable Bridal Suite on the 7th floor of The Whitcomb that is yours to use for the day! (Grooms – it’s a touch girly so we’re guessing you’ll freely give use of the room to your Bride!)
You may pick the key up the morning of your wedding and use the room to get ready, store personal items, or even just take advantage of the private restroom. Food, drinks, hairstylists, etc. are more than welcome!
13. What are your policies on decorations?
The Veranda does not have a rigid policy on decorative items – this is another benefit of a stone facility: fire resistant! So, light those candles and hook up those twinkle lights – we love ‘em all!
We even make it easy for you to hang decor from the ceiling (a popular option) with wire guide wires and lighting support bars – feel free to be creative!
Crazy idea? Just try us – we’ll approve on a wedding by wedding basis.
14. What will we do if there is bad weather?
Panic!! Just kidding of course….
It’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day right? And we have back up plans so you need not stress about our lovely Michigan weather. The Veranda has drapes that run the perimeter and can be pulled closed in the event of inclement weather. The drapes fasten to both sides of the pillars so they aren’t flapping in the breeze during your wedding and the drapes along the lake side have windows so you still get that natural light and beautiful view!
The Veranda also provides the option to rent patio heaters if we are having chilly weather. So if the day of the wedding the temperature drops – we’ll make sure no one gets cold feet!
While we know it’s never anyones ideal situation to have weather to contend with, at least we are able to make you and your guests comfortable so they can still enjoy the celebration!
15. Is there parking for my guests?
There are three parking lots directly across the street from The Whitcomb. These lots are open to the public and free. There is also street parking surrounding The Veranda that is also free. Should it be a busy weekend downtown there are also other large lots that can be utilized within 2 blocks – which is the most your guest might have to walk. And walking downtown St. Joseph is sure to delight anyone who may have to meander through.
16. Where is The Veranda located?
Location is one of The Veranda’s best features! Aside from being located on top of a bluff overlooking beautiful Lake Michigan we are nestled right downtown the oh-so-charming city of St. Joseph. Within walking distance there are shops, hotels, restaurants, beaches, art galleries, museums, and more!
In the grander scheme of location:
If you are a Michigander – hold up that left hand – we are that funny bump that sticks out on the left side of your wrist. For non-Michiganders that equates to 90 miles east of Chicago, 75 miles south of Grand Rapids, and 3 hours west of Detroit.
17. Can you recommend local resources like hotels, vendors, restaurants, etc.?
Southwest Michigan has so much to offer couples hoping to get married in this area! We honestly believe we have some of the best wedding vendors located in our little community and we are more than happy to recommend them!
The majority of couples who host weddings at The Veranda are choosing this area as a “destination wedding” and could use some tips here and there – so just ask! We can make sure you have a copy of our Vendor Resource Guide to get you started.
18. What are your policies on music?
The Veranda allows both live bands and DJ’s to provide entertainment for your wedding. We have outlets available in multiple places throughout that is wired to support sound equipment.
Music must be turned off at 11pm due to city sound ordinance. If you are hosting your event on a Friday or Sunday we have music restrictions from 7:30pm-8:30pm due to city concerts at the Howard Band Shell located across the street. Events held on those days have the benefit of turning off their music and using the sweet sounds of the symphony to serenade guests during dinner!
19. What is the process for officially booking a date at the wedding venue?
Once you have officially decided you would like to host your wedding at The Veranda (yay!) we can begin the booking process. We will have you sign 3 Agreements: The Rental Agreement, The Hosted Bar Agreement, and CK Catering’s Agreement.
We also require a non-refundable deposit of half the rental fee + $500 towards your catering. The total amount will be dependent on the day of the week you choose. We accept cash, check and credit card for payment. All deposits are applied toward your final balance which is not due until 10 days before your wedding.
And that’s it – you will have officially set your wedding date!
20. Do you have an on-site coordinator to handle anything that comes up on the day of the wedding?
The Veranda offers a Basic Onsite Coordination Package for your wedding included in the rental. Our Super-Amazing Coordinator (that should be her actual job title!) will work with you to establish your room layout, reception timeline, offer planning tips and helpful local information as well as give you unlimited access and consultations to walk through details for your big day! She is available day-of to receive vendor deliveries, lead reception decor setup and will be at the Veranda onsite for the duration of your reception.
We also offer a variety of coordination packages for those looking for additional assistance. From booking local vendors to the details of event design, our Coordinator (still the super-amazing one!) will work with you to determine your needs and find the right services to fit your needs!