Booking a venue is one of the first & foremost tasks for any newly engaged couple. The key to finding the perfect venue, is knowing what questions to ask when you go on a site tour. Asking the right questions will minimize the number of surprises you get during the planning process. Below is a list of questions I have complied which I believe are most important when visiting a potential wedding venue.
1. Is there a price difference between weekends and weekdays?
o If the day or the week is irrelevant to you, this could be a great way to save some money!
2. How much is the deposit and when is the final payment due?
o Every venue is different. It is important to know how much money you need to put down to secure the date as deposits are usually non-refundable.
3. What is the payment structure?
o Some venues have structured payment plans and others just require the lump sum a certain amount of days or months before your wedding. Finding this out will keep you organized in your payment plans for all vendors.
4. Does the total price include tax and gratuity?
o Not all venues include tax and gratuity into the price – make sure you confirm this before booking as it can dramatically increase the final cost.
5. What is the cancellation policy?
o The unexpected can happen. Be sure you are aware of the cancellation fee and what the penalties are.
6. Do you have other couples looking at my date? How soon can I reserve?
o Venues can book up fast and you don’t want to lose your preferred date.
7. What happens if we have to change our wedding date?
o Additional fees may be incurred if you need to change your date – get all of the information.
8. What is the capacity of the venue?
o Your guest list can increase quickly, make sure you don’t exceed the limit!
9. Do you have an on-site manager for the wedding day?
o It is important to inquire what the on-site manager helps with on the wedding day. Most coordinators are not a substitute for a wedding planner.
10. Do you have a preferred vendor list?
o Most venues have a list of preferred vendors they work with. If you aren’t familiar with the area, this can be a great way to discover trusted, reputable vendors.
11. Are we able to hire vendors that aren’t on the preferred list?
o Not all venues allow for outside vendors, so be sure to ask if there are any restrictions.
12. Do you have sound equipment we can rent?
o If a DJ or band isn’t in your budget, ask the venue if they have a sound system available to use – sometimes at no extra charge!
13. If outside, what is the backup plan if it rains?
o Always ask to see what the backup locations look like and if there even are any. If you are planning an outdoor wedding, back up locations and/or tents are a must have. Make sure to ask if the location has any restrictions for tent set up.
14. Are there any décor restrictions? (ex. Candles with a real flame)
o Some venues have restrictions on what you can and can’t use for décor. Ask now to avoid surprises down the road.
15. Do you have décor we can use?
o Items such as table numbers, candles, runners, etc may be available to rent or may even be free to use for the day – it doesn’t hurt to ask your venue if they have any décor available!
16. Does your staff handle décor clean-up?
o Get a clear picture on what the venue staff do. Some venues are more than willing to help with décor set up, and others not so much.
17. What is the earliest time we would have access to the spaces on the wedding day?
o This will affect your entire wedding day schedule. Be sure that you can access your space ahead of time in order to accommodate for your décor set up.
18. Are there rooms to get ready in?
o Where you get ready on your wedding day can have a great impact on the timeline -ask your venue if they have any bridal suites for you and your bridesmaids to get ready in!
19. Is there a food and beverage minimum?
o This is an important question to ask especially if you have a smaller group. You may have to spend way more than expected in order to reach that F&B minimum.
20. Is there a cake cutting fee?
o Most venues charge a cake cutting fee if the cake is not provided by their kitchen. This can add up in price if you have a large group.
21. Are we allowed outside liquor? If so, what is the corkage fee?
o Some venues allow outside liquor when charging a corkage fee. If your favorite bottle of wine isn’t on their menu, there may be a significant cost to bring it in. Alternatively, some venues may even be able to order your desired alcohol, if you give them enough notice, which is a great way to avoid the corkage fee!
22. Is the site handicap accessible?
o If you have any handicapped guests or family members, you will need to ensure that there is accessibility in all areas of the wedding.
23. What are the noise restrictions and when does the event end?
o If you and your guests are night owls, this question should be at the top of your list! Avoid having to arrange after-party plans by choosing a reception venue that can have you partying into the night
24. Are we allowed on-site for a ceremony rehearsal?
o Always make sure that you are allowed on-site at least a day or two before the wedding to do a quick walk-through/rehearsal.
25. When are all of the final decisions to be made? (food, alcohol, layout, headcount, etc)
o All venues/vendors have deadlines – make sure that those deadlines are clear by getting exact dates for when decisions and payments are to be made.
26. Do you host multiple weddings on the same day?
o Make sure the venue doesn’t do more than 1 wedding per day as this can cause confusion and disruption between both wedding celebrations.
Before visiting a potential wedding venue, have your list of questions prepared so you can feel comfortable in making an informed decision. Asking these questions will help you find the venue that’s perfect for your style, guests, and budget.