Finding a venue is one of the most important parts of planning your wedding. While of course you want a beautiful venue, you have to make sure it’s functional for what you want for your big day! We’ve compiled 101 potential questions to ask your venue!

Tip: Create a list of all your questions (or take this one!) to your venue tour. You’ll also want to bring along a notebook or something to jot down all your notes.

General

What are your wedding packages and what is included?

What is the venue’s capacity?

Tip: This directly relates to your guest list and budget. If your guest list is larger than the capacity, you’ll need to cut the list or find a different venue. On the flip side, if your guest is list is much smaller than capacity, it may make the reception area look empty.

What rooms are included? Bridal party rooms, bathrooms, cocktail area, and coatroom? How long do we have access to these rooms?

Tip: If you’re having an adults-only wedding and providing a babysitter, you’ll want to ask if there’s a separate room for the children.

Is there a designated smoking area?

Is an outdoor area included for a cocktail reception?

Is the room accessible for disabled guests?

Is there a secure area to store the wedding gifts? Do you assist with getting them to a designated car or hotel room after the wedding?

Who will be our point of contact as we plan our wedding and who will be our point of contact on our wedding day? Tip: Meet with this person (or people) before you sign the contract. Make sure you feel comfortable working with them.

Does the venue have its own insurance coverage? What are the insurance requirements for us and our vendors?

How many restrooms are there?

Tip: You want at least 2 restrooms per 50 people.

What security services do you offer?

Tip: You should have 2 security guards for the first 100 guests and 1 more for every additional 100 guests.

What’s your outdoor space like? What is the backup plan for rain or inclement weather?

Tip: Make sure to look at this space too! Since weather is unpredictable, you want to love your Plan B as much as your Plan A.

Do you provide heaters and/or umbrellas for the outdoor spaces?

How many weddings do you allow within a day?

What’s your electricity like?

Tip: You want to get an idea of this to make sure the venue has enough outlets and power for your vendors. Also take note of where the outlets are to get an idea of where the DJ or Band can set up.

Availability

Is the venue available on my target date?

Tip: It’s best to visit venues before you’ve chosen an exact date. If you have a variety of dates, it’ll make finding a venue much easier!

How far in advance can I reserve my date?

How many hours are included in the rental of the space? Is there an additional charge for extra hours and how much is it?

When is the last possible date to make changes to our reservation?

Tip: If there’s a chance you may need to change your date, find out when you can do that without incurring a fee!

Costs

What is your deposit/cancellation/refund policy?

Tip: Just like any other contract you may sign, you want to understand these policies before signing on the dotted line.

What’s the payment plan for the entire bill? What forms of payment do you accept?

What are the rates for different days of the week and seasons?

Tip: Many venues have a “peak” season where pricing will be higher. You can also save money by having your wedding on a different day than Saturday.

What will be the total cost? Does that include service charges, cleaning fees and gratuity or will those be charged separately?

Tip: You may see “++” on certain items on the bill. This means that you will be paying tax and gratuity on top of the listed cost.

Set Up

What does a typical layout of the room on the wedding day look like?

How many people can sit at one table?

Are there booster seats or high chairs available for children?

Can we come back and see it set up for another wedding?

Ceremony

Can you accommodate the ceremony and is there an additional fee?

Will the ceremony and reception be held in the same room or separate rooms?

If the same room, what can be expected for set up and take down to switch from the ceremony to reception and how long will it take?

Does the venue provide seating for the ceremony? Is there an additional fee?

Are we able to have a rehearsal and rehearsal dinner here?

Are there any restrictions on decorations for the ceremony?

Food

Do you have an in-house caterer? If so, are food and beverages included in the venue rental fee?

Tip: Venues that include the food in the venue rental fee can save you money, but make sure you’re happy with the food before you book!

What are the different ways the venue serves food?

How many choices can you offer the guests? Do you accommodate special diets?

Are drinks provided with the meal?

Can you arrange for a tasting? Does it cost extra?

Is there a food and beverage minimum? What are the consequences if we don’t meet it?

Tip: Many in-house caterers will often have a food and beverage minimum, which is essentially a minimum amount that you need to spend. You’ll want to find out what happens if you don’t spend the minimum or what you can add on to meet the minimum.

Can I choose my own caterer? Will there be a kitchen available for them to use?

What’s the tax and service charge?

Alcohol

What drinks are included in the pricing? Is it a cash bar or an open bar?

How is alcohol priced, and is there a bar minimum?

Are you licensed to provide alcohol service?

Tip: Some venues (like wineries) aren’t licensed to serve hard alcohol. Some may allow you to bring in an outside beverage catering company, but others may not all hard alcohol at all.

Can we bring our own wine, beer or liquor or do we have to purchase it through you? If we bring our own, is there a corkage fee and how much is it?

Tip: Most venues offer the option of purchasing liquor directly through them which can be convenient, but comes with a large markup. If you’re able to bring your own liquor, you may be able to save some money.

Do you hire the bartenders and is there a charge per bartender?

Do you charge for unopened bottles after the reception?

Can wine be given as a party favor?

Cake

Can I bring in a cake from an outside baker or do I have to use a cake made on-site?

Tip: Some venues are all inclusive and will include the cake in the venue cost.

Is there a cake-cutting fee? If I use a cake made on-site is the fee waived?

Tip: Sometimes if you ask if a family member or friend can cut your cake, they’ll waive the fee for you.

Do you provide a place for the cake?

Do you provide a cutting knife?

Decorations

What decorations does the venue provide? Do they have an inventory of décor that we can borrow from? Can we bring in our own decorations?

Are there any décor restrictions? Can I move things around or do I have to leave everything as is?

Tip: Ask about if and where things can be hung, if you can use candles with an open flame or if you need use LED candles.

Are tables, linens, chairs, plates, silverware and glassware provided, or will I have to rent them or get them through my caterer?

What do you use for table settings?

Do we have to provide our own place cards?

When can we start decorating?

Do you have signs or other aids to direct guests to my event?

Overnight Accommodations

Are there overnight accommodations or do you partner with local hotels?

Tip: Look at close the hotels are to the venue. The distance may impact your decision on booking the venue. If it’s over 30 minutes away, that may too much to ask of your guests; especially if there’s lots of drinking!

Is there a discount for booking multiple rooms or a complimentary room or upgrade for the newlyweds? What are the rates?

Tip: Some venues have partnerships with local hotels that offer a discount if you book a block of rooms.

Parking & Transportation

Is parking available on-site? How much space is there? Will guests be charged for parking?

Tip: Sometimes parking is included in the venue fee, but sometimes it isn’t. If it isn’t included, you want to know how much parking is ahead of time to let your guests know.

Is there valet?

Are there other events happening that day that will affect availability of parking for my guests?

Is public transportation an option?

Tip: If the venue does not have overnight accommodations, you’ll want to know if there are cabs, Uber or Lyft available for guests to get back safely after drinking.

If a shuttle service is needed, can you assist with setting it up?

What is the walking/driving distance from the ceremony location?

Tip: Also ask what the traffic is like around the time of your wedding, this will help you plan your timeline for the day of.

Vendors

Do we have to use your approved vendors? If not, are there limitations or guidelines on what vendors we can bring in?

Tip: If there are no vendor restrictions, ask them if there are any they highly recommend? A vendor that is familiar with your venue will help the day run even smoother!

What time can my vendors start setting up on the day of the wedding?

Tip: If your venue does not have multiple events per weekend, ask if they can start the setup the day before.

Do you offer on-site coordination? What services are included?

Entertainment

Can we bring in a band or DJ?

Do you have your own sound equipment, speakers and microphones?

How many people does the dance floor accommodate?

What time do you allow music to play until?

Tip: If you want to party late until the night, but music must end at 10 PM, this may not be the venue for you!

Photography

Are there any photograph or video restrictions?

What suggestions do you have for locations to photograph?

Do you have photographs to show us of other receptions?

 

Lastly, our most important tip! Make sure you read the entire contract before you sign it!