Your wedding venue will be one of the biggest single expenses you will make when planning your wedding. It will also be the first thing your guests see – even before they see you. So getting it right can be the difference between and amazing wedding and a disappointing wedding. So what questions should you be asking when you go and visit a venue?
We have listed 25 questions we think you should ask your wedding venue. Not all questions will apply to you, it will depend on the type of ceremony and reception you are planning.
How big is the venue and how many people can it accommodate. Make sure you have a good idea of the number of guests you are inviting. Think about when guests will be seated and also dancing space.
Is it exclusive or are any other weddings booked for that day?
Is having the venue for exclusive use important to you? If so this should be one of the first questions to ask. The last thing you want is to see is another wedding party’s guest loitering around on your day.
Do you have overnight accommodation?
If your venue is a good distance from where you live, maybe a good option is to stay overnight so you and your bridal party are all in the same place the morning of your wedding. Or maybe you and your new husband want to stay over in the honeymoon suite the night of your wedding before setting off on your honeymoon.
Are there available rooms for the bridal party to get ready on the day?
If your bridal party do not stay over at the venue the night before the wedding, are there rooms available for them to get ready when they arrive.
Do you have parking spaces?
How many of your guests will be driving, therefore needing parking spaces? If your venue is in a city centre location, the venue may be limited on parking spaces and you may have to think about alternatives like local car parks.
Do you have a civil ceremony licence?
If you are planning on having your wedding and reception under one roof you need to make sure your venue has a civil ceremony licence. If not, you will need to first get married somewhere that is registered e.g a registry office and arrange to hold your reception at the venue of your choice.
Can we decorate?
As beautiful as the wedding venue that you have found is, you may want to tweak things to make it personal and fit in with your theme. Make sure you know what you can and can’t do when it comes to decorating.
Do you have an onsite co-ordinator?
If so, what services are included and are they available on the day.
What will it cost us to have our wedding at your venue?
Some venues will have an all inclusive price. But what does that mean? Ask the venue to break down exactly what is included in that price and what are the charges for any extras or add ons.
How much deposit do you require to secure the venue?
Find out what the implications of putting down a deposit are. Is it refundable and can the balance be paid over a period of time.
How many hours do we have the venue for?
Some venues will allow you “set up” and “take down” time to decorate and clean up outside of your actual reception time. Be aware of the rules that apply to your venue.
Can I bring in outside caterers, suppliers etc or do I have to use your recommended suppliers?
Depending on the venue, they may have their own kitchen and caterers or suppliers that they prefer to use. If you specifically have suppliers that you want to work with, then this will be something you need to take into consideration when choosing your venue.
What kitchen facilities are available for my own caterers?
If your venue does allow outside caterers, be sure that the kitchen facilities available are adequate for a professional wedding catering company to come in and use. Discuss this with your caterers before visiting the venue so you know what you are looking for.
Rules and policies on menu tasting
Does your venue offer a complimentary tasting session. How many people are allowed to attend, and is this a group tasting with other couples.
What are the wine options?
Can we sample the wines and are there any possible upgrades.
Do you accommodate special dietary requirements?
You love the menu, but you know some of your guests have special dietary requirements. Will the venues caterers be able to accommodate these requirements and will there be an extra cost.
Are tables, linens, glassware etc available?
Does the venue supply linens, glassware etc and if so at what cost. If not, do they have any recommended suppliers.
Is there any outside space available?
Find out if you will have access to any outside space on the day and where you and your guests are allowed to go. This will also give you a chance to look around and think about where you would like some of your photographs taken.
How many bathrooms are available?
The last thing we all want to see are ridiculous queues for the bathroom when we have had a couple of drinks. If you are inviting a large number of guests to your reception this may be something you want to think about.
Do you have easy access for disabled or elderly guests?
In all the excitement of arranging your wedding, it can be easy to overlook how some of your guests will get around. If you do have elderly or disabled guests attending, find out how your venue caters to making their experience as memorable (for the right reasons) as yours.
Are there any restrictions on music?
The two main pieces of information you need to get from your venue are: do you have sound limiters fitted and what are the maximum decibels allowed. This is most important if you are planning on having a live band. Discuss the numbers with your prospective DJ or band as they should have experience of dealing with these restrictions.
What time can we get access to the venue?
If you have booked rooms for your bridal party to get ready for the ceremony, be aware of the check in time so everyone knows where to be and when.
Are we allowed to bring our own alcohol and is there a corkage fee?
If you want to bring your own alcohol the corkage fee can be a pain to have to pay but there are a lot of venues that do not charge. Before making a decision, hear your venue out on what alcohol packages they offer because some of them have very good deals.
What do we need to do to secure our date?
You have viewed the wedding venue, they have your date available and you have fallen in love with it. So what happens next? Make sure you are clear on what steps you need to take to secure the venue. The last thing you want is to phone them a few weeks later to find that your date has been filled.
What is your cancellation policy?
Make sure you know the terms of the venues’ cancellation policy and what financial penalties this may bring.
Get it in writing.
If you really love the venue and want to add it to your shortlist, get it in writing. Ask your venue to email you with the details, prices and any special offers that have been discussed. Make sure it also includes when the price they have quoted you expires. Don’t be afraid to contact your venue to talk about anything you thought should be in the contract that isn’t. Once all the details are finalised, get them to send it to you in an email. Read the small print. I know it’s tedious, but it will put your mind at rest that everything you want for your special day is being included.