Choosing a wedding venue takes time, researching, planning, and even visits to each venue. Touring venues gives you an opportunity to get a sense of the space as well as ask questions. Since booking a venue is such a crucial part of planning a wedding, there are a number of things to consider from availability to smaller details, like food and drink. That’s why many couples come up with questions to ask a wedding venue when they go on a tour.
Worried you’ll forget about something when venue booking? Well, there’s no need to be concerned! Here is a list of important questions to ask your wedding venue before booking which covers all your bases, from accommodations to prices and even decor. Use our list if you’re not sure which questions to ask!
Availability and Accommodations
What dates is this venue available?
It’s clearly essential that your venue is available on the day of your wedding. Before setting a date and sending out invitations, confirm your planned date with the venue. If you’re booking a popular venue, you might need to be a little more flexible with dates. Ask about a waitlist if your top venue is fully booked.
When can I book the venue?
You should book your venue nine months to a year ahead of your wedding day, but it’s a good idea to ask your venue if there’s a set date you need to book by.
How many wedding guests can you accommodate?
Your wedding venue might affect how many guests you invite. Before you plan your guest list, make sure you know the maximum occupancy of your venue.
Can I host both the ceremony and the reception here?
By hosting the ceremony and reception at the same venue, there’s a chance you can save on your bookings. This also makes transportation for guests easier, so if you love the location, consider having your wedding all in one place.
Do you have more than one wedding per day?
This is a consideration that’s overlooked, but it’s an important factor to think about. Having more than one wedding in the same place can cause some confusion for guests, and it’s likely you would want the space to yourself.
How many bathrooms are available?
Make sure that there are enough bathrooms for all of your guests.
How much parking space do you have?
Again, this is a factor that’s important for your guests. In addition, you can ask about other parking services, for example, whether a valet service can be provided. If there isn’t enough parking, you’ll need a backup plan for the extra vehicles.
Is there air conditioning or heating?
If you have a wedding on a sweltering summer day or a frigid winter one, you’re going to want air conditioning or heating. Air conditioning and heating will make the wedding celebrations far more comfortable for you and your guests.
Do you offer coat check?
If your wedding takes place during a colder season and you don’t want guests’ coats strewn across your beautifully decorated wedding reception, ask your wedding venue if they can provide a coat check.
Prices and Payment
What’s the total cost for the venue?
When searching for the perfect wedding venue, cost is one of the most important things to consider. Does the venue fit into your budget? This is one of the first questions to ask any wedding venues.
Does the total cost include service fees, tips, etc.?
If the total price doesn’t include service fees, tips, or other costs, then plan for them accordingly in your budget. If these additional costs make the venue significantly more expensive, another venue could be a better and more affordable option.
How much is the deposit? When is it due?
Stay on top of your payments and deposits! Learn when all your payments are due to ensure that everything is paid on time.
What options do you have for payment plans?
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of finding your dream wedding venue. Before finalizing the booking, be sure you understand what the plan for paying the venue is.
What’s your cancellation policy? Will I receive a refund?
Worse comes to worst, in some situations, you’ll need to change or cancel your venue booking. Inquire about deadlines for cancellations and whether you’ll receive a refund. Depending on what could change during the planning process, be careful about booking a venue that refuses to give any sort of refund or has an unfair cancellation policy. Many couples had to deal with these issues when postponing their weddings due to COVID-19.
How long do we have the space? What’s the fee if we stay longer than expected?
You’ll want to know how many hours the fee covers and what to expect if you and your guests are just having too much fun to leave. Be sure to include this on your list of questions to ask. The average wedding reception lasts between 4 and 6 hours.
Is there wedding insurance?
You may also want to ask if there are fees for liability insurance coverage. Some couples buy wedding insurance to cover on-site liabilities, but most established venues should have their own liability insurance coverage in place.
Venues may offer insurance for their own wedding vendors. Wedding insurance can also cover issues with the venue itself. If there are unforeseen circumstances, wedding insurance can be a lifesaver.
Are there approved vendors for this venue?
Some venues have a list of approved wedding vendors for receptions and will not allow you to bring in your own. If this is the case and you already have vendors lined up, you’ll need to find a new venue. This is also another reason why booking a venue should be your first step in wedding planning.
Can I hire my own vendors?
If you have specific people or companies in mind for photography, catering, or other services, confirm that you can bring your own vendors into the wedding venue before booking it. Some venues have on-site staff for things like lighting and audio-visual needs, but at other venues you may need to hire an event production company to handle those elements.
Food and Drinks
Do you provide an in-house caterer?
Venues, especially at hotels, event centers, and banquet halls, often have their own caterers and menus. More unusual wedding venues, like barns and orchards, are less likely to provide wedding caterers.
Can I hire another caterer?
If you have another caterer in mind, ask if you can hire someone outside the venue. There are also alternatives to a sit-down dinner reception, so if you would prefer a buffet or even a food truck, ask about those options before you book your wedding venue.
Do you have a minimum for food and drinks?
This is the minimum amount for food and drinks the venue requires you to spend. To meet a minimum, there’s a possibility you need to stretch your budget, or you can see if the venue is willing to waive the minimum.
Is there an opportunity for tasting before finalizing the menu?
If there’s a caterer and food options from the venue, you might want to sample dishes before serving them at your wedding to pick your favorites. As with other services, there could be price tag for tasting. However, it might be worth it to taste so you enjoy all the dishes at your wedding.
Is there a fee for cake-cutting?
To motivate you to choose in-house bakers, venues might charge a fee to cut your wedding cake. If the venue allows you to have someone else cut the cake, consider asking your family and friends to do this to avoid additional fees.
Do you provide alcohol? Are there any limitations to the alcohol you provide?
Depending on the type of license your venue has, they may only be allowed to serve wine and beer, no hard liquor. If your ideal cocktail hour features a signature mixed drink, it will be important to serve the liquor of your choice.
Do you have an open or cash bar?
While your guests will prefer an open bar, ask what the costs of an open bar are when compared to a cash bar. With an open bar, you can only provide drinks as basic as wine and beer at some venues. Adding a specialty cocktail adds some flair and personality to the drink menu.
Can I bring my own alcohol? Are there any fees associated with it?
Venues can markup alcoholic beverages, so there’s definitely advantages to bringing your own for cocktail hour and the rest of the evening. However, if you bring your own liquor, there might be a corkage fee. Look at all your options when it comes to food and drink to see what works best for your wedding day.
Who is the person to contact for planning and the day of the wedding?
Since planning a wedding is such a monumental task, you’ll need some help to keep things running smoothly. While touring a venue, you might even be able to meet your contact person if you ask.
Does your staff help with setting and cleaning up? Is there an extra fee?
Setting up and cleaning up decor, chairs, tables, and more takes the help of many people. The venue’s staff can assist you, but you should ask how many staff members are able to set up or clean up and how much it will cost to hire them. Some venues may have commercial cleaning services included in package, although it often comes with an added fee.
Do you have tents or coverings for outdoor space?
Even if it’s a beautiful summer or fall day, some protection from the elements is never a downside. Although you can rent tents from a separate company, it’s much more convenient if the venue can rent them to you directly.
What happens if it rains?
Especially if your wedding is outside, you’ll need a backup plan if it rains. Ask if there’s an indoor space where you can move the ceremony or reception if the weather becomes an issue.
Do you provide any decor or decor services?
Some venues already have decorations and decor you can use. Their decor will already match the venue, but if you have a vision for what your wedding is going to look like, ask if you can bring in your own decorator.
Are there are decor restrictions?
Candles create a lovely and romantic ambiance, but not all venues want open flames. Before committing to any decor ideas, find out if there are specific limitations to how you can decorate the venue’s space.
When can I start decorating and setting up?
When it comes to your big day, you’ll want all the time you can get to make things look picture perfect. Before the ceremony and reception begins, figure out how early you can arrive to put up decor.
Is there enough room for a live band?
This is one of the most important questions to ask your wedding venue if you have your heart set on live music. Bands take up more space than a DJ, so if you have your heart set on your favorite band playing, there needs to be enough space inside the venue. If you’re still debating the band vs. DJ question, be sure to ask your venue about space. Keep in mind that you also need room for a dance floor!
Do you provide speakers and a sound system?
Bands and DJs need speakers and sound systems. A venue may have sound equipment on site, but if the venue requires you to bring your own equipment, you’ll need to communicate this to your band or DJ.
Are there any noise restrictions?
If your venue is in close proximity to neighbors, there may be noise restrictions in place after a certain hour. You wouldn’t want to have to turn down the music as you party the night away during the wedding reception, so be sure to ask about noise restrictions or if they’ve gotten any complaints in the past that might come up.
Venue Booking and More
Now that you’re prepared to book your venue, there’s still plenty more to plan! Use these questions to ask your wedding venue to ensure you’re making the best choice for your wedding day. Visit Yeah Weddings for everything you need to plan your big day.
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