Selecting your wedding venue is probably the first and biggest decision you’ll need to make on your wedding planning journey.
Firstly, the venue will be one of the largest expenses you’ll be paying out to. And secondly, it will pretty much set the tone and style for the whole wedding; therefore it’s really important that you get it right.
Most good venues will have detailed, thorough websites for you to peruse, and lots of them will also send you brochures with a ton of information included to answer your initial questions.
However, when you go to see it in person, what questions to ask a wedding venue? What are the points most people forget? You want to make the most of the in-person tour and don’t want to suddenly remember a load of questions on your way home from the viewing!
So here is a detailed list of 48 questions to ask a wedding venue, designed to give you the most relevant information so that you can make your final venue decision with confidence and certainty. We recommend getting the answers to these questions before you put down any kind of holding deposit…and take a notebook with you!
Some of this information you will be able to get from the venue’s website/ brochure, but it is always worth double-checking the answers with them when you visit in person.
1. What dates are available for my wedding? You need to be really clear on this information, as it’s the most important thing! Ask to see their availability calendar or confirm all weekends in your desired time period. Remember they may offer you a discount for choosing an off-season date or picking a nonweekend day.
2. What is the venue capacity for both the day and evening?
3. What is the total fee? And specifically, what exactly is included in that price? You will need full clarity on this before you can make an educated decision on your venue. Be sure to work through it all in detail, as there can be lots of added extras to think about.
4. What is the time period you can have the venue for? What if there’s a wedding the day before or the day after? Some venues will let you return the next day, while some will require you to take everything with you when you leave the wedding that evening—this can be tricky after a few drinks! Also, you may want to think about having the rehearsal dinner there the night before too if possible.
5. Can you host the ceremony in the venue too? Are there any restrictions you need to be aware of?
6. Are there different spaces available for you to use (e.g. separate rooms) for getting ready?
7. What deposit do you require? Also, check if it is refundable!
8. How would you like the rest of the payment, and when?
9. What’s the cancellation policy? It’s best to know the worst-case scenario in advance, and what the timings are for this.
10. If you are looking at outdoor spaces, what’s your contingency plan for bad weather?
11. Does the venue have liability insurance?
Eating and Drinking
When considering questions to ask a wedding venue, food and drink are pretty important so make sure you get these answers in advance:
12. Do you supply the catering in-house? Do you have a list of pre-approved and recommended caterers we can use, or do I need to provide my own? It’s really important to understand your options here. If you have your heart set on a certain type of food, or a certain caterer, the venue may let you bring them in even if they usually do it in-house.
13. If I hire my own caterer, is there a fully operational kitchen available for them to use? Are food trucks welcome?
14. Can we see sample menus now? This will give you a good understanding of the type of food on offer for you.
15. Do you accommodate dietary restrictions and food allergies?
16. Do you have a license to serve alcohol?
17. Can we bring our own wine, beer, and champagne?
18. Do you charge a corkage fee for this?
19. Is there a minimum spend on food and drink?
20. What’s the tax and service charge?
21. Can we do a food tasting before we finalize our menu selection? Make sure you check if this is included, or whether a tasting would cost extra.
22. Are tables, chairs, linens, plates, cutlery, and glassware provided, or will I have to bring those in through my caterer?
23. Do you have a preferred baker for a cake or can I bring in a cake from off-site?
24. Is there a cake-cutting fee? If I use a cake made on-site is the fee waived?
25. How many serving staff will be supplied for the food and the bar? Are there additional charges for extra bar staff?
You’ll probably know by the time of the venue visit whether you are allowed to bring in your own vendors into the space but it is worth checking on the below to make sure you have everything covered. Your vendors will have their own questions too if they don’t know the venue.
26. Do you have a preferred vendor list, and we do we 100% need to stick to this?
27. What timings do you recommend for my vendors? When can they start setting up? This will depend on whether your venue has another event the day before.
28. Do you provide a coordinator for the day to liaise with all suppliers? If so, what’s included with this?
29. What security do you recommend and provide?
30. Is there a coat check service?
31. What’s the deal with music? Can the venue accommodate a live band? Is any additional staging required for this? What about a DJ?
Décor and Rentals
How your venue is dressed is crucial to the design of your wedding, so make sure you get all the below information while you’re there. Some venues will have decor items somewhere out back for you to borrow. Make sure you double-check the specifics!
32. Can we bring in our own decorations?
33. Do you have a detailed inventory of décor that we can borrow from? Be sure to check on additional costs here. Some may include items for free hire if you are lucky.
34. Do we have the freedom to design the space as we would like?
35. What’s the deal with lighting? Do we need to bring in any additional lights for certain areas after dark? If you’re having a winter wedding this could be even more important.
36. Can we use candles inside? Some venues have rules about open flames, they may need to be covered.
37. Do you allow confetti to be thrown, and if so, where is the best spot for this?
38. Do you have a sound system and/or microphones for speeches?
39. Do you have signage that we can borrow? For example ‘Ceremony this way,’ ‘Drinks reception here,’ ‘Toilets,’ etc.
40. If you have an outdoor area, do you provide heaters, blankets, and umbrellas?
Other General/Logistical Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue
41. Can you show us all the spaces that are available for us to use? What rooms double up (e.g. ceremony room, then dance floor later)? You may get more ideas for your wedding as you see the different spaces in real life!
42. Is there plenty of parking on site for your guests?
43. Are taxi services like Uber and Lyft available at the venue or do you have local taxi recommendations?
44. Are there any noise restrictions?
45. Can we apply for a later bar license than the one you have advertised? (For the true party people out there!)
46. How many restrooms are there? (You want at least 4 or 5 per 100 guests)
47. Is there any on-site overnight accommodation? How many rooms? If not, do you have nearby hotels you can recommend?
48. Do you have a recycling policy? Couples who want to have more sustainable weddings will be asking about this more and more.
Think About the Extras You May Want at Your Wedding!
If you have big ideas for how to make your wedding stand out, adding elements that may be a little different from other weddings, then make sure you ask these questions early on too.
For example, perhaps you want to host a fireworks display. Some venues will be totally open to this but some may have never done this before and therefore may be a little reluctant. Who would run the display if allowed?
What about pets? Some couples really want their dogs to be included in the ceremony—a poochy ring bearer perhaps—how would your venue feel about this? For some, it’s a complete no-no!
And then think about kids. If you are having a big wedding with lots of children attending, is there anything that you want to hire for them as entertainment? This could be some sort of slide, bouncy castle, kids entertainer, or separate arts and crafts area.
Talk to your venue about whether they’ve ever done anything like this before—they may have some interesting ideas and suggestions for you!
Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue – Final Tips!
We hope this has been a useful guide for your wedding venue research. You’ll want to make the most of the venue visit, so it really is worth going through these 48 questions first and working out which ones are most relevant to you.
It’s also worth thinking about what are the deal breakers for you as a couple. Take your time on the visit and also be sure to take photos—sometimes it can be hard to remember specific details about space so don’t be afraid to snap away during the visit.
And lastly, enjoy it! Don’t get stressed at this stage about the details. Just try picturing yourselves and your guests in the space and think about the feel of the venue. Good luck!