Booking your wedding venue is probably the biggest decision you’ll make in the lead up to your big day. (Aside from actually choosing to get married that is!).
But of course, a wedding venue will mean different things for different couples.
For you it might just be a reception space, for others it will be where you hold your ceremony too, and for some, it will be a base for several days of festivities, with accommodation thrown in too.
And the spaces themselves will differ; hotels, restaurants, town halls, barn venues, exclusive hire houses, or local sports or country clubs – the options are endless!
So to help you make your choice (and make it an informed one!), we’ve put together our list of every question we could think of, to ask your venue when you visit.
Now of course not all of these will apply to you or venue (you might not want fireworks or be having children at your party), but there are some you might never have thought of, that could crop up later in your planning.
You might feel silly or overbearing asking about things like added charges, insurance and cancellation policies, but I’ve had friends who were charged £1 for every slice of cake served at their wedding and others who were told they couldn’t do hair & make-up in the bridal suite – every venue is different, so you can’t make assumptions!
Having this handy checklist of questions ready to go, will help you gauge if the venue is right for you, your guests, and the needs of your day.
And it’s not all about catching your venue out either. From recommending local suppliers to helping with the timeline of your day, your venue can be a big support in your planning and on the day itself, so asking the right questions from the outset, will let them know your requirements too.
You don’t want to start your party playlist on the night of your wedding and realise there’s nowhere to plug in your iPod!
And our number one tip? Get it all in writing afterwards.
Some venue staff will promise you things in your initial tour, without double checking if they’re actually viable. Getting things in writing means you have a comeback if any issues arise down the line, and you have all the info in your inbox as a reference when you’re comparing venues (pretty vital when you’ve seen ten venues in one weekend!).
So here goes, 65 questions to have in your arsenal… (do tell us in the comments if we’ve left any out!).
Availability, Cost & Capacity
1. What is the availability around our ideal dates?
2. What is the venue capacity for a seated meal?
3. Is there a minimum spend?
4. Is there a venue hire fee?
5. Do you offer packages, what exactly is included?
6. Is there any flexibility in taking elements from different packages?
7. Have you different rooms/spaces to choose from?
8. Is there a marquee option?
9. Is it an exclusive hire?
10. Are you licensed host civil wedding ceremonies?
11. What are the terms of payment/when do we need to pay?
12. Have you got public liability insurance?
13. What is the cancellation policy?
14. How many weddings do you have a day/week?
15. Is there outdoor space?
16. Do you offer anything for the next day?
17. Do you offer catering?
18. If not, are there kitchen facilities, serveware and tableware?
19. Can you cater for those with special requirements and allergies?
20. Do you offer tastings?
21. Can we see your drinks/bar menu and pricing?
22. Can we bring our own alcohol?
23. If so, what is the charge for corkage?
24. Where will the cocktail hour be held?
25. Is there a fee for bringing our own cake or desserts?
26. What time does the bar close?
27. Do you offer bar/venue extensions?
28. Do you offer accommodation?
29. Is there a bridal suite included with the venue hire?
30. If not, have you a large room for pre-ceremony prep/hair & make-up?
31. Can we stay the night before?
32. Do you include rooms in the wedding package?
33. Can we block book rooms for our guests?
34. Is it accessible for disabled guests?
35. Are there baby changing facilities?
36. Are children welcome, is there a time they need to leave by?
37. Can we see the bathrooms?
38. Have you got parking?
39. Is there a smoking area?
Staffing & Technicalities
40. Do you provide staff?
41. Is there a service charge or what is the tipping policy?
42. Is there a wedding co-ordinator?
43. Who will be running things on the day?
44. What are the turnaround times (if we’re using the same space twice for ceremony/dinner/dancing?)
45. What AV equipment do you offer? (Speakers, a PA, mics, iPod docs, sockets etc).
46. Can we get in the day before/early in the morning for set-up?
47. Are we responsible for the take-down and when does it need to be done?
48. How late can we stay at the venue?
49. What time can we play music until?
50. Are their any music/noise restrictions?
51. Are we allowed confetti?
52. What if it’s an especially hot/cold/windy/wet day?
53. Is there a secure space for gifts?
Decor & Details
54. Have you tables and chairs (and can we see them)?
55. Can we bring our own chairs and tables?
56. When can rental companies deliver them ahead of the wedding?
57. Have you an inventory of the rest of your decor (vases, candleholders etc)?
58. Have you a fixed list of approved vendors or can we bring our own?
59. Are there local vendors you’d recommend?
60. Are we allowed to hang lights or decor from the walls or ceilings?
61.Can we do this ourselves or do we need contractors?
62. Are we allowed candles?
63. What does the venue look like at night?
64. What, if any lighting do you supply?
65. Can we have fireworks/food trucks/horse and carriage/lawn games/kids activities etc? (Basically any special requirements or dealbreakers.)