Questions You Should Ask Wedding Venues Before Making Your Final Decision About Where To Host Your Reception
Congratulations, you’re engaged! The first thing you should do when it comes to planning your wedding is securing a date and location for your wedding (ceremony and reception). Here is our list of ultimate questions to ask your wedding venue to cover all your bases.
GENERAL INQUIRY – MUST ASK
- What dates are available in the month(s) I’m considering? Is my date of choice available? If not, are there any surrounding dates available? Or do you have a wait list for dates?
- What are the rates for different days of the week and times (Friday, Saturday, Sunday; morning, afternoon, evening)? What about different seasons?
- How long can I “hold” a date before making a decision?
- My wedding planner is WPIC certified and they referred me to your business. Do you offer discounts to clients with wedding planners? (Event venues recognize the WPIC certification as the official wedding planners association — some may offer you a discount.)
- How many people can this location accommodate?
- What is the rental fee and what’s included in that price?
- Is there a secure area for storing gifts?
- How many hours does the rental fee includes, and is there an overtime fee if I stay longer?
- How much is the deposit, when is it due, and is it refundable?
- What’s the payment plan for the entire bill? What forms of payment do you accept?
- Can I have my ceremony here, too? Is there an additional cost?
- Are there changing areas for the bride, groom, and/or wedding party?
- Do you have a bridal suite for the wedding party/couple?
- If I choose your venue, who will be my person of contact on the wedding day?
- Do you accommodate wedding rehearsals the week of the wedding?
- Does the total include gratuity, taxes, cleaning/set-up fees, or are they additional?
- When is the last possible date to make changes to the reservation without charges?
- How many weddings do you host a day? Ideally, you want to be the only wedding so that the timing/sounds of the other wedding(s) do not conflict with your wedding day
- Can we have our rehearsal dinner here? What about a morning-after mimosa brunch?
- How much time is allocated for the rehearsal?
- What’s the cancellation policy?
- What’s your weather contingency (backup) plan for outdoor spaces?
- Is your venue wheelchair/disability accessible? Are there elevators/ramps?
- Is this a single event venue? (Some venues host two weddings or more in the same space)
- Can I get a copy of your packaging brochure & floor plans? (Good to reference later)
- Are there any noise restrictions?
- Is there parking on site? If not, where will my guests park?
- How many restrooms are there? (You should have at least 4 stalls per 100 people. At least.)
- Is this a child-friendly venue? Are there booster seats / high chairs for children?
- Is there a separate space for cocktail hour?
- Where are your best spots for photos?
- What are your pricing differences for buffet, stations, and plated dinner options? (Typically, 3 course dinner seems to be the happy medium — you want people to have room for dessert)
- Does your in-house catering offer gluten-free, vegan, halal, etc. options?
- Do you have an in-house caterer or a list of “preferred” caterers, or do I need to provide my own? Even if there is an in-house caterer, do I have the option of using an outside caterer?
- If I hire my own caterer, is there a kitchen available for them?
- Is there a food & beverage minimum?
- What’s the tax and service charge?
- Can we do a food tasting before we finalize our menu selection? Does it cost extra?
- Are tables, linens, chairs, plates, silverware, and glassware provided, or will I have to rent them myself or get them through my caterer?
- Can I hire my own vendors for catering or is there a preferred vendor list?
- Does your venue have lighting/entertainment equipment?
- Can the venue accommodate a DJ or live band?
- Do you have a screen for live powerpoint/videos?
- Do you have a podium for speeches?
- Do you have a sound system and/or microphones for speeches?
STAFFING + SUPPORT QUESTIONS
- Will your staff be involved in setting up or teardown of decor, in what capacity?
- How much is it to hire bar staff / baristas for the event?
- Do you offer on-site day-of venue coordination? What services are included?
- Who will meet the wedding planner/vendors on the day of the event?
- Who will be the support staff for the venue on the day of the event?
- What security services do you offer? In general, you should have 2 security guards for the first 100 guests and 1 more for every additional 100 guests. This is a legal requirement.
- Do you provide a secure coat check service? Is it free or paid? How much?
- Does the venue provide assistance getting gifts and/or décor back to a designated car or hotel room after the wedding?
- How is alcohol priced, and is there a bar minimum? (Most venues with bar service offer a few options: Full bar, cash bar, and limited consumption (wine/champagne on table).
- Do we have to purchase liquor through you, or can we source it externally?
- If I am doing a dry wedding, what options do you have for a coffee/tea/juice bar?
- Do you have liability insurance? Do you have licence to service alcohol?
- How much is it per head for full bar?
- Alcohol questions: Can we bring our own wine, beer or champagne?
- Can I bring hard liquor?
- Do you charge a corkage fee?
- What options do you have for cocktail hour?
- Can we create signature drinks for the bar?
- How much parking space do you have available?
- Is parking complimentary or do guests have to pay for parking? (You also have the option, as the host of the wedding, to pay for the guests parking so that they don’t have to.)
- Can I bring in a cake from an outside baker or do I have to use a cake made on-site?
- How much are cakes made on-site?
- Is there a cake-cutting fee?
- If I use a cake made on-site, is the fee waived?
- Does your venue provide cake display equipment/etc or will I need to source my own?
- Does your venue provide cake cutters?
- Do you provide a place for the cake? What time should the cake vendor arrive?
- If I don’t want a wedding cake, are there options for a dessert table?
- Can I bring an external company to do desserts at my wedding?
INTERIOR DESIGN QUESTIONS
- Are we allowed to bring in our own decorations?
- TIP: Keep the existing décor within the venue in mind when planning your own decorations so that they won’t clash! And if your event is in December, ask what the venue’s holiday décor will be.
- Do you have an inventory of décor (lighting, candle holders, vases, etc.) we can rent from?
- Can I move things around or do I have to leave everything as is?
- How early can my wedding planner/support team come to the venue to do set-up? TIP: Some venues have restrictions on whether or not you can hang things from the ceiling or on the walls. If you’re obsessed with string lights or want to hang up photos, you’d better check on this.
- Can we use candles, confetti, sparklers, fireworks, animals, lawn games, bounce houses, food trucks, insert your own fun-but-potentially-dangerous liability here?
- Do you have visual aids or staff to direct guests to my event?
- Do you provide easels for signs?
- Do you provide heaters, tents, and/or umbrellas for the outdoor spaces or do I need to source externally?
- What time can my vendors start setting up on the day of the wedding?
- Which door/entrance is best for vendors to come through?
- Can I bring in my items for the wedding the day before/week-of for storage? If the answer is yes, how long can I store it for and what is the storage fee, if any?
- Can I keep my items from the wedding to pick-up the next day/week-of after the wedding? If the answer is yes, how long can I store it for and what is the storage fee, if any?
- If your venue is a hotel: What overnight accommodations do you provide? Do you offer a discount for booking multiple rooms—or a complimentary room or upgrade for the newlyweds?!