When viewing a prospective venue for your wedding ceremony or reception, it is easy to get excited and overlook key details. This is especially true when you’re just starting out and don’t know exactly what to look for. All too often couples view venues in haste, only to have to return later with a magnifying glass. Here is a list of 40 questions organized by category that will help you account for all the important aspects of a prospective venue at the first visit. They more or less correspond to the “When Booking” chapter of our comprehensive venue-booking guide, so if you find yourself hungry for more information, let us feed you there. To download this list and take it with you while venue shopping, click here.
Remember that choosing a wedding venue is the first major challenge for many engaged couples, so be patient and consider several options. Good luck – you’ve got this 🙂
Top Questions to Ask Your Venue:
1. Availability & Cost
- How far in advance do I need to book? Can you recommend any available dates?
- Are there dates/times available for lower prices?
- What is included in the cost/package? What is optional and what can be brought in?
- Are there surcharges for non-preferred vendors?
- How much is the deposit and how far in advance does it need to be paid?
- Can I get the offer in writing?
- Are there any cancellation fees?
- Is your venue licensed to carry out civil weddings?
2. Size & Space
- What is your maximum capacity per layout (e.g. dinner, standing, etc.)? What is your recommended capacity?
- Is there a contingency plan for inclement weather?
- Do you have insurance?
- Are there accommodations for senior/disabled guests and children (e.g. high chairs)?
- Do you provide overnight accommodation and how many people can you accommodate? What is the checkout time the following day?
- Is there a private room provided for the use of “bride and groom” for the wedding day?
3. Location & Transport
- Do you have a car park? Or is there one nearby? How many car parking spaces are available?
- Can guests leave their cars overnight?
- What is the best way to get here via public transit?
- Do you have any recommendations for shuttle bus services or other forms or transport for after the reception?
- What are the most popular accommodation sites in the area?
4. Food & Drink
- If you have an in-house caterer, what is on the menu and when can we try it?
- Does your in-house caterer have vegetarian, gluten-free and kids’ options?
- If you do not have an in-house caterer, who are your preferred caterers?
- Is there a surcharge for non-preferred caterers?
- Can we bring in our own food?
- Can we bring in our own alcohol? If yes what do you charge for corkage?
- Is there a place to store the wedding cake?
- What time do you offer an alcohol license until?
- If the space is not isolated, will there be security?
- How many and which staff members will be on duty the day of the wedding?
- Can you provide referrals to past clients? (If so, ask the past clients about quality of service.)
- What decorations are included in the price? Are there upgrades/additions for an extra charge?
- Can we come view the space shortly before someone else’s ceremony/reception?
7. Lighting & Photography
- Can I see the venue with all the lights switched on?
- Is there any additional lighting that can be brought in?
- Is flash photography allowed?
8. Sound System
- What kind of sound system do you have?
- In case of a ceremony venue with acoustic limitations – can I audition tracks from my phone (or other device) to see what sounds good?
- If I hire a DJ, will the equipment be provided by the venue? Or will the DJ have to provide it?
- Can the sound system here accommodate a live band?
- Is there a curfew for loud music?
- When can vendors come in and start setting up?
- If the ceremony and reception will be in the same place, how will we “flip” the space?
- Can I come in a few weeks early for a rehearsal dinner and/or photo shoot? If so, is there an extra charge?
- Are there any renovations planned for the venue or venue area?
- By when does all non-venue property need to be cleared from the space after the wedding? Can we leave our stuff overnight?
Wedding Venues Checklist:
How to use the checklist?
- Open our checklist template created in Google Spreadsheets
- Make a copy of the file or download it in the desired format
- Fill it with information that you received from venues
- Compare the venues and choose your favourite one!
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