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There’s more to the perfect wedding venue than just the aesthetics (though good looks are a huge bonus). There are all sorts of important details you’ll need to cover before you sign on the dotted line. We’ve asked the pros for the key questions to ask your wedding venue. You’ll want to ask these before you book.
Consider bringing this list of 28 important questions to ask potential venues with you on your site visits.
Pricing and Availability
- Is my date of choice available? If not, are there any surrounding dates available? Or do you have a wait list for dates?
- How far in advance can I reserve my date?
- What are the rates for different days of the week and times (Friday, Saturday, Sunday; morning, afternoon, evening)? What about different seasons?
- How many hours are included in the rental of the space? How early can we arrive, and how late can we stay?
Ideally, you’ll want to be the only event on-site on your wedding day, as having other events happening can result in less setup time, limited venue access, and confusion for your guests. If you’re not guaranteed to be the only event that day, find out how much it would cost to do a complete buyout, as well as ask about how the staff handles having multiple events at once.
- How much is the deposit?
- How do you structure the payment schedule?
- What is included in the total? Does it cover service charges, gratuity, and cleaning fees, or are those additional line items?
- What is the cancellation policy?
- When is the last possible date to make changes to our reservation?
- Do you have a list of approved or recommended vendors we can use?
- Do we have to use your approved vendors? If not, are there limitations or guidelines we need to meet when bringing others in?
If your venue doesn’t require you to use their vendors, ask if there are any they recommend most highly. A vendor who is familiar with your venue will already know the quirks and challenges of the space, which will make your planning process that much easier.
- Is the site handicap accessible?
- Are there noise restrictions?
- How many bathrooms are there? Will we need to rent additional portable restrooms?
- Is parking available on-site? How much space is there? Will guests be charged for parking?
Sometimes the use of parking is included in your site rental fee, sometimes it isn’t. If there is a fee and it isn’t covered by your rental, ask how much it would cost for you to pay for your guests’ parking for the evening.
- What is the venue’s capacity?
- Do you have your own sound equipment and speakers, or will those need to be rented or provided by the entertainment?
- What is the backup plan for rain or inclement weather?
- Are there any décor restrictions?
- When can vendors arrive for setup?
- Will your staff be involved in setting up and breaking down the décor? In what capacity?
A venue like a hotel will usually have staff available to help arrange and set the tables, then help pack up any rented glassware, flatware, and dishes at the end of the night. Confirm exactly what the venue’s staff will be doing so you can pass that information on to your other vendors.
Food and Drinks
- Do you have an in-house caterer? If so, are food and beverages included in the venue rental fee?
- If there is not an in-house caterer, do we have to choose from a list of approved options, or can we hire our own caterer?
- Do you have a food and beverage minimum? What are the consequences if we don’t meet it?
- Do we have to purchase liquor through you, or can we source liquor elsewhere?
- If we can bring our own liquor onto the property, is there a corkage or service fee?
If your venue does allow you to buy your own alcohol, they may charge a fee to serve it on the property—which is still often much less than the price of ordering straight through the venue.
- Who will be our point person as we plan our wedding? Who will be our point person on our wedding day?
- Can we meet them today?