Booking that dream venue is one of the first and most important items on the top of your to-do list. With so much wedding planning on your mind, it’s essential to ask the right questions to avoid disappointments and costly surprises later.
Venues will often be able to offer you a range of services such as food, drink and music and many will take a lot of the organization out of your hands. It is advisable to book as early as you can to get your preferred date, and don’t be afraid to ask for discounts or late availability.
We hope this list of questions to ask your wedding venue helps you find the place that’s just right for you.
Image Courtesy of Ardencote Spa
Here is a comprehensive list of questions to ask your potential venue:
Does the venue suit your theme?
Is it big enough to accommodate all your guests?
Do they have an in-house wedding co-coordinator?
Do they have equipment you can use or will you have to hire tables, chairs, linens, plates, glassware, etc?
Do they have in-house catering or must you hire your own?
Do you have an option to bring in your own caterer?
If you are bringing a caterer in, will they have access to a kitchen, power, running water, etc?
Will you be having finger food, a buffet or a sit down meal – can they accommodate this?
Will there be food provided for both the reception and the evening reception?
If they’ll be supplying the food, are they flexible with their menu choices? Can you make suggestions?
Is there a vegetarian/vegan alternative? Can they accommodate special dietary requirements, i.e. allergies or gluten-free etc?
Do you need to pay extra to hire the cake stand & knife?
Do they have a license to consume alcohol?Can you supply your own alcohol? Is there a corkage fee?
Will you have a free bar or paid bar – can they accommodate both?
How late will the bar be open?
How will the staff be dressed? How many will be available for your wedding?
Can you meet the manager beforehand to go over the details?
Is entertainment permitted? Is there a sufficient power supply for any entertainment/sound systems you may require?
Are there any requirements for suppliers (ie the DJ has to have public liability & PAT testing of his equipment)?
Does the venue have a public address system available for speeches?
Are there noise level restrictions that must be adhered to?
Do they allow fireworks or lanterns?
Is the lighting at the venue suitable for your photos?
Do they have an alternative space for photos/drinks for an outdoor reception in case it’s raining?
Are the tables/chairs/linens appropriate – can the venue accommodate any changes?
Are there any restrictions on where the flowers and decorations will be placed?
Are there any restrictions on types of decorations (for example, do they allow candles etc?)
What kind of confetti does the venue allow, and will they charge you for the cleanup of it afterwards?
Is there a safe place for guests to store coats and personal belongings?
Is there a safe place for gifts?
If you are having outside staff or decorators in, what is the earliest they can have access?
Will the venue decorate to your theme or allow you to decorate?
Does the venue have disabled access?
Are there adequate parking facilities?
Can guests leave their cars overnight and collect them the next day?
Is there on-site accommodation for the guests? If so, is there a discount available for your guests?
Does the venue have public liability insurance?
How far in advance are bookings required?
What is the cancellation/postponement policy?
How much is the deposit to secure the date and when is it due?
How soon after the event is the balance due?
Is VAT included in the final price?
Can they confirm any arrangements in writing?
Do they provide a complimentary suite to the bride/groom for their wedding night?
Will there be any other weddings/receptions/large parties at the venue on the same day?
Can they meet your budget?
Is there an extra charge for bringing your own suppliers?
Does the package include menu tasting?
Does the venue provide catering for children?
Are there discounts available for the bridal party if they book rooms at the venue before the wedding?
What is the difference in cost if you only have the reception at the venue vs ceremony and reception?
Most importantly – if you are seeing multiple venues, it’s absolutely essential to write everything down – it will keep you well organized and will let you remember which venue said what. After all the arrangements have been made, ask the venue to confirm everything in writing to avoid any misunderstandings.
Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.