Choosing a wedding venue can seem daunting, especially as it will probably make up the largest part of your budget. With this in mind, it’s important to see lots of different venues and ask those all important questions to determine things like location and parking as well as catering and options for your bar. When you look at a wedding venue, questions to ask might seem far from your mind as you get lost in the interiors or setting so take a look at our checklist of 14 important questions that are essential to ask.
1. Do you want to have your ceremony and reception at the same venue?
One key question is do you want to get married at the venue and host the wedding reception in the same venue, or is your preference to get married at another location and then continue the celebrations somewhere else? Depending on your decision check if the venues have licenses to hold the ceremony and capacity to host the reception following.
2. Do they have availability for your dates?
It may seem obvious, but checking their availability is one of the most important questions to ask a venue when planning a wedding. If you don’t have a dream date in mind, ask if there are discounts or options available for the off season. Perhaps look at a winter wedding as venues can offer special rates during this time – find out more from our wedding planner.
3. What is the cost of hiring this wedding venue? What is the deposit amount and is this refundable?
It’s handy to get an idea of how much any venue will charge you for using their services.
4. Are there additional service charges for the event?
It’s a good idea to ask specifically about additional charges involved with the venue. Will there be a clean-up or set up cost or is there a corkage fee if you want to bring your own champagne?
5. What is the capacity limit?
Whether you have any idea of how many people are coming to your wedding or not, it’s important to ask how many people the wedding venue can accommodate according to your required format i.e. seated dinner and dance or a drinks reception. If you already have a rough idea then this will give you an indication if the venue is suitable for your needs. It’s also worth asking if there are any extra charges if you have to add people to the wedding last minute. Some venues offer multiple spaces so check if you have exclusive hire of the venue or only partial hire – will there be any other events happening at the same time?
6. What time can everyone stay until?
If your idea of your perfect wedding is a venue where your guests can dance until the small hours, asking about finishing time is one of the most important details to check with a wedding venue. Check if there are any noise restrictions as this may affect more centrally located venues.
7. What is the parking situation?
It’s one of the most important questions to ask a wedding venue as it’s likely that at least some guests will want to drive to your event.
8. What Type of Bar can They Accommodate?
It’s completely up to you if you want an open bar or a cash bar but you should ask the venue what they can accommodate. If they are flexible, then great, you don’t have to think about it for a little bit longer, but if they can only accommodate an open bar, then this is something you should take into consideration, not only for your budget but your overall wedding and if you want to be locked into only one type of bar.
9. What is the Plan for Bad Weather?
The weather can be temperamental at the best of times, one of the most important questions to ask a venue when planning a wedding outdoors is their wet or bad weather contingency plan. You don’t want to be walking down the aisle with an umbrella or having your guests shivering while they listen to the speeches. Ask them if they have indoor space available if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
10. Can you bring your own vendors?
When planning your wedding, you might have your perfect caterers already in mind, but be sure to ask the venue if this is allowed. Some venues have an in-house caterer that you have to use or pay to not use or you may have to pay a fee to use your outside caterers. This can be a hefty cost on top of your own caterer, so check with the venue what the situation is with using their in-house vendors. If they don’t have in-house catering, you should ask about their preferred caterers and see if they might be a good option for your event.
11. What Equipment is Available for Speeches?
A wonderful part of any wedding is the speeches, so make sure the guests way down at the back can still hear the best man’s funny stories or the father of the bride’s touching speech.The speeches are a great way to make memories on your wedding day, so making sure that all possibilities are covered will give you peace of mind.
12. Are There Any Decor Restrictions?
If you have always wanted to eat dinner by candle light or have a laser show during your dance, check with the venue about any restrictions they might have for the decor. Something also worth checking if you are hiring a historical venue or a museum if there are any restrictions in terms of the photographer, they may not want flash photography as it could damage the historical decor.
13. Does the venue provide tables, chairs, linens, glassware etc?
This is one of the questions to ask a wedding venue that will make a big difference to the amount of organising you need to do. Asking if they have their own tables and chairs and glassware is important because it determines if you need to find a caterer that will bring them or hire them independently which could be a lot of organisation on your part.
14. Can the venue accommodate a DJ or live band?
You may not have chosen what your after dinner entertainment is going to be just yet, but it’s a good idea to ask about what type of music they can accommodate. If they have any staging available and what sound equipment they have are also important things to check with the venue.
You may of course have many more questions to ask your wedding venue, but if you check these ‘essential wedding venue questions to ask’ off your list you should have a very good idea about where you stand with the venues you look at. Remember that it’s important to write everything down so you can come back to it later. This is especially important if you are visiting lots of different venues, as you might forget which venue you saw when and the costs involved. Your wedding day is one of the best days of your life and a beautiful venue that you love can be the icing on the (wedding) cake.