Wedding Planning Guide

125+ Questions to Ask Wedding Venues (Printable PDF Checklist Included)

Choosing a wedding venue is exciting, but it can also feel like there’s pressure to choose the perfect place. And there’s lots to consider: the size of the venue, the location, the type of event it can accommodate, and your wedding budget.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list and scheduled some site visits, it’s important to meet with the staff and ask detailed, in-depth questions that will help you find the right space for your celebration. To help make this process a little bit easier, we have put together a list of the exact questions to ask your wedding venues.

(Pro tip: Download our FREE printable checklist and bring it with you to find the perfect venue)

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Wedding Venue Basics

Arguably the most important of all wedding venue questions is “Is my date available?” Whether you’ve worked hard and chosen a wedding date you’ve committed to or are open-minded and willing to let the venue choice come first, your wedding date matters because it will be your anniversary for the rest of your life.

Try to visit venues before you’ve chosen an exact date. If you have a few options or a range of dates that might work, you’ll be more likely to secure a spot at your venue of choice. And then ask:

  • What is the capacity of the venue?
  • Is the venue available on my wedding date?
  • How much does it cost to rent the space? Are there any additional fees?
  • What are the hours that we can access the space?
  • When do we need to vacate the premises? Is there an overtime fee?
  • Can I host my ceremony here too? If yes, will it come with extra charges?
  • Can we have our rehearsal dinner at the venue? If yes, will it come with extra charges?
  • How many bathrooms are there? Will we need to rent additional portable restrooms? Are there gender-neutral bathrooms?
  • Do you have your own sound equipment and speakers, or will those need to be rented or provided by the entertainment?
  • Are there noise restrictions?
  • Are there “getting ready” rooms available on-site?
  • Is there anything special happening on-site during that time of year?
  • Can we bring in our own vendors?
  • How many weddings or events do you host on one day? On one weekend?
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Food & Drinks

Food and drink are a huge part of the day for most weddings. You want to make sure that your guests are well-fed and having fun! Find out what the venue’s policy is on food and refreshments.

Even if there is an in-house caterer, do you have the option of using an outside caterer instead? If you opt to use an outside vendor, be sure to review our list of questions to ask your wedding caterer.

Venues with in-house caterers will often have a food and beverage minimum that you’re required to meet as part of the contract — essentially a minimum amount you need to spend. Find out what happens if you don’t meet it, as well as what upgraded options you might be able to add to your menu to help you meet that minimum.

When it comes to food and drinks, these are the following questions to ask the wedding venue:

  • Do you allow outside catering?
  • Do you have in-house catering?
  • If I hire my own caterer, are kitchen facilities available for them?
  • What are the tax and service/gratuity charges?
  • Can we do a tasting before we finalize our menu? Is there a charge?
  • Are tables, chairs, linens, plates, silverware, and glassware provided, or will I have to rent them myself or get them through my caterer?
  • What is the average cost per person for catering?
  • Do you have a list of recommended caterers?
  • What are the drink options?
  • Do you offer a cash bar, open bar, or limited drink selection?
  • Can we bring our own alcohol?
  • Is there a corkage fee?
  • Does the venue have a liquor license?
  • Do you provide bartenders?
  • Is there a food or beverage minimum?
  • Are there any restrictions on what we can serve?

Pro tip for venue food & beverage: Many venues offer the option of purchasing liquor directly through them (especially if they have an exclusive or in-house caterer), which is convenient. It can, however, come with a hefty markup. Find out if you can source your liquor elsewhere, which allows you to price-shop, or if you can buy it yourself and bring it to the event for their staff to serve.

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Vendors & Venue Staff

Vendors and staffing can often be a dealbreaker if you had a certain menu or cuisine theme that you envisioned. If you are more flexible with your vendor options, considering options the venue recommends can be a strategically favorable decision.

These vendors have most likely worked out the small nuances and coordination hurdles at this setting that others may not be aware of. There is also the potential you may get a special discounted rate to partner with these vendors because of their ongoing relationship with the venue’s management.

The following are questions to ask in regards to their vendors and staffs:

  • How many event coordinators will be assigned to my wedding?
  • Can I meet them before the big day?
  • How often will we be in touch leading up to the wedding?
  • What is the venue’s policy on vendor tipping?
  • Do you have a list of preferred vendors?
  • Can the venue accommodate a DJ or live band?
  • What security services do you offer?
  • Do you provide a coat check service?
  • What time can my vendors start setting up on the day of the wedding?

Pro tip for vendors and venue staff: Find out how many guests you can fit in the space with and without a dance floor, with a band vs. with a DJ (as a band will require more space), and with round vs. rectangular or square tables to understand which decisions will help you maximize the space and your guest list.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Be sure to ask the staff about their cleaning and maintenance policies, for both them and you and your vendors.

  • How often is the space cleaned?
  • Do you have on-site custodial staff?
  • Are there any restrictions on what we can do to decorate the space?
  • What is your policy on damage deposits?
  • When will the space be available for us to set up?
  • When do we need to have everything cleared out?

Emergencies & Inclement Weather

What happens if it rains? If you’re planning to get married outside, your wedding venue may have a backup space you can use in the event of inclement weather. Be sure to tour this space as well. While no one wants it to rain on their wedding day, it definitely happens and it’s important that you love your Plan B just as much as Plan A.

On the flip side, if you are planning an indoor event, you may want to better understand Plan B outdoor dining options should ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions suddenly prevent indoor gatherings at a future date.

  • Do you have a backup plan in case of inclement weather?
  • What is your policy on refunds in case of bad weather?
  • What is the venue’s policy on power outages?
  • Do you have a generator?
  • What is the evacuation plan in case of an emergency?
  • Do you have a list of preferred vendors for inclement weather?
  • Do you have a plan for power outages or other emergencies?
  • Do you have liability insurance?
  • Do you have first aid for when someone gets injured?
  • What happens if we need to reschedule due to COVID or a pandemic?
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Rental & Decor

You will want to ask about the venue’s policies on rentals and decorations. This will help you understand what you need to bring in and how much it will cost. It would also help you sort out your theme and color scheme.

  • Are there any decor restrictions? Are candles permitted?
  • Do you have signage or other aids to direct guests to my event?
  • Do you provide heaters and/or umbrellas for the outdoor spaces?
  • What floor plan do you recommend for my guest count?
  • What is the policy on furniture rentals?
  • What is the policy on decoration changes or requests?
  • Do you have a list of preferred vendors for rentals and decorations?
  • Is there an additional fee for decorating the space?
  • Will your staff be involved in setting up and breaking down the decor? In what capacity?

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Financials

Obviously, budget is crucial when you’re determining what questions to ask when looking at wedding venues. Make sure you understand exactly what’s included in the venue fee. Does it cover service charges, gratuity, and cleaning fees, or are those additional line items?

  • Are there any additional fees?
  • What is your policy on damage deposits?
  • When is the final payment due?
  • What is your refund policy?
  • Do you offer any discounts?
  • When is the deposit due?
  • What is the refund policy for the deposit?
  • How do you structure the payment schedule?
  • Is there a discount for booking early or during off-season?
  • What are the rates for different weeks and times?

Pro Tip: Some venues offer a discount for booking an off-season date or a Sunday through Friday wedding. They may also have different rates for different times, such as in the morning or afternoon versus the evening. They may also have a different rate depending on the season. Review our ideas on a spring, summer, fall, and winter wedding. Always ask for peak season and off-season rates in your list of wedding planning questions for the venue.

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Additional Venue Amenities

You might want to ask about additional venue amenities depending on your needs. This could include anything from parking and transportation to accommodations for your guests.

The following are questions to ask:

  • Do you have a list of preferred vendors?
  • Is there on-site parking available?
  • Is the venue handicap accessible?
  • Do you have a list of preferred vendors for transportation?
  • Are taxis/rideshares easily accessible from the venue?
  • If a shuttle service is needed, can you assist with setting it up?
  • Do you have overnight accommodation? Do you offer a discount for booking multiple rooms — or a complimentary room or upgrade for the newlyweds?
  • If no accommodations are available, what are the nearest hotels to the venue?
  • What is your policy on after-hours events?
  • Do you have on-site security?
  • Is there a coordinator on staff? Who will be my main point of contact?

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Wedding Venue Restrictions

You will want to ask about any restrictions the venue might have. Questions to ask wedding venues could include anything from noise level and capacity to types of events and alcohol policy. It is important to know the restrictions ahead of time so you can be prepared!

Other questions to ask include:

  • Is smoking prohibited?
  • What is the noise level policy?
  • What is the capacity limit?
  • Are there any restrictions on the types of events?
  • Is alcohol allowed on the premises?
  • Do you have a liquor license?
  • If we want to serve alcohol, do we need to use your catering services?
  • What is the corkage fee?
  • Are there any restrictions on music?
  • Do you have a list of preferred vendors for music?
  • Is there an additional fee for decorating the space?
  • What is your policy on after-hours events?
  • Is there an additional fee for decorating the space?
  • Are there any additional fees for breaking the policy?
  • Do you have any restrictions on what we can bring into the venue?
  • Is there anything that we are not allowed to do at the venue?
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Booking and Contract Questions

Be sure to ask about the booking process and contract. You will want to know what is required to book the venue and what you agree to when you sign the contract. This will help avoid any surprises down the road!

Questions to ask include:

  • When is the deposit due?
  • Are there any legal restrictions on booking the venue?
  • What is included in the contract?
  • Can we get a copy of the contract?
  • When do we need to sign the contract?
  • Is there a penalty for canceling the contract?
  • How soon can we cancel the contract?
  • Can we make changes to the contract after signing?
  • How do we resolve conflict?
  • Do you have legal representation?
  • What United States law applies to this contract?

When to ask your wedding venue questions

You should ask these questions as soon as you start looking at wedding venues. You can use this list as a starting point and add to it as you think of more specific questions. Asking questions early on will help, but you should ask during the entire process and the final meeting before the wedding.

Questions to ask your wedding venue after booking

After booking your venue, you will want to start thinking about additional details. This is when you will want to ask questions about more specific logistics.

Here is a list of questions to ask your wedding venue:

  • When do we expect to hear from you?
  • Should we reach out, or will you?
  • How many events will be taking place at the venue on the day of my event?
  • Can you accommodate any last-minute changes?
  • Do you have decorations available to use?
  • What are past wedding itineraries that have been successful at your event?
  • Do you have any additional vendor recommendations?
  • How often can I visit the venue before the event?
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Questions to ask your wedding venue in the final meeting

In your final meeting before your wedding, you’ll want to finalize any last minute questions you have before the day of. If you have a wedding coordinator or planner, you’ll want them there. Make sure to cover:

  • The wedding day timeline
  • Inclement weather backup plan
  • All vendor arrival times and departure times
  • Rehearsal timing (if applicable)
  • Seating chart changes
  • Any last-minute alterations
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    Why you need to ask your wedding venue questions

    It's important to ask your wedding venue these questions before signing the contract. You are setting yourself and the venue up for a successful and stress-free wedding day by finding out the necessary answers. Here are some reasons you should ask these questions:

    • Adequate preparation: By asking these questions, you are giving yourself and the venue adequate time to prepare for your wedding day. This includes ensuring that there is a backup plan in place in case of bad weather, confirming how many hours you have access to the space, and knowing when you can begin setting up.
    • Stay within budget: If you think you’ve found a low-cost venue, but then find out later that there are lots of extra fees, this can throw off your budget. Knowing exactly what the venue provides and what vendors you have to bring in is very important when setting up your wedding budget.
    • Avoid surprises: Asking questions upfront will help avoid surprises on your wedding day and throughout your wedding planning, which can reduce a lot of stress.
    • Create a timeline: Coordinating with your venue to set up–and stick to–your wedding day timeline ensures that everything runs smoothly and that you can enjoy your wedding day stress-free.
    • Vendor coordination: If the venue has a preferred vendor list, this will help you search for other vendors. For example, if you are looking for a photographer and the venue has a select vendor list, you can quickly get in touch with the photographer to see if they are available for your wedding date. You can also have meetings with the vendors so they can work well together on your big day.

    Any other important questions to ask your wedding venue?

    We’ve covered wedding questions on vendors, decor, budgets, venue restrictions, and much more. Still, there’s always going to be additional questions to ask your venue, and you should ask them.

    Finding a venue that encourages conversation and questions and that wants to help you along the way will make the entire wedding planning process easier and much less stressful.

    Make sure to download our FREE printable checklist so you can add any of your questions, and bring it with you to find the perfect wedding venue!

    DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE CHECKLIST

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