Wedding Planning Guide
Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue
On the hunt for the perfect wedding venue? 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 to make sure it’s the right space for your celebration. To help, we've come up with this comprehensive list of questions to ask a wedding venue—before you put down a deposit. (Pro tip: Download our FREE printable and bring it with you!)
AVAILABILITY & LOGISTICS
1. Is my preferred wedding date available? If not, are there any surrounding dates available?
Pro tip: 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.
2. How many guests can the venue accommodate?
3. Can I hold my ceremony here, too? Is there an additional charge?
4. How many weddings or events do you host on one day? On one weekend?
Pro tip: Ideally, you’ll want to be the only event on-site on your wedding day, as having other events happening can result in less set-up 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.
5. How many hours are included in the rental of the space? Is there an overtime fee?
6. Do you have liability insurance?
7. Is the site handicap accessible?
8. How many bathrooms are there? Will we need to rent additional portable restrooms?
9. Is parking available on-site? How many spaces are there? Will guests be charged for parking?
10. Are taxis/rideshares easily accessible from the venue?
11. If a shuttle service is needed, can you assist with setting it up?
12. What overnight accommodations do you provide? Do you offer a discount for booking multiple rooms—or a complimentary room or upgrade for the newlyweds?
13. If no accommodations are available, what are the nearest hotels to the venue?
14. Do you have your own sound equipment and speakers, or will those need to be rented or provided by the entertainment?
15. Are there noise restrictions?
16. Is there anything special happening on-site during that time of year?
17. What is the backup plan for rain or inclement weather?
Pro tip: Be sure to tour this space, as well. While no one wants rain on their wedding day, it definitely happens and it’s important that you love your Plan B just as much as Plan A.
18. Are there "getting ready" rooms available on-site?
19. How much time is allocated for the rehearsal?
20. What is the venue fee and what is included in the total? Does it cover service charges, gratuity, and cleaning fees, or are those additional line items?
21. What are the rates for different days of the week and times (Friday, Saturday, Sunday; morning, afternoon, evening)? What about different seasons?
Pro tip: Some venues offer a discount for booking an off-season date or a Sunday through Friday wedding.
22. How much is the deposit and when is it due? Is it refundable?
23. How do you structure the payment schedule?
Pro tip: Most venues will have you pay a deposit upon signing the contract, and the balance in installments between the day you sign and your wedding date.
24. What is the cancellation policy?
Pro tip: Be sure to find out how long you have to cancel and get your money back (or at least some of it).
VENDORS & SETUP
25. Can we choose our own vendors, or do you have a preferred or exclusive vendor list?
Pro tip: 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.
26. Is there a coordinator on staff? Who will be my main contact?
Pro tip: If they aren’t the person you’re doing your site visit with, ask to meet these contacts in person. Having a good rapport with your main contact will make the planning process much more smooth.
27. Can the venue accommodate a DJ or live band?
28. What security services do you offer?
29. Do you provide a coat check service?
30. What time can my vendors start setting up on the day of the wedding?
31. Will your staff be involved in setting up and breaking down the decor? In what capacity?
Pro tip: 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 & BEVERAGE
32. Do you have an in-house caterer or a list of preferred caterers, or do I need to provide my own? Even if there is an in-house caterer, do I have the option of using an outside caterer instead?
33. If I hire my own caterer, are kitchen facilities available for them?
34. Is there a food and beverage minimum?
Pro tip: 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.
35. What are the tax and service/gratuity charges?
36. Can we do a tasting before we finalize our menu? Is there a charge?
37. Are tables, chairs, linens, plates, silverware, and glassware provided, or will I have to rent them myself or get them through my caterer?
38. Do you have a liquor license?
39. Can I bring my own alcohol and is there a corkage fee?
Pro tip: 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.
40. Is there a fee for bringing our own cake or desserts?
41. Is there a cake-cutting/serving fee?
DECOR & RENTALS
42. What floor plan do you recommend for my guest count?
Pro tip: 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.
43. Are there any decor restrictions? Are candles permitted?
Pro tip: Some venues have restrictions on whether or not you can hang decorations from the ceiling or on the walls. Also, some venues do not allow candles so you may have to opt for LED candles, instead.
44. Do you have signage or other aids to direct guests to my event?
45. Do you provide heaters and/or umbrellas for the outdoor spaces?