You've already said #yes, created a budget and prioritized your vendors (if you need some tips on how to start planning, check out our blog How to Jumpstart Your Wedding Planning!) - now it's time to find the perfect place to say I DO!
To make this important task easier, we've come up with this comprehensive list of questions to ask wedding venues before you visit, while you are viewing the property, and before you sign on the dotted line.
BEFORE YOU VISIT:
When you are planning venue visits make sure that the venue is within your budget, has mostly positive reviews, and can fit your estimate guest count (including a dance floor!). Going through some of these preliminary steps can help you narrow down your search and save time.
Try not to waste time during your walkthrough asking questions that already have detailed responses on the venues website or the information you were sent via email or Honeybook. Some of the questions below can be answered before you even hop on a call with the sales coordinator.
Using the guidelines below, make a list of questions to ask during your visit, including some must haves-ceremony on site, flexibility to bring your moms famous chocolate chip cookies for your dessert bar, etc.
Also look at their social media to scope out spots for your ceremony or first look!
TIP: Take photos of the space so you can refer back to them later.
What dates are available in the month I'm considering?
How many people can this location accommodate?
What is the rental fee and what's included in that price?
How many hours does the rental fee include, and is there an overtime fee if I stay longer?
Can I have my ceremony here, too? Is there an additional cost?
Do you host more than one event per day?
Are there changing areas for both sides of the wedding party?
How much time is allocated for the rehearsal?
What is the backup plan for rain or inclement weather?
PAYMENTS, POLICIES, INSURANCE
How much is the deposit, when is it due, and is it refundable?
What's the payment plan for the entire bill? What forms of payment do you accept?
What is included in the total? Does it cover service charges, gratuity, and cleaning fees, or are those additional line items?
Do you have liability insurance?
Cancellation/Postponement Insurance: In case of unpredictable illness, inclement weather, no-show vendors, damage to gifts or to the wedding attire, etc.
What's the cancellation policy? COVID cancellation policy?
What's your weather contingency (backup) plan for outdoor spaces?
FOOD + DRINKS
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?
How many hours can we have our open bar?
Are tables, linens, chairs, plates, silverware, and glassware provided, or will I have to rent them myself or get them through my caterer?
Can I bring in a cake from an outside baker or do I have to use a cake made on site?
Is there a cake-cutting fee?
Can we bring our own wine, beer or champagne? What about hard liquor?
Is there a corkage fee?
Are you licensed to provide alcohol service?
DECOR + RENTALS
Are we allowed to bring in our own decorations?
Are there any décor restrictions (hanging items, candles, etc.)?
Do you have an inventory of décor (lighting, candle holders, vases, etc.) we can borrow from?
Can I move things around or do I have to leave everything as is?
Can we use candles/confetti/sparklers/fireworks/lawn games/food trucks?
Do you have signage or other aids to direct guests to my event?
When can vendors arrive for setup?
Will your staff be involved in setting up and breaking down the décor? In what capacity?
VENDORS + STAFFING
Can I hire my own vendors or is there a preferred vendor list?
Can the venue accommodate a DJ or live band?
Is there a venue manager that will be there on the day of the wedding?
Is there a separate space for cocktail hour?
Do you have a sound system and/or microphones for speeches?
Are there any noise restrictions?
Is there parking on site and if so, is it complimentary or is it a parking garage? If not, where will my guests park?
Are cabs/rideshares (like Uber, Lyft, etc.) easily accessible from the venue?
If a shuttle service is needed, who do you recommend?
Is the site handicap accessible?
AFTER YOU VISIT:
Right after you say goodbye to your tour guide, make some quick notes in your phone about what you loved about the venue and follow up questions you have.
If you love the venue, ask them about their booking process, but if you choose to go in a different direction, just send them a quick email thanking them for their time and explaining that you went with another option.
Here is a quick template:
Dear FABULOUS VENUE/SALES COORDINATOR,
Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with us for a tour on DATE. We loved the INSERT SPECIFIC THING YOU LOVED ABOUT THE VENUE (high ceilings, beautiful ceremony space, epic views, etc.). We have concluded our venue search and have decided to move forward with another venue. We appreciate your time and hope that you have a wonderful wedding season!
Do you have more questions about how to choose your venue?? Send us a message via email or hop over to our contact page to start your wedding planning journey!
Still not convinced you need a wedding planner? See what our sweet couples have to say about working with us: