The most comprehensive list of questions you NEED to be asking the venues you're scoping :: HINT :: Use our FREE downloadable PDF!
So, you have a list of wedding venues you're TOTALLY pumped to check out with your fiance. What now? What do you ask them? What are you looking for? And what's a service charge?! Well never fear, soon-to-be-newlyweds, Double G Events is here with the most comprehensive (and EASY to understand!) list of questions you need to be asking your venues! Along with a FREE (yes, free!) downloadable question guide at the bottom! Let's dive in!
1. Are my preferred wedding dates available? The biggest question and the number one way to knock out a possible venue, if they don't have the date you're looking for!
2. How many guests will this venue accommodate? Cause you've got a LOT of friends, and you want them all to be able to celebrate with you, of course!
3. How much cha-ching will your venue cost me? Are there discounts for the off season (November-March)? Will there be hidden fees such as a service charge for food and beverage, gratuity, cleaning fees, or overtime charges? What is the deposit amount and is it refundable? What's the cancellation policy? Is there a payment plan option? Will there be a discount for paying in full up front?
4. How many hours are included in the rental? How long do you get to party?! When will your guests be expected to leave? Do these hours include load-in and load-out?
5. Can we hold the ceremony here as well? Will there be an additional fee? Is the ceremony space close to the reception? Will there be areas for the bride and groom to get ready (and maybe freak out just a little...I mean HELLO you've been waiting for this day your whole life)! How much time will be allocated for the rehearsal? How many people can the ceremony accommodate? How will you transition from the ceremony into the reception?
6. Is the site handicap accessible? For your guests with restricted mobility.
7. How many bathrooms are available? I mean, no one wants to miss the first dance because they're waiting to pee ...
8. Is there a complimentary coat check? Mostly important in the fall and winter months when guests won't want to be burdened with keeping track of their outerwear.
9. What's the deal with the decor? Can you move things around to suit your needs? Are there decoration guidelines or restrictions? Can you use real candles or do they have to be flameless? What's the lighting situation (is there dimmable and romantic lighting? Can you bring in string lighting and alternate lighting)? Are there enough electrical outlets for your requirements?
10. For food, do you have an in-house caterer or do you use preferred vendors? Can you do a tasting before finalizing your menus? Is there a charge for the tasting? And if you don't like any of their catering options, can you bring in an outside caterer? Is there a kitchen available for their use?
11. Can I hire an outside cake designer or do you have one on-site? Is there a cake cutting fee? Are cake cutting utensils provided?
12. Do you have a hosted bar, an open bar, or a combination of the two? Everyone enjoys a libation or two...or three...at a wedding. Will you pay per drink, per consumption, or per hour, or a combination? Are there additional charges for the bar staff? Is there a bar minimum? What is the average bill for a wedding my size (you want to cry ahead of time, not after).
13. Is there complimentary parking on-site? Will they also offer a valet service, and what is the fee associated with that? If there is no on-site parking, where will the guests park? Will there be a shuttle service for your guests (grandma won't want to walk a mile in heels).
14. Is there a complimentary shuttle service from the site of the ceremony to the reception for the wedding party? If not can they help to set that up?
15. Do you have a facility coordinator and will he or she be our point person? Will they be available leading up to, the day before, and the day of the wedding? Is there an additional fee for this service? Will they help with the set up and tear down of the decor? Be specific when asking these particular questions. There is a BIG difference between a Venue Coordinator and a Wedding Planner (like us!) with the main difference being that the Venue Coordinator works for the venue and Wedding Planners work for YOU! Be sure to ask what the venue and Venue Coordinator is willing to do and what they are not throughout the planning process and if you need extra help, you know who to call! Hint ... hint ...
16. Are table, chairs, linens and silverware provided? Are there multiple options? Can you bring in rented options from outside vendors or caterers?
17. Are there restrictions on what music can be played? AKA will you be able to bump all the Beyonce you want? Are there noise restrictions? Is there room to accommodate a DJ or live band? Can you hire a band or DJ or do you need to use one on-site? Do they supply the speakers, microphone and equipment or will that need to be rented? What size is the dance floor, so that you can dab and wobble without bumping into tables?
18. Do you offer security services? Your wedding will be the party of the century, after all, and although Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson may be hilarious, wedding crashers are not invited. Unless they are actually Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson!
19. Do you have liability insurance? Having legal issues because someone tripped and broke an ankle on the DJ booth isn't on your wedding wishlist.
20. Do you provide overnight accommodations? And will there be a discount for booking a block of rooms? Is there a complimentary room or upgrade available for the newlyweds? Will your provide a list of hotels in the area?
21. Will there be other weddings booked on the same day as mine? You prefer to have the place to yourselves. This is your wedding day, do you really want to see another bride as you and your sweetheart are about to do your first look?
22. Are there any restrictions for the photographer? Flash photography sometimes isn't allowed if you have your reception at venues such as a museum.
23. Is there an outdoor space available? Will it be heated or cooled if necessary? If not will you be able to bring in rented lamps or fans? Is it protected from the elements? Do they have a tent available for use if not or can you bring in a rented tent? Is there a backup plan for rain or inclement weather?
24. Is set-up the day before possible? What time can vendors start setting up? Is there a loading dock and elevator for vendors and the caterer to load in and out? How early can deliveries be made? Does the venue provide assistance with getting the gifts and decor back to the car and hotel at the conclusion?
That's way more questions than you ever expected for a venue, right? I know. You're welcome. And just in case that wasn't quite helpful enough, I've got a little gift for the organized bride. Of course I always suggest using a wedding planner (like US!) to help ease the navigation of venue questions and contracts, but for those who choose to go at it solo, I've created a FREE downloadable PDF checklist (just because I love you!) for your convenience. You can either check off the questions/points that fit with what you're looking for, or check off each as they're answered to make sure you've covered all your questions...whatever is easiest for you! Good luck and happy planning!