Wedding Venue Questions To Ask Before Booking
There are so many options available when it comes to choosing the all important location to celebrate your wedding day.
How do you choose?
Everyone has different criteria when it comes to what is most important.
Some look for an amazing view, others choose based on food.
Some choose based on location and accessibility, whilst others are all about the cost.
There is no wrong or right things to choose your wedding venue, however there are a lot of questions you that you might not have considered.
We have complied an extensive list of questions you should consider before you book your wedding venue.
Wedding Venue Questions
– Is the venue available on the date you want?
This is an obvious question to ask, but still worthwhile putting in our list of questions to ask.
– How many people is the venue capable of seating comfortably?
You don’t want your guests to be crammed in like sardines. Ask how many guests can be seated comfortably.
– What options does the venue have for your ceremony (including wet weather options).
Not all venues have an option to have a ceremony on-site. Check not only if your potential venue has an option, but what options do they have? Do they have a wet-weather option and what does it look like?
– What are the inclusions in their package offerings?
Check what is being included in their package offers. Does it have everything you really need?
Does it have more than you need and you are paying for things you don’t really want?
– How much flexibility is there in the packages offered?
Are alterations permitted when it comes to the packages or are they fixed?
– Who would you be dealing with?
Who would your main contact be when you need to contact the venue?
– How long have they been there?
How long has this contact person been working there? It’s not surprising to see wedding venue staff come and go on a regular basis. It would be ideal if the contact person has been there for a few years so that there is a good chance they will still be there on your wedding day.
– How much experience have they had?
Some venues tend to hire very young and inexperienced staff and leave them in charge of wedding planning. Ideally, you want someone that has had a considerable amount of experience and (if not experience at your venue choice) at least experience in a similar position.
– How many restrooms are there and where?
This could be easily overlooked but can end up being annoying on the wedding night as your guests wait in a cue to use the restroom. Check are they close by to the reception, or is there a walk involved? Consider accessibility for older guests or those with disability.
– Are there any renovations coming up before your wedding?
Check that there are not planned renovations coming date and, if there are, what are these renovations?
What if the renovations completely alter the look you were going for?
When are renovations due for completion?
What if there is a delay in renovation and it’s not complete by your wedding date?
– What is their cancellation policy?
Check what rights you have to cancel should you need to. How much of your deposit will you lose and is there a cut off date for cancellation?
– Are there any other events in the area on the same date?
The venue might not know this, but it’s worthwhile checking for large stadiums, arenas etc in the same area and check the calendar for events that might be taking place on the same date as your wedding. Noise from the event may impact your wedding as well as parking and traffic congestion on the way to the ceremony / reception.
– Is live music allowed?
Some venues have a complete no live music allowed policy. If you are considering a live musician or band, check to see that your venue allows it.
– What is the noise limit?
This is critical. There is no point hiring and paying for entertainment if you can’t hear it! Some venues have noise limits so severe that you are better off not having any music at all. For a fantastic explanation of noise limits and understanding them check this article -> Understanding Noise Limits
– Do they use a sound limiter?
A sound limiter is an electrical powerpoint device that entertainers have to plug all their equipment into. If the sound goes over a certain level, the sound limiter kicks in and cuts the power to the entertainers and typically takes 10 seconds to switch back on. Not only is this completely annoying to the people dancing on the dance floor, it’s also extremely damaging to the sensitive musical equipment and can blow speakers. Most professional entertainers refuse to work in venues that use sound limiters.
– What time is the cut-off for music?
Some venues will allow you to continue your reception long after their music cut-off policy. This really brings the night down as everyone that was having a great time dancing away is then left with silence. Check what time the music cut-off is and ideally this should also be the time your reception finishes too.
– Can my entertainer bring their own sound system, or do they have to go through an in-house system.
Some venues force entertainers to plug into the in-house system. This is very rarely a good thing. Most house systems are old, terrible sounding and have been abused though years of overuse and mistreatment. Most professional entertainers will not accept a job where they can not use their own equipment.
– How big is the dance floor?
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking bigger is better. It’s actually the opposite. Some venues pride themselves on a huge dance floor. This is going to make it look empty all night. A small, intimate dance floor is much more inviting as it looks full of people. A packed small dance floor is much more inviting to a large, sparsely populated dance floor.
– How much space is there for a band?
If you are having a DJ, they don’t need a lot of room, but a band might. Find out how much space they have for the band to set-up. Remembering, if you are having a band with a drummer, a drum kit in itself takes up quite a bit of space along with the other instruments, amplifiers and of course band members themselves. If you have a band in mind, check with them what their space requirements are.
– Can I bring my own entertainer, or do I have to choose one of your list?
Some venues won’t allow you to bring in your own entertainment. Some will only allow you to choose from a list. This is different to a preferred suppliers list. A preferred suppliers list is only their recommendations. Also check which entertainers have been black-listed as there are a few venues I know of that have black-listed a few entertainers and will not allow them under any circumstances back to their venue.
– Is the bar and dance floor in the same room?
Hopefully your bar and dance floor are in the same room. If not, you will have people torn between the dance floor and the bar all night, which isn’t ideal.
– Do we have the option of bringing our own catering?
Most venues have their own in-house catering, however some may have the option of bringing your own catering company.
– How many guests sit at each table?
Check how many guests sit at each table so that you can start to play your seating arrangement.
– If the bar goes to a cash bar, what are the prices?
Some packages have unlimited drinks, some will have you put a certain amount on the bar and then go to a cash bar.
If your guests have to pay for their own drinks, what are the prices? Are they reasonable?
– How many staff are on the bar?
Check how many staff will be allocated to the bar per 25 guests. The last thing you want is a bar 4 guests deep and one bar tender trying to keep up. Guests don’t want to spend the majority of the night standing in line at a bar.
– Is card payment available over the bar?
Check that your guests can pay by card over the bar as most people these days don’t carry much cash.
– What time does the bar close?
If the bar is closing an hour before the end of the reception, how will that impact your night?
– Can we have a tasting of the food before we book?
Is there an option to “try before you buy” when it comes to the food they will be preparing?
– Do you cater to people with dietary requirements?
Consider that these days many people have dietary requirements. Ask them if they have options for people that are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-intolerant, lactose-intolerant, nut and soy allergic as well as low FODMAP. You might not think any of your guests have any dietary requirements, but you might be surprised at how many people will have dietary requirements.
– Is tablecloths, plates and cutlery part of the package?
Check there is no extra charge for these outside of the package price.
– Is there a cake cutting fee?
Some venues will charge a per guest cake cutting fee, or a blanket price. Others do not charge for cake cutting and plating. Know what this is upfront so there is no unexpected charges later.
– Do you permit candles?
Some venues do not allow candles under any circumstances. If this is the case, there are some very realistic alternatives today, but this might not be what you want. Check first to avoid disappointment later if candles are an important part of your styling.
– What sort of lighting does the venue have?
Can you inspect at night time to see how the lights look? You don’t want it too bright and especially over the dance floor. Some venues have bright white lighting which they can’t turn off right over the dance floor. This is the worst possible place for light to be. People feel more comfortable on a dark dancefloor. If there is an option to switch the lights off completely over the dance floor, this is preferrable.
– Is confetti allowed?
Confetti isn’t really that popular anymore, but if your vision is to use confetti, is it allowed? If traditional confetti isn’t allowed, is eco-confetti or flower petals permitted?
– What time can the decorator come in to set-up?
Depending on the amount of decorating your stylist might have to do (if you are having a stylist), when is the earliest they can arrive to start decorating the venue?
– How early can the entertainment arrive to set-up?
Some entertainers need longer to set-up than others. Bands will typically need longer than a DJ. Find out what the earliest time the entertainers could arrive to set-up if they need extra time.
– If our photographer wants to use a drone, is this permitted?
Drone photography and videography is very popular and creates amazing images, however some venues have a strict “no fly” policy that means you will miss out on these types of images. Not a big issue if you were not wanting aerial images anyway, but worthwhile asking.
– Is the use of a dry ice machine permitted?
The “dancing on a cloud” effect is very popular for the first dance. It creates a beautiful, thick plume of cloud at the feet of the dancing couple. Some venues don’t understand the science behind a dry ice effect and confuse it for a “smoke machine” effect, which is completely different. Their lack of understanding the difference has seen some venues have a blanket “no effect machine” policy which can be very dissapointing.
– Where is the smoking area and is it covered?
You might not have any smokers coming to your wedding, but if you do check where the smoking area is and if it is under cover in case it is raining.
– Are there air conditioners / heaters?
If you are having your wedding in winter or summer, check what heating/cooling abilities they have and how effective they are.
– Is overnight accommodation available on-site?
It’s always a nice luxury to be able to stay on-site after partying away. If it is available, how many people can they accommodate.
– If on-site accommodation isn’t available, is there any special deals with nearby accommodation?
Some venues strike up special deals and offers with accommodation close by for their guests. Check to see if this is an option.
– Is the venue disability access friendly?
Even if you don’t have any guests that require disability access, consider that any of us could have an accident and require disability access. A big plus if they have disability access.
– Where are wedding gifts kept after the reception?
After you and all the guests have left, where are they planning on putting your wishing well / wedding gifts for safe keeping?
– Is parking available on-site and how many spaces?
Check that there will be ample parking for your guests to avoid them having a long walk to and from their car.
– Is parking charged?
Some venues that are a part of a resort or hotel will have parking that comes with a fee. If this is the case, is there a discount rate available for your guests?
– Can cars be left overnight?
Some guests might intend to drive home but end up enjoying the bar a little too much so need to leave their car overnight. Is this an option? When must it be collected? Is there an additional charge for keeping it overnight?
– Do taxis / Uber service the area?
Taxis and Ubers do not service all areas, especially if your chosen venue is in a remote location.
We hope these questions may have helped you on the path to choosing the right venue for you.
Not every venue will tick every box, but we hope you can find a venue that ticks most of the right boxes for YOUR day.
Nik & Natalie