When you’re planning a wedding, you and your partner have a lot to think about. Perhaps one of the biggest decisions that you’ll make for your wedding day is the location. Your venue really sets the mood for your guests, and it’s where you’ll spend the day. It can be expensive and is a huge undertaking in your wedding planning. So, how do you find a wedding venue that will make your guests happy, and how will you know you’re making the best decision? There are a lot of boxes to check off when you’re touring wedding venues to make sure you’re making the best decision for you and your partner.
To make your search easier, we put together a list of wedding venue questions to ask so that you don’t miss a single detail! We’ll share some of our best tips, things to look for in a wedding venue, and things to watch out for. As you start to gather information, break out your wedding planner, or put together a Google Sheet or an Excel Spreadsheet to keep everything in one place!
Starting your research...
As you start your wedding venue research, it’s important to keep in mind the amenities offered by the venues and how much they’re going to cost you. That’s going to play a huge part in the types of venues that will work for you. When starting your research, you and your partner should ask yourself these questions:
- What is our budget? It’s important to know your budget and to stick with it. You don’t want to spend too much on a venue and have to skimp on other important details. Keep in mind many venues have different rates for specific days of the week and various times of the year.
- Where do we want our venue to be? Decide if you want an indoor or an outdoor venue and where you want it to be located. You should consider choosing a venue that’s convenient for your guests and easy to get to from the ceremony if your ceremony is in a different space.
- What is our wedding theme? Will you let the venue dictate the theme and mood of your wedding, or do you need to find a venue that fits the mood you want? The venue really sets the tone of your day.
- Are we looking for an all-inclusive venue? You might want a wedding location that provides catering, entertainment, and decor, or you might want a barebones location that you can fill with your own decorations, food options, etc.
After you’ve narrowed down your options…
Things like budget, theme, and location are going to narrow down your options to a point where you can start asking more questions that will lead you to scheduling venue tours! This is the exciting part! You get to walk through potential locations where you will celebrate the beginning of your marriage! To make sure it’s a perfect day, consider these:
- Is this venue available for our wedding date? First and foremost - is the venue available on your wedding day? If not, are you willing to change other plans to accommodate the availability of the venue?
- What is the layout of the venue? Make sure the layout and spaces available at the location fit your needs. If you’ll be hosting a cocktail hour before dinner, do you want it in a separate space, or in the same room/location as your dinner and dancing? If you want a big dance floor, you’ll want to make sure there’s enough space for that, too.
- What is included in the booking cost? Many venues offer a variety of packages depending on the length of time you plan to rent the space, the catering options available, and any decor that you’ll need. Get a detailed outline of the costs and what’s included so you can choose a package that’s right for you.
- How long can we rent the space for? Some venues kick you out at a certain time, but you may have other plans to keep the party going. Make sure you’ve discussed a rough time frame with your fiancé so you can keep this in mind.
- Are there any extra items included with the venue rental? Some venues offer linens, chairs, lighting, and more. Some don’t. If you don’t want to lift a finger on your wedding day, you will want to consider visiting venues that offer all-inclusive services. Many venues require that you set the space up and tear it down the same night of the wedding.
- Is there enough parking for my guests or is transportation available? You’ll want to make sure there’s enough parking for the size of your wedding. Some venues have partnerships with local hotels that provide transportation to and from your location. If that is important to you and your guests, it is worth noting.
It’s time to visit venues!
At this point you’ve started to create a list of wedding locations you want to check out in person. These visits are going to tell you even more about the venues that are going be the best fit for your day. It’s also an important time to ask even more questions. Here’s a list of questions to ask on your tour.
- How much parking is available and will guests be charged for parking?
- Are there enough bathrooms for our guests?
- Is the site handicap accessible?
- What type of AV equipment, like speakers and microphones, are available?
- Are there any noise restrictions? This is especially important for outdoor venues.
- If your venue is outdoors, what kind of backup plans are available for inclement weather?
- What type of decor is provided and are there any restrictions on decor that can be brought in (confetti, for example)?
- Does the venue have liability insurance in cases of injury or damage?
- What are other people saying about this venue?
- Is there a list of preferred vendors that the location recommends working with?
- How much is the deposit?
- Is there a payment plan available?
- Does the total cost include gratuity, cleaning fees, and other additional charges?
- What is the cancellation policy?
- If we’d like to make changes to our reservation, when is the last day we can do that?
After you’ve visited your select list of wedding reception locations, you’ll have plenty of details to start making a decision. In fact you will probably have other questions pop up along the way too! Don’t feel silly or demanding asking so many questions. It’s your day. You deserve all the information you need to make a decision. When you’re ready to decide on a venue, you’ll know that you’ve chosen a venue that will provide the perfect scene for your wedding day!