Choosing your wedding venue is one of the first big decisions you’ll make when planning your wedding. We recommend visiting venues 12 to 18 months before your wedding to help inspire your other wedding details like your invitations, save the dates and color scheme.
To help you choose the perfect venue, we’ve put together a list of 75 questions to ask when touring potential wedding locations. These questions cover everything from the venue’s vendor policy to logistical issues, like parking and transportation.
Be sure to consider your decor, budget, and wedding theme as you tour wedding venues to make your wedding planning much easier. Whether you’re hiring a wedding planner or having a DIY wedding, keeping this list of questions handy will help you cross off an essential item on your wedding checklist in no time.
Here are some of the first questions to ask on your tour—everything from the venue’s availability to its capacity. These questions will let you know if the venue is right for you from the start. We even suggest asking these before you book a tour to save you some time.
- What’s the availability around my ideal date?
- How many guests can the venue accommodate?
- How many hours are included in the rental?
- What wedding packages do you have, and what’s included in them?
- Do you host more than one event on the same day? If so, how many other events will be booked for the same day as my wedding?
- How far in advance can we reserve a date?
- Is there an outdoor space?
Set-up And Breakdown
To ensure that the beginning and end of your wedding day run smoothly, ask these questions about the setup and breakdown of the space. Generally, if you book an all-inclusive venue, they are in charge of setting up and breaking down the event. However, if you will be bringing in any outside vendors or doing most of the coordination yourself, these are definitely questions you’ll want to ask.
- Who is in charge of the setup, breakdown, and cleaning of the wedding?
- How long do we get for set-up and breakdown?
- What does a typical layout for a wedding look like?
- Do you have any photographs of past weddings you can show me?
- Who will be our main contact at the venue on the day of?
- What time can my vendors begin setting up?
- Do you offer manpower or an extra set of hands during setup and breakdown?
- Is there a cleaning fee?
Decorations And Rentals
Decorations and details, including floral backdrops, lounge furniture, and centerpieces, play a large part in defining a wedding’s style. Some venues have restrictions on the types of decorations you can use—for instance; some locations won’t allow you to hang things from the wall or ceiling. While you’re on your tour, ask some of these questions about the venue’s decoration policies.
- How early can we start decorating?
- Can we go in the day before the wedding to decorate or store items?
- Are there any restrictions on reception decorations that we should know about?
- Can we use candles in our decorations?
- Can we throw confetti or use sparklers?
- Do we need to provide our own place cards, table numbers, or seating chart?
- Do you have decorations available to rent?
- Will you provide signs to direct guests to our reception?
- Do you have any décor, such as vases and candleholders, that we can borrow for our reception?
- Are the facilities decorated, or can we customize their decor as well?
Vendors And Staffing
Before you start looking for florists, caterers, and designers, here are some of the questions you’ll want to ask the venue about vendors and staffing.
- Do you have a list of preferred vendors?
- Can we work with other vendors, or will we need to stick to your recommended list?
- Do you provide a coat check service?
- Do you offer an on-site wedding coordinator?
- What type of security service do you offer?
- Is there a service charge for the staff, and what’s your tipping policy?
- Are there any restrictions for the photographer—are there any places they’re not allowed to photograph, and are they allowed to use flash?
- Do you offer valet?
- Is the bar staffed, or do we need to hire a bartender?
Whether you’re thinking of hiring a DJ or a live band, here are some questions to ask your potential venues about your entertainment.
- Can we bring in a band or DJ?
- What’s your sound system like?
- How many people can the dance floor accommodate?
- Is there a time that we have to stop playing music?
- What time can the DJ or band start setting up?
- Are there any noise restrictions?
- Is there a designated area for entertainment, or can we place them as we see fit?
- What’s the typical sound setup at your venue?
Food And Drinks
From the cocktail hour to the wedding cake, food and drink will play a huge role in your wedding reception. Here are some of the questions to ask the venue about your menu.
- Do you provide in-house catering? Or, do you have a list of preferred caterers?
- Can we do a tasting before we finalize our menu? Is there a charge for the tasting?
- What’s the per-person cost of food and drinks?
- Can you accommodate special diets and allergies?
- Will you provide tables, linens, plates, glassware, and utensils, or will we need to bring in our own?
- What are the different ways you serve food—buffet, family-style, individual plates, etc.?
- Do you have a food and beverage minimum?
- If there is a food and beverage minimum, is there a penalty for not meeting the minimum?
- Are you licensed to provide alcohol?
- Can we bring in our own alcohol? If so, is there a corkage fee?
- Can we give wine as a party favor?
- Are there additional charges for the bar staff?
- Is there a cake-cutting fee?
- Can we bring in a cake from an outside baker?
- Is there a fee for bringing in our own cake?
- What’s the fee per plate for having extra guests on the day of?
Payment And Insurance
It’s always a good idea to ask about the cost of the venue right away––this will avoid any surprises when you receive your final bill and help you stay within your budget. Don’t forget to ask the venue about their insurance and cancellation policies, as well.
- What’s the total cost of the venue, and what’s included in that fee?
- How much is the deposit?
- When is the deposit due?
- Is the deposit refundable?
- What’s your cancellation policy?
- Are there payment plans available?
- What are the insurance requirements for me and my vendors?
- Do you have liability insurance?
- Are there different rates for different days of the week?
- Do you have different rates for different seasons?
- Can I see a sample contract?
- What’s not included in your contract that couples typically need to book or pay for on their own?
It’s always important to ask the venue about logistical considerations, including parking and the accessibility of the space. These questions will help ensure that your wedding goes off without a hitch.
- How much parking is available at the venue, and will guests need to pay for parking?
- Is the space handicap accessible?
- Are there outdoor restrictions at the venue?
- Are children allowed, and are there changing tables for babies?
- Will we have access to the air conditioning or heating controls?
- How many restrooms do you have?
- Are there separate spaces for the cocktail hour, ceremony, and reception?
- If the wedding is outdoors, what’s the backup plan if it rains?
- Is there a special room for the bride to change?
- What’s your electricity like? Are there are a lot of outlets for vendors to use?
- Is there a secure space to keep our gifts?
- Are rideshares/cabs easy to access from the venue?
- Is the venue accessible on public transportation?
- What are the nearest hotels to the venue?
- Will you help us set up a shuttle service to the hotel?
Resources Related to Wedding Venues
Use these questions to help you find the wedding of your dreams. Once you’ve selected the perfect location, you can start planning the smaller details like choosing your signature cocktail, booking your photographer, and the song for your first dance.