What Questions To Ask A Wedding Venue
Are you wondering whether you have asked all the right questions while scouting wedding venues?
Do you already have a location picked out and are in need of a compass for planning out the details of your wedding?
What if you get a surprise later because you didn’t realize what you should have asked?
To find your way in the forest, utilize the following list of key questions, so you don’t have to wonder whether you are leaving anything unanswered.
Work through them frequently and cross-check with your specific situation during the months leading up to your wedding.
What Questions To Ask A Wedding Venue During The Initial Phone Call
To stay on the path, make sure you go over these essential seven topics when contacting wedding venues.
- Capacity: How many guests can your space accommodate for example for a ceremony followed by a cocktail reception followed by dinner & dance with space for a band?
- What if you didn’t want a seated dinner? What then would the capacity be for a cocktail-reception-style wedding with limited seating only?
- Minimum guarantee: What is the required minimum number of guests, and what is the maximum your rooms can hold should your guest count increase?
- Pricing: How much does your wedding package cost per person, including the service charge and tax?
- Wedding package: what is included in the wedding package?
- how many hours of open bar and wine service are covered?
- does the wedding package include hors d’oeuvres plus food stations during the cocktail hour?
- how many courses are served during dinner?
- how many choices of entrees are available?
- is the wedding cake included?
- Ceremony: can the venue accommodate the wedding service?
- Venue fee: what is the site fee, with or without the ceremony?
- Dates: what dates are available in your date range?
The venue should follow up with a comprehensive wedding proposal. To make the financial side more manageable for you, ask the caterer if they could include an estimate.
When scheduling a site visit, ask the wedding venue if there is a possibility to come by on the day of a real-life wedding before guests arrive. There will never be a better opportunity to see what it will be like on your wedding day.
Wedding Venue Checklist – Questions To Ask During the Wedding Site Visit
After your initial call to the wedding venue, you would eventually need more information.
When you begin to plan your wedding, it may often feel like exploring uncharted waters as you are juggling to keep your vision alive while taking care of business at the same time.
Vision: a beautiful, memorable, fun event for friends and family to gather and celebrate.
Taking care of Business: signing contracts, managing logistics & deadlines, working with a whole new team of professionals and vendors.
When you are at the wedding venue and view the rooms, revisit the capacities & layouts of each space with the salesperson based on your personal specific setup. Ask if they have a copy of sample floor plans and or photos to envision the setups better.
Questions About The Setup Of The Wedding Ceremony
- How many rows of chairs will there be in the room? And how many people are seated in each row on each side of the aisle? This question will help you figure out how many family members can be seated in the first and second row on each side of the aisle.
- How wide is the aisle? (if you are thinking of, i.e., pillar candles in glass cylinders going down on each side of the center aisle or using any other type of decoration that would need extra space, or if you are worried your wedding dress could be too elaborate)
- Will there be any side aisles?
- Can the venue provide a platform or stage riser (if you prefer that look) in the front of the room?
- Does the venue provide a complimentary microphone & sound system for the officiant? Are additional mics for readings available, if needed?
- Does the venue have note stands for readings and musicians?
- Will there be any beverages butler-passed during the invitations as guests arrive for the ceremony?
- Is there a space for any early arriving guests?
- Where would the musicians be located?
Questions To Ask About The Layout Of The Cocktail Reception
- How many bars will there be?
- How many high-top tables will be used?
- How many cocktail tables will be used, and how many chairs will be at each cocktail table?
- Where would the food stations (if applicable) be located?
- Where would the musicians be located during the cocktail reception?
Questions To Ask About The Dinner & Dance
- Do you have both round and rectangular dinner tables available?
- How many guests can be seated at each table?
- If applicable, where would a sweetheart table be set up?
- Where would the wedding cake be displayed?
- Where would the dance floor be located? Does the venue provide a (i.e. wooden) dance floor?
- Where would the music (band of DJ) be located?
- Is there space, if applicable, for a photo booth, candy station, or whatever fun action station you may have in mind?
- Where would the bar(s) be located in the ballroom?
- What do your banquet chairs look like?
- Do you have a stage riser for the band or DJ (if applicable)?
- What complimentary linens are available?
- If applicable, where would party favors for your guests be set up?
- Where would the sign-in book, gift card box, and photo frames go once you moved from the cocktail reception room into dinner and dance space?
Questions To Ask About The Financial Aspects And Pricing Of Our Wedding
- How much is the initial deposit, and when is it due?
- When is the full prepayment due?
- Does the venue accept standard credit cards? (if you are using the right credit cards this is a great way to accumulate points). Can you use multiple credit cards?
- What is the cancellation policy?
- Can the deposit be reapplied to a future event if the original date doesn’t work any longer?
- Can you put a “soft hold” on a date without paying a deposit, and can the venue contact you if another couple wants that same date?
- Are there any additional labor fees that are not factored into the wedding package already (i.e., bartenders, bathroom attendants, security, engineers, or others) you should know about?
- Are there any hidden or on-a-need-to-know miscellaneous charges you should be aware of? i.e., extra power/electricity if needed for a band or DJ or other vendors that require additional power; or hidden early-day setup fees, or union staff-related surcharges (i.e., a cake cutting fee should you provide a wedding cake from an outside vendor)?
- Overtime: how much is overtime? What does it include, and when does it apply?
- Does overtime pay include a continuous bar?
- Are your prices flexible depending on the day of the week (i.e., Saturday vs. Sunday vs. a weekday)?
- Are your prices flexible depending upon the time of the year (different seasons)?
- Are your prices yielding around (major) holidays?
- Can the venue provide a cost estimate, including all labor charges, service charges, and taxes?
- How much is the service charge?
- How much are the taxes?
- If your final guest count falls below the contracted minimum, could the difference be applied to an upgrade on the menu?
Questions To Ask About Details Of Your Wedding Menu
- Does the venue use an outside caterer, or do they have their own Chef and team?
- If needed, can the Chef create a unique menu based on geographical background or countries of origin’s cuisine, such as Texas-style barbeque (US) or Spanish Paella (Europe)?
- Could the Chef customize existing items on the menu if needed? (i.e., replacing the sauce, starch, or vegetables for a specific entree)
- Do you offer vegetarian and/or vegan alternative menu options?
- What is an example of a vegetarian option?
- Are gluten-free guests provided with an option?
- How will you handle any food allergies if guests have allergies to specific foods?
- Do you include a complimentary tasting, and how many guests could attend?
- Is the wedding cake included?
- What designs are available for the wedding cake?
- Could the wedding cake replace dessert to save costs?
- How many choices of entrees are available? (i.e., a selection of fish and beef, or whatever other two options)
- Assuming that there are two entrees available, is a vegetarian option counted as one of the two choices, or is it viewed as merely a “silent” third option without extra costs?
- Do the waiters take the orders for the entree choices at the dinner tables as guests take their seats, or would you need to provide the exact number of entrees ahead of time?
- How many courses will be served during the dinner?
- If the venue only includes a single plated dessert that is the same for everyone, could they instead allow two alternating desserts without charging additionally?
Questions To Ask About The Bar And Wines At Your Wedding
- What kinds of white and red wine will be served? (mention what wines you like, i.e., for the white: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, etc., and for the red Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, etc.)
- Could the venue accommodate a wine upgrade if you are not happy with their basic house wines, and how much extra would it be?
- Could you taste the wine or buy a bottle, unless you can try it during the wedding tasting?
- Is sparkling wine or Champagne included at the bar and during dinner?
- Could the venue make a Bride & Groom signature cocktail or his & hers drinks at the bar?
- Does the venue provide a full premium bar?
- How long is the bar open?
Explore how you could save on the wine at your wedding. This will, of course, depend on the venue’s rules and local liquor laws. If it is a “yes” find out about the following:
- Could you provide the wine?
- Would there be a corkage fee?
- Could the venue waive the corkage fee if the wine you would provide is to replace the venue’s wine provided the wedding package price stays the same?
- How many cases of wine (both white & red and possibly sparkling wine or Champagne) would be needed if you brought it?
Questions To Ask About Staffing Levels At The Wedding Venue
- What is the ratio of guests to waiters per table during dinner?
- What is the ratio of guests to waiters during the cocktail reception?
- How many bartenders will be working at the wedding?
- How many bars will be in the room, both during cocktails and dinner?
- Who will be your main on-site contact during the planning stage and on the day of the wedding?
- Do you need a wedding planner?
- Is there security on site? Is the fee included?
- Will there be any bathroom attendants? Is the fee included?
- Is coat check service included?
Questions To Ask About The Design And Entertainment At The Wedding Venue
- Are there any restrictions for using lit taper, votive, or pillar candles? (i.e., on the dinner tables, cocktail tables)
- Does the venue provide complimentary candles? (if yes, what kind, and how many per table?)
- Does the venue provide printed menus for each place setting on the dinner tables?
- If this is part of your vision, are there any restrictions for bringing confetti cannons, using bubbles, rose petals, throwing rice, using sparklers, using smoke machines, balloons, outside vendor food trucks, and other “items” that you have in mind to use? You must get approval from the venue for using any type of “entertaining” items.
- If needed, does the venue provide complimentary chair covers?
- Ask if the venue has a piano on-site and if the musicians can use it? Is there a fee for using the piano?
Additional Miscellaneous Questions To Ask Your Wedding Venue
- What day can you drop off and store wedding items at the venue? These items could include: printed menus, escort cards, individual place cards for each place setting, favors, programs, gift bags for overnight guests, signs for specialty cocktails on bars, customized cocktail napkins, sign-in book, gift envelope box, personal picture frames for display, etc.
- Do you have to use the venue’s vendors (i.e., florist, entertainment, photographer, furniture and or linen rental companies, etc.), or can you provide your own?
- Does the venue have a recommended vendors list?
- Do you require a Certificate of Liability Insurance from any outside vendors (i.e., florists, chair and furniture rental companies, bands and DJs, photographers, lighting companies, productions companies, wedding planners, food truck vendors, and others)?
- How many hours before the wedding can the vendors start setting up?
- How much time do the vendors have to break down and remove all rentals and equipment, flowers, vases, etc. after the wedding?
- Does the venue provide all the chairs, tables, plates, silverware, glassware, and linens?
- Does the venue offer any discounted overnight rooms for out-of-town guests? If not can, can they recommend any hotels in the vicinity?
- Bridal suite: if your wedding is at a hotel, does the venue include a complimentary overnight room or suite for the bride & groom?
- Is the venue wheelchair accessible (ADA compliant)?
- How many bathrooms are available? Are they shared with other events that may take place at the venue?
- Is there a cut-off time for music, and are there any noise restrictions?
- Does the venue provide any type of audio-visual equipment (complimentary or paid)? (i.e., microphones with a sound system for the ceremony and during dinner for speeches?)
- Does your wedding venue have a fun space for a post-wedding party?
- Can the venue accommodate a rehearsal dinner on the night before the wedding or a post-wedding brunch the following day?
- Does the venue provide a wedding hotel room block (i.e., the location is a hotel) at discounted rates?
- Lighting levels: is the lighting on dimmers and adjustable during the evening? (some venue adjust the lighting levels during the evening and progressively dim the lights)
Questions To Ask Your Wedding Venue About Logistics
- Parking: what parking options are available? Are there any additional costs?
- Will your staff usher guests from one room to another? (i.e., from the ceremony to the cocktails to the dinner & dance)
- How much time do you allow for each portion of the event: the ceremony, the cocktail reception, and dinner & dance?
- Are there any dressing rooms to get ready during the day for the bride and groom and wedding party, and are they included in the wedding package?
- Can you keep the dressing rooms until the conclusion of the event?
- Is there a secure room where you can store wedding gifts?
- How many weddings are hosted at the venue a year? (this may give you a clue to figure out if you are at a wedding conveyor belt venue)
- How many hours of using the event space are included in the wedding package?
- Are there any other events using your space or other rooms on the day of the wedding before, during, or after?
- Escort cart table: where can the escort cards be displayed? What kind of table is available? Who will set up the escort cards?
- Where would you put a table for a wedding gift card box, picture frames, and sign-in book?
- If the ceremony is at the same venue, would it be possible to rehearse the ceremony the day before?
- If you are booking an outdoor space, does the venue have indoor space as a backup plan for rain or other weather conditions that would interrupt the wedding?
- How much notice is necessary for moving an outdoor wedding indoors, and are there additional costs?
- Would the venue’s staff help set up and break down any decor/props or items not directly provided by the venue?
- Is there a nearby room suitable for children or babies if you are to hire a babysitter?
Questions To Ask For A Kosher Wedding At A Non-kosher Venue
- Do you have the capacity to host a kosher wedding?
- Who is your kosher caterer?
- Can I use my own kosher caterer?
- Can the caterer kosher your ovens, surfaces, and other appliances?
- What is the pricing of your kosher wedding package?
- What surcharges do apply, if any, i.e., for additional labor needed (such as Rabbis, extra Chefs, Stewards, Attendants at Food Stations)
- Does your package include kosher white & red wine (mevushal), kosher champagne, and kosher spirits on the bar?
- Does the caterer include a kosher wedding cake?
- Does the kosher caterer provide the silver & china?
- Can you set up hand washing stations?
- Do you include a challah bread for the blessing?
- Does the venue have extra space for additional ceremonies on the wedding day such as signing the ketubah, separate receptions for bride and groom, the bedeken, the yichud?
When it comes to the venue of your wedding, you’ll need all the right questions answered. Use the above lists to help you on specific topics to lead you through the planning process.
There are definitely more details and questions to be considered as you move closer to your big day. But when you have reviewed and implemented the above points, you find yourself on solid ground and ready to continue to the next stage.