Is there anything more exciting than touring a wedding venue you know you’re going to love?
Not really, which is why it’s so easy to get swept up in the beauty of the space and forget all about the logistical questions you need to ask.
There’s far more to discuss than just the price tag.
Does the venue own tables and chairs that you can use for your ceremony and reception, or will you be responsible for bringing in rentals?
Is there a backup plan in the event of inclement weather, or is it up to the couple to make that decision themselves?
Who will be on hand on the big day, ensuring everything goes off without a hitch?
There are also the less glamorous questions, like what the restrooms look like and can they accommodate your desired number of guests?
So you’ve researched some professional wedding venues and narrowed the list down to a few of your potential favourites.
What’s next? Visiting the actual site so you can see exactly what it’s like.
But before you head out on your tours, there are some questions you should ask your wedding venue.
While it’s essential to see the venue in person, there are critical things to ask about for planning purposes.
For example, you want to ensure there’s enough parking if your guests are driving in for the occasion.
Or, if sure guests require ADA-compliant facilities, you should confirm that your selected venue has those.
With everything from bathrooms to alcohol restrictions to cancellation policies, our list of wedding venue questions should have you covered. Check out our extensive list of Wedding Photographers in Melbourne to help capture your special moments.
See all the questions to ask your wedding venue on your site tour below.
Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue Before Your Tour
First things first, you have to set up the virtual tour. So, before setting foot on the premises, consider confirming these three essential details.
After all, you don’t want to fall in love with a venue that’s outside of your budget or isn’t available on your selected date.
Call or email your potential venues to set up an official visit—then ask them about these three points.
The Basics Of What To Ask Your Wedding Venue
If the entire venue cost (not just the minimum) doesn’t fit within your budget, you may have to move on unless you’re open to cutting something else.
If you have your heart set on a specific date and aren’t flexible about moving it, hopefully, the venue has it open—otherwise, you’ll have to keep looking.
This will likely be the most apparent yes or no decision about your venue: If you’re envisioning a rustic, romantic atmosphere but you’re touring a sleek, modern loft, you’ll probably cross the space off your list immediately.
Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue During the Tour
Ceremony, Reception Or Both
Do you need to ask yourself how many venues will you need for your wedding day? For example, do you want a platform to host your ceremony and reception, or would you prefer a church ceremony with the party in a completely different setting?
An obvious point, yes, but knowing if your search entails 1 or 2 locations will help begin your planning journey.
Not the obvious questions such as what’s your capacity and can I see the menu options, but here are the details you need to know that may have slipped your mind:
When it Comes to Décor, What Are the Rules?
Some venues are very relaxed and let you decorate the space as you choose, while others have strict rules about what can and cannot be done.
Some other questions you might ask are:
Can I use real candle flame? Is it safe to dig for tent stakes? Do I need certifications for outdoor-rated lighting?
Most companies can help you out with this, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Is There a Kitchen on Site?
From a catering perspective, the most important questions relate to infrastructure: Is there a kitchen onsite? Does it have cooking equipment, or is it just a staging area?
How far is it from the guest service area? If not, how do caterers usually set up at the venue?
Does the venue provide tenting for caterers? Power? Running water? Parking? Access in advance or after the event?
These are all great questions to ask, as any gaps may ultimately affect the cost of your catering.
What Services Do You Include?
Different venues provide different services, and it’s essential to understand exactly what support your venue offers.
A ‘will vs. won’t’ is often geared toward service—your venue may offer to set out the place cards but won’t be responsible for creating your seating charts.
A ‘can vs. can’t’ usually comes down to the fine print and non-negotiable terms.
For example, the capacity, noise ordinances, types of vehicles permitted on site, and event end time may be set in stone. No matter how good your relationship is with the event venue, you can’t change these.
Does Your Venue Have Load in and Load Out Terms?
The amount of time your vendors have to set and strike your event will impact your expenses.
Venues that take only one event per weekend and allow a flexible schedule installation and strike are always looked upon favourably.”
What Is the Bathroom Situation?
Be sure to visit the restrooms and assess if they are appropriate for your guests and the number of them.
This way, you can budget restroom trailers or decor for the existing restrooms from the start!
What Is Your Availability?
It’s easy to get caught up in the love of a venue, and if you have a set date in mind, it’s best to check before diving headfirst into planning logistics of a specific location only to be disheartened down the road.
So, do your due diligence and add this to the top of your venue question checklist!
Are There Any Alcohol Limitations?
If you have visions of cocktails flowing at your wedding, be sure to ask if the venue has any limitations on serving alcohol.
Some venues, especially wineries, are not licensed to serve alcohol, and it could be a disappointment if you later learn your guest can only drink beer and wine.
Does the Property Allow Multiple Events in the Same Day?
Inquire about additional events that also may be taking place on your wedding day. If other weddings are taking place, how will the on-property staff handle multiple events?
You will want to ensure that you have a team of staff solely designated for your wedding.
Do We Need to Flip the Space?
If you plan to host your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception at one venue, find out if the venue needs to reuse the ceremony space to accommodate the dinner reception.
If so, this will impact other vendors, like your band and florist, since they will only have one hour to get equipment into position or to set the dinner tables.
You’ll want to be sure that both are prepared with a large enough team to make the flip as seamless as possible.
What Are Your Recommendations for Guest Transportation?
Don’t forget about transportation when it comes to your venue—how your guests arrive/depart is essential to keep in mind during your planning.
Here are some suggested questions to ask regarding transportation:
Is a shuttle mandatory to/from the property and local accommodations? Do you offer valet parking? If not, can we bring in service for this? Is there a designated parking area for guests?
Will You Be the Person Handling My Wedding, and Will You Be at My Wedding Overseeing All the Details?
It is essential to understand who you will be working with throughout the planning process and on your wedding day when touring a venue.
What Is Our Rain Plan?
Always make sure to see the backup space in case of inclement weather.
You do not want to be in a situation where you have to move your wedding indoors, and they have unattractive space, or worse, no room available!
Will My Ceremony Be Legal?
Many venues will hold ceremonies but may not have a licence for it to be legally binding.
This could mean popping to your local registry office before the day, which for some can be seen as a formality but for others a disappointment.
Keep this in mind, especially if you are thinking of a destination wedding. Different countries hold different rules on the legality of ceremonies.
Which Rooms Are Licensed for Ceremonies?
Ask which rooms are licensed to hold ceremonies.
Rooms must be individually licensed, so it may not be possible to get married in any room in the building.
Most large venues usually choose rooms, some for more intimate ceremonies and others for large gatherings.
What Is Plan B If Your Reception or Ceremony Is Due to Be Held Outside and it Rains?
If you plan to get married and have an outside reception, you will need a carefully crafted plan for bad weather.
Some venues will always have a marquee in place for the season, making it easy to move under cover; others will use a function or banqueting room. Looking for a Wedding Photo Location? Look no further. Brighton Savoy has compiled an ultimate list of wedding photo locations to help you choose.
Look carefully at all the alternatives and discuss at what point before the decision would be made to move indoors to allow time for set up and decoration.
Are Outside Caterers Allowed?
If you would like to bring your caterers, make sure you ask this pretty early on and ask about the facilities available to your caterers.
For example, the caterers you want may require full use of a kitchen; make sure the venue offers something.
Do You Have Any Sample Menus?
Most venues will have sample menus you can look at.
If this isn’t the case and you are obliged to use the venue’s recommended suppliers, ask to discuss the type of food they produce and begin conversations to ensure you are happy with the food on offer.
If you’re in love with the venue but not the menu, discuss the options to go off the menu and add bespoke items before you rule them out completely.
If You Intend to Have a Paid Bar, Are There Any Restrictions?
Find out if there is a minimum spend required on the day for a paid bar, and if so, calculate your expectations on meeting this.
How Be Many Bar Staff Will Available?
Be honest with your potential venues; say things like my family celebrates with a few beers.
You don’t want your guests frustrated in a massive queue waiting too long. Suitable wedding venues will consider your numbers and have everything under control, but any information you can give them will help your day run more smoothly.
Can I Bring My Entertainment?
Please don’t assume you can book in your favourite band; there may be stipulations such as using their resident DJ only.
Go through your entertainment plans carefully to ensure that the venue can accommodate what you want.
It would help if you considered the physical aspects of music and lighting and special effects and the extent of the venue’s licensing arrangements.
Is There a Noise Limit?
Another critical question, especially if you want your favourite or a full brass band to perform, is the venue’s rules on noise limits.
Due to the resident or other premises’ proximity, it’s worth asking before you lose your deposit on that expensive band.
It’s also good to consider that many performers will be aware of noise limiters and may offer a smaller group, so you get the style you want without exceeding the venue’s limit.
What Time is Will You Be Asking Me to Leave?
If you would like to party through the night, make sure this is discussed with your venue.
Sometimes there is a specific drink licence or entertainment cut off time, and the premises will need to be cleared, including decorations, by a particular time.
Sometimes late licence fees can be negotiated.
Are There Any Additional Provisions Made for Children?
Suppose you have children or find your guestlist involves many. In that case, it’s worth asking if additional provisions are available, be it an allocated room or whether they provide toys or outdoor play equipment.
Some venues are super child friendly and have thought about every eventuality, and some are the complete opposite; no matter how small the question, ask away instead of leaving it to last-minute panic.
What Provision Is Made for Disabled People or Those With Limited Mobility?
Discuss options for guests with a disability or elderly relatives with limited mobility.
It is a legal requirement for public venues to provide disabled access. Still, the natural constraints of terrain and the restrictions of an old building may make this challenging despite the legislation in place.
How Many Guests Can the Venue Accommodate?
Numbers allowed may depend on how you want to structure your reception.
For instance, you may want an intimate meal for select family and friends followed by a large evening reception for the crowd.
Or you could want a sit-down meal for all of the guests, so this needs to be carefully discussed with the wedding team.
Can My Guests Park On-Site?
Sometimes it seems obvious there is a big car park out front. Indeed my guests can park there for the wedding.
Be aware some venues may say residents only, and others may have stipulations such as payments required or no cars to be left overnight.
It would then be essential to pass on this information to your guests before the big day. For example, Uncle Sam might not be happy his car is locked the following morning!
Do You Have an Onsite Wedding Planner or Events Coordinator?
Don’t assume every venue’s wedding planner will do the same.
For example, some planners may assist with your menu choice and room layout, then hand them over to the setup team, and you won’t see them again.
However, some planners will be there to walk you through every detail and will be managing every stage of your wedding day, from setup to closing the doors.
Again, it is all down to personal choice, but don’t assume that because a wedding planner is available at the venue, everything you have in mind will be included.
Who Will Be Your Point of Contact at the Wedding Venue?
Ask your venue if they have a dedicated Wedding or Events Manager. Will you be liaising with just one person throughout the planning?
This can make life a lot easier for both parties. Is this person there on the day to oversee the smooth running of the reception?
When Do The Staff Start Setting Up And Can You Be Involved?
Some brides (and even grooms) like to get involved and personalise some of the wedding setups.
Check out with the venue when they start setting up for the reception. If it is a hotel, it may not be until late Friday evening or early Saturday morning if the room is used for another function.
These timings may not suit wedding parties who want a hands-on approach to the decoration and arrangement of the reception room.
Do You Have Security/ Storage Onsite?
Think about the logistics; you may want to use your decorations, where can they be kept safe before and afterwards.
You don’t want to be worrying about the whereabouts of the family heirloom centrepieces on the night of your wedding!
Are There Any Restrictions That May Apply to the Building or the Site?
Ask whether there are any other restrictions you should be aware of.
If you are in a very old or unusual property, there may be restrictions, for instance, on the use of candles or constraints on the type of decoration you can use and how they are attached if the building is listed.
If you have a specific idea or theme for the reception, you should discuss this thoroughly before paying your deposit.
It may be possible to tailor your plans to fit around any building or licensing restrictions, or perhaps you need to look for another venue. Still, you certainly don’t want to discover this in the week before the wedding.
How Much of the Building and Grounds Will You Have Access To?
Some reception venues will allow you to hire some or all of the property. For example, you may have the option to lease all or part of a manor house or small stately home.
This will probably include bedrooms and other reception rooms, an excellent way to accommodate the wedding party.
Establish carefully what parts of the house and grounds are available and included in the package and for how long.
If you have your reception at a hotel, then there should be a preferential rate available for guests who wish to stay there.
If you have a large party, you should check available venue accommodation before settling on your date to ensure that there are enough rooms available for your guests.
Precisely What Is Included in the Price?
Go through very carefully an itemised list of exactly what is included in the cost of the package.
Most venues will include tables, chairs, glasses and crockery as standard but some need to hire in and will add a separate charge for this to your bill, so always double-check.
Are There Any Additional Charges?
Once your potential venue has a good idea of what you would like, they should disclose anything that may be additional.
For example, some venues may have an additional charge for wedding cake cutlery! It’s also worth double-checking the final price includes VAT, and if you are planning a destination wedding, what currency you will need to pay in.
How Much Is the Deposit and When Is the Balance Payable?
A reception venue will only confirm a booking when a deposit is paid, so you need to establish all of the costs associated with your platform before making any payment.
Ask for an itemised breakdown of all of the costs, and critical is the application of VAT.
Find out whether charges are quoted net of VAT or whether it is included – an extra 20% on top will give you a nasty shock if you are not expecting it.
Once you are happy with all the itemised costs and are sure nothing is missing, and no hidden extras, paying a deposit will secure the booking, and you can then announce the date for your big day.
Top tip, check out whether the deposit is refundable should there be any last-minute changes of mind!
How Much Liability Insurance Does the Venue Have in Place?
Always establish what level of liability insurance cover the venue has in place should they need to cancel your reception due to an unforeseen event such as a flood or significant power failure.
You should also have your wedding insurance, which will cover you if you cannot go ahead due to other reasons such as illness or accident.
This is separate from the venue’s cover and would apply in the circumstances different to the type of external issues that could affect the platform.
Paying for your wedding party is likely to be the highest sole cost of your wedding day.
So be careful about the venue you choose and research it thoroughly before agreeing to pay a deposit. Here at Brighton Savoy, we have compiled an exclusive list of Wedding Photo Locations in Melbourne to help you decide on your special day.
You should know every last detail and how it will be organised and presented before you make the booking, so you are specific in your mind what will happen and what you are paying for.