Our GIANT list of important questions to ask wedding venues

The GIANT list of questions to ask wedding venues from @offbeatbride
Seattle's Urban Light Studios

You have your date, you've narrowed down your venue choices to your favorite haunts, and now you actually have to sit down with them and hash out ALL the details. Le sigh.

We know how high the stakes can be, so we created this huge, comprehensive list of all the questions you'll want to have on hand to make your final venue choice. It looks daunting, but it'll be a major load off when you know you're coming prepared to check out wedding venues.

The GIANT list of questions to ask wedding venues from @offbeatbride
New York's FEAST at Round Hill

Dates

  • Is our date available?
  • How many other weddings will be booked that day?
  • Is the venue available for exclusive use?

Logistics

  • What is the seating arrangement?
  • How many guests does the venue hold?
  • Is there a space for a cocktail hour?
  • What type of tables do you have (shape, size)?
  • How long do we have at the venue? How much are additional hours?
  • Is the site handicap accessible?
  • Is parking and/or valet parking available?
  • How many parking spots are available?
  • Is there an overflow or rental lot available?
  • Is public transportation easily accessible from the venue?
  • Is shuttle service available?
  • How many restrooms are there?
  • If an outdoor venue: Is there a backup plan for rain?
  • Is there a coat check available?
  • Are there restrictions for the photographer in terms of flash usage?
  • Is the venue child friendly? What facilities are available for entertaining children?
  • Is there somewhere secure to store wedding gifts?
The GIANT list of questions to ask wedding venues from @offbeatbride
San Francisco's The Chapel

Music and sound

  • Are there any noise restrictions?
  • Can the venue accommodate a DJ or live band? Are there any restrictions?
  • Where does the band/DJ set up?
  • Where is the dance floor, and how large is it?
  • Do you have a sound system with speakers, or will that need to be rented?
  • Do you have microphones for speeches?
  • Can I hook an iPod or laptop up to your sound system?
The GIANT list of questions to ask wedding venues from @offbeatbride
Jeff and Brandon at Landmark Winery. Photos by Karenscape Photography

Vendors, food, and rentals

  • Is there a required/preferred vendor list to stick to? Can we use other vendors?
  • Are tables, linens, chairs, plates, silverware, and glassware provided, or will we have to rent them or get them through our caterer?
  • If catering is available, can we do a tasting?
  • Can you accommodate special dietary requirements?
  • If using in-house catering, what is the tax and service charge?
  • If I hire my own caterer, are kitchen facilities available to them?
  • Can I bring in a cake from an outside baker?
  • Is there a cake-cutting fee?
  • Is there an option for a dinner the night before or a brunch the day after?
  • Do you have a liquor license?
  • Can I bring my own booze (and what kind), and is there a corkage fee?
  • Is a champagne toast complimentary?
  • How is alcohol priced, and is there a charge for bar staff?
  • Is there a bar minimum that must be met?
  • What is the average bar tab for my size guest list?
  • When can we get access to the space to decorate/set up?
  • How early can vendor deliveries be made?
  • How long do we have to clean up/tear down?
  • Are there samples of the rentals available to look at?
  • What are the restrictions for decor (including what you can and can't toss, lighting restrictions, what you can hang from the ceiling and on the walls, candles, etc.)?

Staffing and coordination

  • Is there an on-site venue coordinator?
  • What services are included with the venue coordinator, and are there additional charges?
  • Will the coordinator serve as day-of coordinator?
  • How much assistance can I get with the set up/decor?
  • Is any set up/tear down service available? How much does it cost?
  • Do you have signage to direct guests to the wedding?
  • Do you provide assistance getting gifts or decor back to a designated place?

Shared ceremony/reception spaces

  • Can I hold my ceremony here, too? Is there an additional charge?
  • What is the setup for a shared ceremony/reception space?
  • Do you provide a transition setup for a shared ceremony/reception space?
  • How much time is allocated for the ceremony rehearsal?

Accommodations

  • Are there any suites or private rooms available to get ready or have alone time?
  • Can the wedding party get ready at the venue?
  • What overnight accommodations do you provide?
  • Do you have any partnerships with nearby hotels? Can you provide a list?
  • Do you offer a discount for booking multiple rooms?

Money, payments, and liability

  • What's included in the fees (rentals, catering, lighting, parking, etc.)?
  • Is there a discount for an off-season date or Sunday through Friday?
  • How much is the deposit, and when is it due?
  • When is the balance due?
  • What forms of payment do you accept?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • Is the deposit refundable in case of cancellation?
  • What happens if you go out of business?
  • Do we need any insurance or permits?
  • Do you have liability insurance?

Want more advice from an industry insider?

They ♥ OBB; we ♥ themThis post features Offbeat Vendors! Check out their vendor listing to see how they cater to Offbeat Brides:

Get your daily dose of Offbeat AWESOME

  1. In addition to asking how much time you get for a ceremony rehearsal, I'd ask for more info on the logistics of the rehearsal generally. They may give you an hour, but they may also not let you have the rehearsal on a day where there's another event. If you're having the wedding on the Sunday of a holiday weekend, for example, that might mean that the only day you could have your rehearsal is the Thursday beforehand. If none of your family and bridal party could make it on that day, that's going to put you in a tough position.

    This definitely isn't a reason NOT to choose a venue, but it's a good thing to know up front! We didn't really think about scheduling the rehearsal until right now — 7 weeks out from our wedding — and it is turning into kind of a shitshow to schedule it because of the restrictions at our venue.

    Also, sometimes rehearsals cost extra. They'll "give" you an hour, but you have to pay for it. That's a good thing to know so that you can budget for it if need be!

    4 agree
  2. Perfectly timed, as we've just started scouting venues, thank you so much ­čÖé

    1 agrees
  3. What sort of specific questions would you ask a roller skating rink? We are in the process of compiling our list of questions for the venue we want.

  4. My sister just got engaged and we are starting the planning process for her wedding. Thank you for this helpful information of things one should know about renting a venue. I especially liked the point that talked about the logistics. Another thing to consider would be how strict things are with decorations.

  5. Thank you for providing this information about important questions to ask wedding venues. It would be beneficial to find out about the seating arrangement. To avoid stress, it would be best to have ample seating instead of not enough. Something else to consider is location. It would be best to select a venue that is easy for everyone to access.

  6. I was feeling very overwhelmed to see our venues this week and your advice and questions have made me feel a lot more confident going in! Thankyou!

  7. I humbly request an easy print button on this page, because it's kind of a mess to print with the images.

    1 agrees
  8. Such a useful guide! Getting married in April next year at a venue in the UK called Nailcote Hall (https://www.nailcotehall.co.uk/weddings), and we've used this list to go to our planner at the venue so we know everything is going to be sorted and planned, all in time for the big day!

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.