Choosing your venue is such an exciting part of the wedding planning process! From rustic and traditional to contemporary and sleek, whatever your taste, there are plenty to choose from.
However, before you jump head over heels into a venue you love the look of, make sure you’re clear on a few key things. It’s no good setting your sights on somewhere that won’t accommodate all of your guests or isn’t even available for your preferred date. To help, here are 25 questions to ask your wedding venue before booking.
1. Is the date I’m planning my wedding on available?
First thing’s first, you’ll need to make sure that the venue is actually free on the date you’re planning to get married. Once this has been established – you can talk plans.
2. How long can I provisionally hold the date for?
Some venues may ask for a deposit to secure your date, others may simply hold your booking until they receive more interest. This can depend on the time of year you’re planning to wed as some seasons are more popular than others.
3. What is the maximum number of guests the venue can hold in the day and evening?
This is key to establishing whether the venue can actually hold your wedding party. It’s also worth remembering that if you’re planning a more intimate wedding that the venue isn’t too large and won’t look sparse.
4. Will other weddings be held on the same day as mine?
Some venues will provide exclusive hire so your wedding will be the only one there on the day. If it’s important for you to have exclusivity then you’ll need to check if this is something they offer.
5. Do you have an in-house caterer and any recommended suppliers?
The venue may be able to help with sourcing suppliers for your big day and this can often help you with organisation and planning. Remember, you don’t have to feel obliged to go with who they recommend, it’s just worth considering them as they will already be familiar with the venue.
6. What are your usual timings for weddings and how flexible are you?
The venue will be experienced in how long you’ll need for various parts of your big day like how long the ceremony usually takes and how much time you’ll need for photographs. If you’re looking for something a little less traditional, you’ll need to make sure that the venue can be flexible with timings.
7. What menu options do you offer and do you cater for special requirements?
This is the fun part! Talking food and looking at the range of options that the venue offers. It’s important that you’re happy with the options and are clear that they cater for vegetarians or any other special requirements your guests may have.
8. How much wine is served per guest during the wedding breakfast?
A common option for many venues is to offer a champagne toast, a glass/half a bottle of wine and a tea/coffee for each guest during the meal. It’s also worth asking if there is a corkage fee and how much the cost would be to increase the standard offering.
9. What are the top table options?
Sometimes venues hold open days and will have the wedding breakfast room set up for you to see. This will give you a great idea as to how the room will look on your big day. If you’d like a different layout, ask how flexible they are and talk through the various options.
10. If the venue has an option to hold your wedding outside, ask what the contingency plan would be in bad weather.
As wonderful as an outdoor wedding can be, there’s always a chance of rain in the UK. So it’s important that, should the weather turn, you have a great plan B. The venue will be likely to have an indoor ceremony room or marquee, so be sure to look at alternatives to ensure you’re happy with the backup plan.
11. Do you charge for cake cutting?
It’s not uncommon for venues to charge a fee for cutting the wedding cake, so it’s always worth bearing this in mind.
12. Are there any additional fees or charges I need to be aware of?
When booking your wedding, make sure you have accounted for any fees or extra costs. This is important in ensuring you don’t exceed your budget or are presented with unexpected bills.
13. What are your bar prices and can we provide our own alcohol?
Check out the drinks prices and ask if guests can pay by card or whether it’s cash only. This way you can pre-warn guests as cash machines can be hard to come by, especially in country venues. Some venues will allow you to provide your own alcohol so it’s worth asking if this is something you would prefer to do. Just be sure that you’re clear on any corkage fees they may charge.
14. Are we able to play our own music at any point?
Sometimes, when trying to keep the costs down, couples will opt for using their own music during the ceremony and wedding breakfast. Just be sure to ask if this is something that the venue permits first.
15. Is there disabled access?
Consider every room that your guests will need to access from the ceremony space to the wedding reception room.
16. How will car parking work on the day?
When you visit some venues, this may be obvious but less so at others. It’s always worth asking if there are any special instructions for parking so that you can share them with guests beforehand.
17. What time will we have the venue till?
If you plan on dancing the night away until the small hours of the morning, you’ll need to check that the venue provides access till then. It’s also important that you are clear on when lights-out time is so you can let all of your suppliers know. Ask when the bar will stop serving too so you have a clear idea on the day.
18. Do you have a wedding coordinator?
If you’re not working with a wedding planner, then an in-house wedding coordinator can be a blessing on the day. They will help to ensure everything runs like clockwork so you don’t have to worry.
19. Are there any facilities or activities for children?
It’s no secret that children need to be entertained so having activities for them during the speeches and wedding breakfast can work really well. Some venues will provide outdoor activities and even some entertainment so it’s worth scoping this out before considering hiring your own.
20. Does the venue have the capacity to accommodate a band or DJ?
This is usually fine in most venues but you don’t want to go hiring a 6 piece band only to find there’s not enough room for them on the day! It’s also important to ask about power outputs and any AV equipment they may provide.
21. Do you allow fireworks?
Again, don’t leave this one till the day. Before you go investing in a spectacular fireworks show, check that the venue actually permits them first!
22. Do you offer on-site accommodation?
Some venues are attached to hotels but if not, it’s important to ask if there are any on-site rooms for guests. This is especially important if you’re getting married out of town as guests will need a place to stay. If the venue doesn’t offer accommodation, they should be able to recommend nearby B&Bs and a taxi service for guests.
23. Do you have a place for us to securely store any wedding gifts?
Wedding gifts are often valuable so it’s important that there’s somewhere that they can be kept securely during the course of your day.
24. When will the final payment be due?
This is important for your payment schedule and budgeting. It will give you time to save and ensure you have the funds ready before the due date.
25. Who is responsible for the wedding clear up?
Usually, venues take responsibility for the post-wedding clear up but it’s important you’re clear on this. Other venues may require you to do this yourself so you’ll need to budget for a team coming in to help.
Once you’re clear on the above questions, you should have a good idea as to whether that venue can accommodate for the type of wedding you’re planning. You can then delve deeper into more personal requirements work with them to bring your dream vision to life.