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Important Questions To Ask Wedding Venues
You’ve just got engaged, celebrated with your close ones, what’s next? After writing a guest list and working out your initial budget, booking your wedding venue should be top of your wedding to do list! Spend time researching, visiting and comparing venues you like and that suit your style. This list of questions will help you determine which venue is right for you – it’s important to ask the following questions to make sure you don’t receive any costly surprises after booking! It’s not only the costs that are important to ask about, but the venue’s potential restrictions on external suppliers, decoration and timings (for example the time you can set up from – will they give you access the day before or is it restricted to the day of the wedding?) Asking too many questions is always better than not asking enough and most venues will be more than happy to answer them. Make sure you get everything in writing so you know exactly what you are booking and what is and isn’t included…
PS. There are quite a lot of questions – not to overwhelm you but to guide you in asking the right ones to enable you to choose the perfect venue for your wedding :)
– What is the price of dry hiring the venue? Does this include VAT?
– What are the different rates for different seasons/days/times?
– Do you offer all inclusive wedding packages? If so, how much is each package and what does each include? Does it include tastings?
– How much wine/champagne/tea and coffee is included per head?
– Are there any additional chargers for bar/waiting staff?
– How much is the deposit and when would it be due? Is there a payment schedule?
– What is your cancellation policy?
– Would we need to pay extra to hire the cake stand and knife? Is there a cake-cutting fee?
– Is there an extra charge for bringing in our own suppliers?
– What is the difference in cost if you only have reception vs ceremony & reception?
– Do you offer accommodation? If so, is the bridal suite included in the price? Will there be discounted rates for guests at the wedding?
– Are packages/discounts dependent on number of guests who book accommodation?
– What costs are incurred if the anticipated number of guests differ to guests on the day?
– Can we bring in our own alcohol? If so, is there a corkage fee?
– Are there any hidden charges, like cleaning costs, over time fees, etc?
– What would happen if our wedding has to be cancelled due to unpredictable circumstances (fire, safety issue, natural disaster, etc.?)
– Is the venue available for exclusive use? Is there an in-house wedding planner? Are their services included in the overall price? Will they be there throughout the wedding?
– Will they be responsible for guiding guests to the ceremony and directing them to the right places? – Where will the bride enter the ceremony from to ensure she is not seen? Which entrance will she enter from and who will meet her there?
– Where will we both meet the registrar before the ceremony?
– Where do the band set up? Can they set up beforehand or during a changeover? Where is the dance floor? What are the dimensions?
– Is there a separate access for the band so they can come into the venue without disturbance?
– Do you have a PA system with adequate speakers that we could use for speeches?
– Can we connect an ipod or laptop to your sound system for music? Are there enough power points for everything we need (band, DJ, iPod, projector, etc?)
– What are the noise restrictions? Is there a time the music must be switched off?
– What time do guests have to leave?
– Do you have a license to serve alcohol?
– Do you have a bar? How long will it be open? Is there an extra charge for a bar extension time?
– Can we bring our own alcohol? Is there a corkage fee?
– What time is the meal served? Do you cater for special dietary requirements?
– If the same room is being used for the ceremony and the reception, what is the turnaround time?
– Is there an option for dinner the night before or breakfast the day after?
– Do you have a license for ceremonies? Where do your ceremonies take place? Is there an extra cost?
– Which local authority’s jurisdiction would our ceremony come under (to ensure you book a registrar from the correct registry office)?
– Are there any exclusive suppliers we must use, and if so what’s their pricing? Can we bring in certain suppliers?
– What is your weather contingency plan?
– Is there somewhere safe you can store our gifts? Are you insured for loss/damage to gifts?
– Are there any requirements for suppliers?
– If we bring in our own caterers, will they have access to the kitchen, power, running water etc.?
– Do you have tables, chairs, linen, glassware and crockery we can use or will we have to rent our own? Is there an extra cost to use your equipment? Is there a choice of the above equipment (e.g. different colours or styles)?
– What types of tables do you have? Are there different options?
– Will your staff help set up the decorations and flowers before the wedding? Will they move decorations and flowers if necessary?
– Are we able to set up the day before? From what time? Is there an extra cost for this?
– What time do we need to be packed up by the following day?
– Is any decoration provided within the cost (e.g. card box, candelabra, cake stand, candles, menus?)
– Can things (i.e. furniture and décor already in the venue) be moved around to suit our needs? Who is responsible for moving this? Is there somewhere it can be stored during our wedding?
– Do you have any restrictions on what sort of decoration we can install (e.g. can we light candles, etc? Are there certain places that we cannot place flowers?) Who is responsible for keeping candles alight throughout the wedding?
– Do you have staff who are insured to install lighting (e.g. if we wanted lighting/decorations hung on the ceiling?)
– Do you allow the use of confetti? If not, can we use biodegradable petals? Is there a clean-up charge for confetti?
– Are fireworks allowed? Are we required to obtain a special permit from the local council to have fireworks?
– Do you allow food trucks, street food, bouncy castles, lawn games? (Tailor this question to whatever you would like at your wedding – there’s no harm in asking!)
– Do you have public liability insurance (would be worrying if they didn’t have this!)?
– Do you have sufficient heating or air conditioning? (Some venues, like restored barns, don’t have heaters so you may need to hire them in).
– How many toilets are there?
– Are there any quiet crèche areas for children and/or older guests in case they want to get away from the noise for a while?
– Do you have parking facilities? How many spaces? Will guests be charged for parking?
– Do you have disabled access throughout the venue? What does this include?
– Is there a heated outdoor area where guests can mingle in the evening?
– Can the bridal party get ready at the venue? Is there an extra charge for this?
– Is the lighting inside suitable for photography? Are any of the lights on a dimmer switch? (Poor lighting can be detrimental to your wedding photos, e.g. if the lighting is not enough or if it’s too harsh – be sure to check out the lighting at the venue).
– Who will be the person liaising with us before the wedding? Who will be the person present on the wedding day itself? Can we meet them beforehand?
I hope this is helpful to you in planning your wedding and finding a venue! You can download a copy of the questions (via http://www.bo-chic.com/index.php/questions-to-ask-your-wedding-venue/) and take them with you to your venue meetings.
If I can be of any help to any part of your wedding planning process – from sourcing suppliers and budget management to making decorations and deriving a styling/design plan for your day, please do get in touch :).
Founder of Bochic Weddings and Events
Author: Bochic Weddings and Events ®
Unique & Creative Wedding Planning in South East England