We’ve put together a handy list of questions to ask venue operators as you tour your potential wedding reception venues. Our questions are guaranteed to root out the places that won’t meet your expectations and assure you a hassle-free wedding.
We’ve split the questions into those which have to do with logistics, questions pertaining to service, budget-related questions, and questions about emergencies.
1. What is the carrying capacity of the venue? Or how many guests can comfortably fit into the venue?
Nobody wants to sit elbow-to-elbow with fellow wedding guests in a cramped venue. Know how many people you want to invite prior to starting your venue tours. In this way, you’ll be able to find out if your potential venue will be able to accommodate all your guests.
2. What is the lavatory situation like?
Expecting 500 guests? We think you’ll need more than two toilets! Ask to see the restrooms so you’ll know what they’re like and if you’ll need a bit of décor in there too. In this way, you’ll also know how many toilet trailers you need to include in your budget.
3. Does the venue have enough parking and is it included in the venue booking fee?
The last thing you want is your guests not having anywhere to park. As you tour venues, ask what the parking rules are. Does the venue offer complimentary parking and is the price included in the venue booking fee? If not, is there a place close to the venue where your guests can park easily and safely?
1. Does the venue offer in-house décor or you’ll have to hire an outside person?
Some venues have in-house event planners that can put up and take down décor for you. This is fantastic as it removes the burden of having to outsource an outside décor company to furnish your venue. If the venue doesn’t offer this service, you’ll want to know if they have any rules pertaining to set up times and forbidden accessories e.g. candle flame and digging to insert tent stakes.
2. Is there an on-site kitchen?
If you want to bring your own catering team, will they find an on-site kitchen to work from? What equipment is available to them? Or will they have to bring their own cooking equipment? Also, what’s the distance between the kitchen and the serving area? Are water and power readily available or you’ll need to hire a water tank and a generator?
3. Is there an event planner to help me out at the venue?
Does the venue offer an event planner who will oversee all the details of the wedding? Furthermore, will this person be there on the actual day itself? What duties will the event planner handle, and what will you have to do. Don’t assume the event planner will organize your entire wedding. They are not wedding planners!
1. What are your venues pricing structures?
It’s not enough just to ask how much it is to book the venue. Ask about the pricing structures as these will help you a better plan. For example, certain weekdays might have lower booking fees. The fees might be dependent on the number of people you invite. Does the venue charge per head, per plate or per person? If that’s the case, and you really want this venue, you might be able to get it by cutting off a few people. (Ouch!)
2. What’s included in the venue hire fee?
Is décor included, is parking included, is food included, catering and servers? Knowing all this can help you save money in the long run.
3. What’s your venue policy on alcohol?
Alcohol can push your venue bill up quite high, especially if you intend on having an open bar. Hear what the venue’s policy on alcohol is. Perhaps they don’t allow alcohol at all. Perhaps they offer a free first round of alcohol. Don’t skip out on getting answers to all these questions.
In case of emergency questions:
1. What is your plan if it rains?
This is a question most couples fail to ask – much to their horror when they find themselves in a rainy predicament! If you’re planning a garden wedding or an outdoor wedding, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of this question. See where they’ll potentially move you if it rains. And if they don’t have such a space, at least you’ll know beforehand!
2. Does the venue have a cancellation policy?
If for some unforeseen reason you have to cancel your wedding, will the venue refund your money? If yes, how much? Is there a date that you have to alert them by?
3. How do the venue address noise issues and gate crashers?
If your venue of choice is a hotel, how do they address noise issues from another event say down the hall? What of gate crashers? What’s the venues security policy to keep unwanted invitees from coming in?