Finding a wedding venue isn’t just about searching for venues in your area, finding the prettiest setting and booking it (although that’s part of it!). There are many questions to ask a wedding venue before you sign a contract — all to ensure that the locale fits in with your budget, overall plan and vision for the big day, as well as to find out what extra costs and considerations (catering, tables, chairs, transportation, etc.) you'll have to take into account. Luckily, we've created a list of every single wedding venue question for you to use as you interview and tour potential wedding locales.
Here are the questions to ask a wedding venue — before signing on the dotted line.
1. Is the venue available on my target date?
If you have a specific date in mind, find out if the venue has availability then. If not, you’ll either have to move on or be flexible when it comes to selecting a date. If you’re flexible about your wedding date, this will be less of an issue.
2. How much does it all cost?
You’ll probably get a price quote, but what does that include? Make sure you’re aware of all fees before you sign your contract.
3. Is the location convenient?
Will your guests be able to easily travel to the location? If the wedding is in your hometown or a city that’s easy to travel to, that shouldn’t be an issue, but if you’re hosting a destination wedding in a far-off location, you’ll have to accept that elderly guests or those who may have trouble traveling won’t be able to attend.
4. What's the capacity?
This is a big question to ask a wedding venue – many venues have strict capacity rules and regulations, so if you think that your guest count is going to be too high, then you might want to look for a different venue or consider trimming your guest list. You also don’t want to have too few guests in a large space – the venue will just look empty!
5. What does the space look like?
The answer to this wedding venue question will probably be instantaneous – could you picture yourself getting married here? Does it fit your style? If you wanted a rustic-style wedding, an elegant hotel in the city might not work. And if there are architectural or décor aspects to the venue that you hate and cannot be removed, can you live with them?
6. How much work will we have to put into decorating the space?
Some venues, like ornate hotel ballrooms, come with the décor built in, for the most part so you won’t need to add too much. However, venues like barns or lofts will need a ton of added décor – which is both time-intensive and can be expensive.
7. What's the catering situation?
One of the most critical questions to ask wedding venues: Is the catering in-house or will you need to bring in an outside caterer? All-inclusive venues can be convenient, but make sure you’re happy with the food situation – both taste and presentation – before you book.
8. Can I hold the ceremony here?
If you’re planning on getting married in a house of worship or different location, this shouldn’t affect you. But, if you’d like to hold your ceremony and reception in the same place (a convenient and budget-friendly move), you should make sure that’s a possibility.
9. Is there a coordinator on staff? Who will be my main point of contact?
Be sure you speak directly to the person you’ll be working with on your wedding day before you book. You want to make sure you have a good rapport with him or her and feel comfortable with him or her before moving forward.
10. Is there a list of approved vendors or can I use any vendors I wish?
Some venues restrict the vendors that can work in their site. If this is the case, you’ll need to make sure you’re comfortable with the approved vendors before moving forward. Remember that using approved vendors can also be a money-saver.
11. What's the rain plan?
If your venue of choice has a beautiful outdoor setting, that’s great, but you’ll need to make sure that you’re equally happy with the indoor space in case of inclement weather. And don’t take “it never rains” as an acceptable answer when you ask to see the indoor space – anything can happen, so ask this wedding venue question and be prepared!
12. Consider guests’ convenience.
Other all-important questions to ask wedding venues include: What's the bathroom situation? How’s the parking? Is there climate control? Are there a lot of stairs? Think about your wedding from a guests’ perspective – are there aspects of the venue that would affect your guests’ comfort? These items can be deal-breakers, so be extra careful.