10 Questions To Ask Potential Wedding Venues
So you’ve seen a wedding venue you love that doesn’t seem to blow the budget and it looks to tick all the boxes. So you arrange an appointment to look around and ask the wedding venue lots of questions.
But how do you make sure this potential venue meets the needs of your head as well as your heart? Choosing your wedding venue is a biggie – almost as big a decision as your dress! Realistically, your venue will be the thing you will spend the most money on, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to get it right.
Here are my top 10 questions to ask:
1) Exactly what is included in the quoted price? (and just as importantly what is extra?)
For example, is the price quoted only for a limited number of guests? Adding on guests above a package number can very quickly rack up extra costs.
Does it include VAT? Most places will quote the price with VAT but definitely worth checking as an extra 20% on top could kill your budget. And I have seen this happen so make sure you’re clear on this.
Does the price include things like linen, full place settings, furniture etc? This might sound like an odd question but if you’re looking at somewhere like a village hall for example, the price is probably just for the hall. You’ll then need to factor in the additional rentals to create your dream day.
2) Do we have to use your preferred suppliers?
Most wedding venues have a list of suppliers who they work with regularly and therefore know the venue well – don’t discount these as there’s a lot to be said for this type of experience.
However, it’s important to understand whether you have to stick to that list or not. It narrows your options substantially if you have to use them and can mean you pay more for suppliers than you need to.
3) How many guests can we have?
Make sure you understand the limits on this and how the guests will fit into the space available. Although a venue may advertise that it can accommodate a certain number of guests, it could be that the guests would be in 2 adjoining rooms for the wedding breakfast for example which may ruin the atmosphere of your day.
4) What are our options for catering?
if it’s a venue which provides catering, such as a hotel, ask to see sample menus to get a feel for the style and pricing of their catering. And also ask them about options for giving your guests a choice of meals. Some venues may insist that all guests have the same meal – although they’ll include a vegetarian option too.
Would you be happy with this? Or would you prefer to give people more options to choose from? Make sure you’re clear on your options and the cost implications of offering a choice to your guests.
If you’re allowed to bring in your catering team, ask if you have to choose caterers from a specific approved list. This is very common as venues like to work with caterers they know and trust. Ask for the list in this case so you can get some indicative quotes from the caterers.
5) Does the venue provide for our guest’s drinking needs?
Have a think about what your guests will need, including:
Does the bar have a decent range of drinks?
If you have some particular requirements, can the venue accommodate these? For example, do you have a lot of real ale drinkers? Does the bar have a good selection and if not will they brink some in for you?
Does the venue provide staff to run the bar for you (and is this included in the cost?)
Do they have a late licence?
Do they charge corkage if you choose to supply your own drinks?
Are non-drinkers catered for with a good choice of soft drinks as well as tea and coffee?
6) What are our options for music?
If you’re interested in having live music, check that your venue is ok with this and if they have any sound limit restrictions. Sometimes the limit is too low for some bands so make sure you understand this before booking any live music.
What time does the music have to be switched off? If the venue is near residential properties, this is likely to be a consideration.
Do they have options for some background music (e.g an iPhone playlist) during your wedding breakfast?
7) If the wedding venue has accommodation, do we have to pay for a certain amount of rooms?
Be clear on what you will be expected to pay for. For example, some venues will ask you to pay for certain rooms which are noisy during a wedding because they can’t let them to non wedding guests.
Ask if your guests get a reduced rate if they stay over. And how long will they hold the rooms for your guests to book?
Is the honeymoon suite guaranteed to be available for you and is this included in the overall cost or is it extra?
8) What restrictions do you have?
Some venues have restrictions like no confetti allowed in the grounds. If you want to have fireworks in the evening check that this is ok.
Are there any restrictions around favours – like no alcoholic favours allowed?
Do they have any rules around décor? For example some venues don’t allow any naked flames so you wouldn’t be able to use candles (or book a flame eating juggler!)
9) Will ours be the only wedding on the day?
Some venues have the capacity to hold more than one wedding on one day. If this is a concern for you, make sure you ask them if there could be more than wedding on your chosen date. You may be able to pay extra to have exclusive access but obviously this is going to cost more.
10) What are your bad weather options?
If you’re hoping to have your ceremony or drinks reception outdoors, then it’s critical you understand what their back up option is – especially if you’re getting married in the UK! Does the venue have a nice room you can move into? Do they have a canopy they can use in the case of rain?
This is by no means a full list but should give you the key questions for a wedding venue and hopefully will get you thinking further before you visit any venues. You can also see more advice here on choosing your perfect venue. And if you’re considering a marquee wedding, see my favourite venue options in Yorkshire.
Unless you’ve got an amazing memory, write down the info whilst you are there. Also, get some pictures so you can compare venues later.