First and foremost… Congratulations on your recent engagement! If you’re anything like I was when I got engaged, my mind starting whizzing almost immediately with what I wanted from a venue and the style of the wedding I wanted to achieve. After viewing multiple barns and manor houses, we decided on having a ‘Festival’ Style wedding in giant Tipi tents in my parents back garden!
Whether you are looking for a romantic manor house, a grand hotel, a quirky warehouse, a stylish river cruiser, or an elegant marquee venue, there is something out there for everyone.
Below I have compiled a list of useful questions to ask at your venue viewing appointment. In no particular order, here we go….
Does the price include VAT (and service charge, where applicable?)
Don’t get your hands burnt, or should I say a hole in your wallet, from forgetting to ask this important question!
What is the deposit & payment plan?
It is also worth knowing how long your venue can provisionally hold your wedding date in their diary whilst you get your finances in order.
Is there a minimum spend or minimum guest number?
Most venues will stipulate some sort of minimum, and this may vary depending on the date of your wedding. For example a Saturday in the middle of July may have a higher minimum spend than a Wednesday in January!
What is the capacity of the venue?
Remember to check for ceremony, wedding breakfast & evening reception, where applicable.
When is last orders at the bar? And what time should carriages be arranged?
This is important to communicate to your guests on your invitations.
Where are good photo opportunities at the venue? Are there indoor photo opportunities, should the weather be poor?
Whilst on this subject, it might be a good idea to ask the venue for photographer recommendations if you don’t already have somebody in mind.
If having a civil ceremony, which registry office should you book through?
Venues are not allowed to do this for you. You must arrange and pay for your own registrar. Depending on the borough, you may not be able to book a registrar until 12 months prior to the big day.
Is there somewhere for the bride to get ready in the morning?
If applicable, as you may get ready at home & arrive by fancy transport to the venue. However, perhaps in this instance the Groom will want to stay at the venue the night prior with his best man.
What are the toilets like?
You can tell a lot about a venue by looking at the standard of their bathroom facilities! Don’t forget to check these out before you leave.
What are the drinks prices like?
Ask for drinks prices, if the venue are providing a bar. A copy of their bar tariff would be ideal but if not to get an idea just jot down the price of a glass of wine, a beer and a spirit & mixer. Some venues put their prices up each year, so check if they will hold their current prices for you if you are booking far in advance.
Are there any facilities for children?
This question can cover baby changing facilities, a designated play area for kids to be entertained, a recommend child minder or entertainer such as clown or magician, children’s meals etc.
Will you have access to the venue the day prior to decorate? And when must you vacate the venue the following day?
Don’t assume you have the venue for a 3 day period. Technically you are hiring a venue for one day and each venue will have its own rules about access times. Bear in mind the venue you are looking at might be holding a wedding the day prior to yours and the day after, particularly if you are booking in Spring or Summer months.
Is there accommodation on site or nearby for guests?
See if you can get an idea on prices to make sure you think it’s affordable and reasonable for your guests to pay. Clarify if the rate includes breakfast or can you provide your own if self-catering. If self-catering, what facilities are provided? (Kettle, toaster, microwave etc)
Are you permitted to use any wedding supplier/vendor or must you use only their recommendations?
Venues will have different rules about this subject. If you are permitted to use any supplier, bear in mind you may need to supply copies of your chosen suppliers PLI (public liability insurance) certificates to ensure they are covered and a reputable company.
If you want to or have to supply your own drinks, what are the corkage prices?
Remember to also check if fridges / freezers are provided…. you will need lots of ice too!
If you want to use a microphone for the speeches, does the venue have a PA system & Mic built in or on site?
If the answer to this is no, don’t worry, most DJ’s / Bands will let you use theirs. Just bear in mind the time they will be setting up at your venue for the evening reception. Will their equipment be available at the time you wish to do your speeches?
If applicable to the venue, will they offer you a complimentary menu tasting?
If you are booking a venue as ‘dry hire’, meaning you are simply hiring the space, then this question will be directed at the caterers you are using. Menu tastings are usually only possible if you are having a sit down plated banquet. If you are doing canapés, BBQ, hog roast, or something a little different it may not be realistic to try the food beforehand. Relying on previous customer reviews is usually a reliable source and will set your mind at ease regarding the quality of the food.
In the unlikely event that you need to cancel your wedding or move the date, what are their terms & conditions?
I cannot stress enough how important this subject is. Booking your wedding venue is an emotional event and your heart overtakes your head in a lot of cases. Remember you are entering into a contractual agreement and your venue is running a business, therefore they will have terms in place for this unlikely event. You should research and take out wedding insurance to cover yourselves for any eventuality.
Is there ample space for your DJ / band to setup? Is a dance floor provided? What does it look like?
You can get parquet wooden dance floors, or jazzy ones with LED lights or glitzy sparkles. If your venue don’t have a dance floor, or you don’t like the dance floor that they supply, then check if you are allowed to hire in a different one.
Is there a noise limiter at the venue or a certain time that music must be turned down or off?
A noise limiter will automatically cut off your music if it ascends to a level over the set limit, so it’s important to communicate this to your band / DJ, as you wouldn’t want that to happen mid-first dance!
Does the venue provide a cake stand & knife? Is it round or square?
Most cake stands are a standard 16 inches in diameter.
If you would like a copy of these questions in a format you can print off and fill in the answers, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll happily forward you a copy.
REMEMBER:- get everything you want agreed in writing. Although this is your wedding day, it is also a business agreement with yourselves and your venue. Treat it as that when booking your venue to ensure you get everything you discussed. Don’t assume anything and you can’t go wrong!
For further information on the packages I offer please refer to the ‘Services’ tab on my website. Whether you want assistance with the whole planning, just in the run up to the day or simply an on the day coordinator to pull the dream together, I can offer a package to suit your needs.