16 Questions You Should Ask While Touring Wedding Venues
Is there anything more exciting than touring a wedding venue you just know you're going to love? Not really, which is why it's so easy to get swept up in the beauty of the space and forget all about the logistical questions you need to ask. That's why we asked wedding pros, including event planners, designers, and caterers, to list the questions every couple needs to ask while visiting a prospective venue.
There's far more to discuss than just the price tag. Does the venue own tables and chairs that you can use for your ceremony and reception, or will you be responsible for bringing in rentals? Is there a back-up plan in the event of inclement weather, or is it up to the couple to make that decision themselves? Who will be on hand on the big day, ensuring everything goes off without a hitch? There are also the less glamorous questions to ask, like what do the restrooms look like, and can they accommodate your desired number of guests?
To ensure you ask every important question, our pros have come up with a list of 16 points you should bring up at every venue visit. Then you'll truly be able to make an informed decision. Click through here to find our expert-approved list of venue-related questions.
When it comes to décor, what are the rules?
"Some venues are very relaxed and let you decorate the space as you choose while others have strict rules about what can and cannot be done. Some other questions you might ask are: Can I use real candle flame? Is it safe to dig for tent stakes? Do I need certifications for outdoor rated lighting? Most companies can help you out with this, so don't be afraid to ask!" —Christen Ryan, Owner, Ryan Designs
Is there a kitchen on site?
"From a catering perspective, the most important questions to ask relate to infrastructure: Is there a kitchen on-site? Does it have cooking equipment or is it just a staging area? How far is it from the guest service area? If not, how do caterers normally set up at the venue? Does the venue provide tenting for caterers? Power? Running water? Parking? Access in advance or after the event? These are all great questions to ask as any gaps may ultimately affect the cost of your catering." —Cammie Buehler, Managing Director, Epicure Catering
What services do you include?
"Different venues provide different services, and it's important to understand exactly what support your venue offers. A 'will vs. won't' is often geared toward service—your venue may offer to set out the place cards but won't be responsible for creating your seating charts. A 'can vs. can't' usually comes down to the fine print and non-negotiable terms. For example, the capacity, noise ordinances, types of vehicles permitted on site, and event end time may be set in stone—no matter how good your relationship is with the event venue, you can't change these." —Lynn Easton, Founder, Easton Events
Does your venue have load in and load out terms?
"The amount of time your vendors have to set and strike your event will impact your expenses. Venues that take only one event per weekend and allow a flexible schedule installation and strike are always looked upon favorably." —Lauren Chitwood, Owner, Lauren Chitwood Events
What is the bathroom situation?
"Be sure to visit the restrooms, and assess if they are appropriate for your guests and the number of them. This way you can budget restroom trailers, or decor for the existing restrooms from the start!" —Lindsay Sims, Owner, TOAST Events
What is your availability?
"It's easy to get caught up in the love of a venue and if you have a set date in mind it's best to check before diving head first into planning logistics of a certain location only to be disheartened down the road. So, do your due diligence and add this to the top of your venue question checklist!" —Traci Mead, Director of Catering, Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia
Are there any alcohol limitations?
"If you have visions of cocktails flowing at your wedding, be sure to ask if the venue has any limitations on serving alcohol. Some venues, especially wineries, are not licensed to serve alcohol and it could be a disappointment if you later learn your guest can only drink beer and wine." —Rosemary Hattenbach, Principal Event Producer/Wedding Planner, Rosemary Events
Does the property allow multiple events in the same day?
"Inquire about additional events that also may be taking place on your wedding day. If other weddings are taking place, how will the on-property staff handle multiple events? You will want to ensure that you have a team of staff solely designated to your wedding." —Rosewood Mayakoba Wedding Team of Rosewood Mayakoba
Do we need to flip the space?
"If you plan on hosting your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception all at one venue, find out if the venue needs to reuse the ceremony space to accommodate the dinner reception. If so, this will impact other vendors, like your band and florist, since they will only have one hour to get equipment into position or to set the dinner tables. You'll want to be sure that both are prepared with a large enough team to make the flip as seamless as possible." —Tracy Taylor Ward, Owner & Principal Designer/Planner, Tracy Taylor Ward Design
What are your recommendations for guest transportation?
"Don't forget about transportation when it comes to your venue—how your guests arrive/depart is important to keep in mind during your planning. Here are some suggested questions to ask regarding transportation: Is a shuttle mandatory to/from the property and local accommodations? Do you offer valet parking? If not, can we bring in a service for this? Is there a designated parking area for guests?" —Jacin Fitzgerald, Owner, Jacin Fitzgerald Events
Will you be the person handling my wedding and will you be at my wedding overseeing all the details?
"When touring a venue, it is very important to understand who you will be working with throughout the planning process and on your wedding day." —Gary Merjian, Director of Catering & Event Management, St. Regis New York
What is our rain plan?
"Always make sure to see the back-up space in case of inclement weather. You do not want to be in a situation where you have to move your wedding indoors and they have unattractive space, or worse, no space available!" —Andi Dyal, Founder & Principal Consultant, ANJÉ Soirees
Is there a noise ordinance?
"Be sure to ask potential venues about their noise ordinance. Often times, venues have an outdoor curfew out of respect to their neighbors. If you are interested in extending the party, be sure to ask about options for an indoor location to utilize late night!" —Brooke Keegan, Owner, Brooke Keegan Special Events
Is there a fee if I bring in items from outside vendors?
"When you are going through the planning process, there might be special items that you want to bring on-property like for example, if you bring a cake from an outside vendor, is there a cutting fee? Make sure to ask these questions ahead of time so you aren't hit with additional unexpected costs." —Tessa Brand, Owner, Tessa Lyn Events
What's included in-house?
"Make sure you know exactly what is included from the venue from chairs to tables to linens so you know what you have already paid for and what additional items you might need to bring in." —Kristin Doggett, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Bellafare
What are the food and beverage minimums?
"Every venue has minimums when it comes to food and beverage regardless of guest count so make sure you know that these are as well as what the service charge and tax will be so that you understand how many guests should attend the wedding to meet that minimum." —Melissa Porter, Event Planner & Managing Partner, Asheville Event Co.