So, you’re touring venues! Yay! Choosing a place to get married is one of the most important pieces of the whole wedding-day puzzle. And because it’s easy to get swept away in the excitement of all the planning, you might not remember exactly which questions to ask your wedding venue. Even if you do all the research or the venue hands over a packet full of details, how do you know you’re asking the right questions — and getting answers you need?
We spoke with industry insiders to compile a list of the most important questions you should always ask. First, we’ll break down ALL the questions you need to ask your wedding venue and why. And then, you can download a complete list of all the questions in a free PDF. Helpful AND practical — that’s what we’re about. Let’s jump in!
Logistical Event Questions
What is your headcount capacity?
“Don’t forget to ask what the maximum number of people allowed is because we definitely wouldn’t want your favorite aunt or uncle to have to miss out on your magical day due to capacity issues.” – Lisette Gatliff of Lisette OC Photograph
What are the logistics in terms of load in and load out?
“One question I find myself asking at site visits is about timing and logistics. I always ask how early we are allowed to load in. Sometimes couples get so swept up in the location of the event, they forget that if there isn’t enough time to load in the decor and they may not get to have all the details they want.” – Melanie Levin, Owner of LuckEleven Events
What are the bridal suite hours?
“I have had issues in the past where venues did not disclose the bridal suite hours to my couples when booking and they were under the impression that they would get ready on-site. Ultimately, my couples had to pay extra for a hotel suite large enough to fit the large bridal party.” – Melanie Levin, Owner of LuckEleven Events
What’s your weather contingency (backup) plan for outdoor spaces? And how much does it cost?
“Mother Nature can put a damper on your big day, especially if you’re planning to host part or all of your wedding outdoors. This is where a contingency plan can save the day—so be sure to ask each venue about theirs. Just keep in mind that a Plan B isn’t always free! It may cost a pretty penny to reserve that extra “just in case” event space, those outdoor heat lamps, or that gorgeous sailcloth tent. You want to make sure that if a contingency plan does need to be activated, it won’t bust your budget.” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide
What is your cancellation/reschedule policy? And do you have any covid requirements?
“One critical component in confidently booking a venue is to have a clear understanding of the cancellation/reschedule policy (in case of a global pandemic) as well as current covid requirements (if vaccination or covid tests are required). I would also ask, depending on the type of venue, what is the possibility of moving the party outside fully if need be? Some of this information will be required to include in your wedding invitations, welcome packets, and other important pieces. This past year, we had couples who included vaccination and covid testing requirements as part of their details card on their invitation. While we all know things do change, if you don’t know your venue’s general policy in regards to these matters, it can be tricky to keep abreast and keep your vendors and guests aware and feeling safe enough to be present.” – Andaleeb Firdosy, Atelier Azure
Budget Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue
What’s included in the rental fee (and what isn’t)?
“The hard truth is that venue fees can be confusing. They come in varying structures—from per person pricing and site fees to food & beverage minimums—so it’s crucial to get an idea of the ‘full-picture’ price from each venue you’re considering. Don’t get lured in by a low rental fee, because it’s possible to get nickeled and dimed for all the extras! From linens and rentals to security, insurance, and taxes, these additional charges can really add up—so save yourself a big headache by understanding exactly what’s included—and what’s not—before you sign any contract.” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide
What is the all-in cost?
“Sometimes venues do not include service, production, gratuity, cleaning, and tax within the price. So, you must ask for an all-in number. This will help you get an understanding of if the venue is actually within your budget.” – Weddings by Susan Dunne
Can we have an outline of the minimum spend?
“If you are touring and your venue has a minimum spend, always ask for a quick outline of everything; taxes, fees, food, and bar to see if you hit your minimum or it goes past the minimum spend requirement. While minimums are great, they usually don’t cover all the costs associated with having the wedding at that specific venue. Having these hard numbers from the start is key as this will let you allocate your budget better from the beginning!” – Erica Trombetti, Infinite Events
Can we get the details in writing?
“Especially if you’re making special requests (like a specialty vendor, extended hours, or extra services to be provided by the venue), make sure to get those requests in writing! It’ll protect everyone to have those things listed in your contract to be sure you get what you’re requesting, and that the venue is prepared to provide those services or accommodations. This eliminates any surprises throughout the planning process – i.e. ‘We didn’t know there was a fee for that!’” – AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events
Vendor + Decor Questions
Do you have a preferred vendor list?
“I recommend asking if it’s required or simply recommended to use a venue’s preferred vendor list. Some of my couples choose venues where I am not on the preferred vendor list, so we have to go through the motions of getting approval to bring me as a planner as well as other vendors they specifically want.” – Melanie Levin, Owner of LuckEleven Events
Are there any décor restrictions?
“Take into consideration if there are any decoration restrictions. You’re trying to make your vision come to life and wouldn’t want to be held back by a limitation. Be sure to ask if there is a curfew or a time when the music needs to stop. If you’re planning on celebrating all night long, you’d want a venue that would be able to accommodate that for you. This includes asking about set up and clean up time.” – Lisette Gatliff of Lisette OC Photography
Do you include any stationery services and/or provide in-house signage easels?
“Don’t forget to check if there are any stationery-related items included in the package. Be sure to inquire as to if those details can be personalized and what type of card stock is used. Remember, you want to create a cohesive look for your wedding, so seeing what these items look like prior to your big day is especially important. While venues are happy to provide these items for you, they’re usually generic and can potentially be printed on computer paper. It’s also a good idea to ask if the venue has any in-house easels for signage, as well as table numbers. Request to see them first so you know if they’ll fit your vision.” – Meghan Shaughnessy, Lace & Belle
Can we see your options for linens, chairs, and other pieces we might want to include?
“A venue can look attractive price-wise in the beginning, but if in the end, you have to rent linens, chairs, and many other items, or pay a hefty rental fee, it may be worth comparing to other options that include more. In the end, you also should make sure that the overall feel and aesthetic of the venue coordinates with your decor visions, as it’s better to build upon existing decor and atmosphere rather than try to change it completely.” – Valarie Falvey, Kirkbrides
Wedding Venue Questions for Untraditional Spaces
If you’re planning a wedding in an untraditional space, ask logistical questions for your vendors.
“I’ve planned weddings in forests, studio backlots, empty warehouses, estate venues, and desert boulder coves with no power or running water. If you are considering a raw space or non-traditional venue, you’ll have a long list of logistical questions you’ll want to ask the site manager. Most of the questions will fall under the categories of noise restrictions, rental requirements, parking/ transportation, power, load-in/load-out timing, and vendor rules.” – Jessica Carrillo, Owner of Art & Soul Events®
- Noise: Are there any local noise restrictions I should be aware of? Is there a hard stop time for music? Are bands or live music allowed? Will sound be monitored by the venue? If so, what is the decibel level we need to stay under?
- Transportation: Is valet or shuttling required for guests or vendors? Are there enough parking spaces for vendors and guests to park onsite?
- Bathrooms: How many bathrooms are available for guest and vendor use? Do we need to rent portable bathrooms? If so, where do we place them?
- Power: Can we plug into a house power or do we need to bring in a generator? If so, where do we place the generator?
- Kitchen: Is there a kitchen on-site? If not, you will need to rent items for a complete kitchen buildout.
- Furniture: Does the venue come with any furniture, tables, chairs, or tabletop rentals included? If so, can we please see them?
- Rental Timing: How many hours is the venue rental? Can we load in the day before the wedding and load out the day after the wedding? Does event strike need to happen immediately following the event? Can any items be left overnight?
Is catering in-house?
“If in-house, ask to lock-in the current year’s rates for your wedding and see sample menus with pricing. Also, ask to waive trivial fees, like a cake cutting fee, before you sign the contract. It also doesn’t hurt to ask for a few concessions before signing, like a complimentary signature drink and ceremony beverage station!” – Stephanie Sadowski, SRS Events
Questions to ask if you’re bringing in an off-premise caterer:
“As an off-premise caterer, there are always certain questions we want to ask the venue! These are some of the basics we always ask to make sure we (and our couples!) are prepared!” – Michelle D’Anna, Michelle’s Catering
- What kitchen equipment is provided?
- What insurance is needed?
- Is there a manager on-site for the day of the event to take care of water and electrical issues?
- Is there a fee?
- Is there an “early set up” fee for tents or rentals?
- What is parking like?
Final Question to Ask Yourselves
Can we actually picture getting married here?!
“The biggest question of all when taking a tour of a venue is one that you actually need to ask yourself! Can you actually envision yourself getting married here? At the end of the day, this is your big day and you get to decide how you want to make your vision come to life. If you can’t imagine yourself tying the knot at a particular venue, then it might be time to look around.” – Lisette Gatliff of Lisette OC Photography
Print the Questions to Take With You!
We hope this has been helpful but we know information overload is real. So we put all the questions for you on one printable page! Print as many as you need and take them with you when you tour wedding venues!