A good friend of mine recently got engaged (best wishes, Joyce!) and one of the first questions she had for me: do you have a list of questions to ask venues when you’re looking for a wedding ceremony and reception site? So I put together a list of questions for her and I’m going to share them with you.
But I would like to mention that before looking at venues, make sure you’ve had a conversation about budget with your fiancé and anyone else who might contribute financially to your wedding. To give you a frame of reference as you set your budget: the average spent on a wedding in the United States is currently $30,000.
The next step is to write down a guest list, but decrease that total by 20% to come up with a number that you’ll give to venues during your search. Your final number could change a lot, but at least you’ll give the venue a general idea. You can also narrow down your search quicker if you have a season and/or some dates in mind. Now you’re ready to start reaching out to venues!
Here’s a list of possible questions to ask the venues you’re considering:
1. Will the setup that I want (for example: a ceremony and then a buffet dinner) fit at your venue? What is the typical wedding setup?
2. How does the flow at your venue work? For example: how do the guests move from the ceremony to the cocktail hour and then to dinner? What is the maximum seating?
3. Does my budget and wedding theme fit well at your venue? May I bring additional decorations, such as candles? Are there any decorations not allowed?
4. What is the best way to access your location? How will the DJ get his speakers to the dance floor? Where is the catering kitchen?
5. Who is the contact person leading up to and during the wedding? Will the venue provide any type of security or staff?
6. What are all the potential fees and charges? May I see a proposal and/or a sample contract?
7. What is included in the contract? Does the venue provide tables and chairs or are they an additional cost? May I see pictures of the chairs and other equipment included?
8. What are the required or preferred vendors, if any?
9. Can the venue accommodate handicapped guests?
10. Is there an additional room where the bride can get ready with the bridesmaids? Are there any additional rooms available for a wedding planner or signing a ketubah (if you’re Jewish)?
11. Where can guests park and what is the cost? What if I provide a shuttle for guests? Where can the shuttle pull over and/or park?
12. How many restrooms are there and where are they located?
13. Who is responsible for cleanup?
Once most of your questions have been answered, you’re ready to book a date and time to see your top three venues. Try to see the venues at the same time of day (and season) as your wedding.
Once you’ve booked your venue, you’re ready to start planning your wedding details! Good luck and enjoy the wedding planning process!