20 Top Questions To Ask Your Wedding Venue
Your chosen wedding venue will take up a considerable amount of your budget, so ensure you ask these top 20 questions before investing!
We also have a lovely free infographic for you to view at the bottom of the post
- Are you licensed to hold civil ceremonies?
- What’s the maximum number of guests we can have?
- Are we able to have a menu tasting session?
- Do you provide in house catering or can we book our own?
- Do you provide any discounts for midweek weddings?
- How long can we reserve our wedding date for?
- Do you offer exclusive use of the whole location?
- Can we use our own suppliers?
- Is their suitable inside areas in case it rains?
- How do we pay and are there payment plans?
- We have some disabled people attending is the access adequate?
- Can the venue put up a marquee?
- How many days before the wedding can we gain access to decorate?
- Can we supply our own alcohol?
- We would like food in the evening, can you supply this?
- Is there enough suitable parking spaces?
- Is there an option to have a late bar?
- We don’t have a wedding planner but will there be a main contact at the venue?
- Do you offer wedding packages?
- Are we able to use the whole of the outside space?
Here’s a little bit more of an explanation of each question
Are you licensed to hold civil ceremonies?
This is an important factor as not all potential wedding venues you like will have civil licenses, I have come across a few! At the same time you can enquire about registrars and the fees involved for getting married.
What’s the maximum number of guests we can have?
You may have 40 people at your wedding or 250, what’s important before you start wedding venue hunting is to ensure they can cater for the amount of wedding guest. This also includes those additional evening guests
Are we able to have a menu tasting session?
You want to make sure that on your wedding day you know the quality of the food you will be eating. The wedding breakfast is a huge part of your day so ideally you want to be able to try the food and maybe even the wine. Make an afternoon of it!
Do you provide in house catering or can we book our own?
It’s important to understand who’ll be preparing your food, as point number 3 references, this is a very important part of any wedding day and you want passionate and creative people to undertake what is a massive task on feeding lots of guests quality food at the same time. They would also have to design the wedding menu for you.
Do you provide any discounts for midweek weddings?
Weekdays are becoming a popular time for weddings, for a few reasons not limited to; weekends are more popular so the weekday can be cheaper or during the winter season where it’s generally more quieter. It’s worth asking, the saving could pay for something else on your wedding day!
How long can we reserve our wedding date for?
The wedding venue is normally the first thing that is booking on your wedding day and with that said most venues get booked up very quickly so ensuring you’re not leaving them hanging then I suggest snapping up the venue as soon as you can, up to 18 months in advance is not uncommon otherwise you are at the risk of losing your wedding venue. This is the same process for a good professional wedding photographer.
Do you offer accommodation at the venue?
Many of the best wedding venues in the UK and Europe have the added benefit of rooms, some hotels will obviously cater for as many guests as you wish dependent of its size, others that are not hotels will cater for a number of guests. This can be a brilliant way for close family and friends to be together throughout the evening. Some wedding venues will only hold the wedding reception so ask for local recommendations as you maybe provided a discount.
Do you offer exclusive use of the whole location?
Lots of wedding venues offer exclusive use and others will offer it as an option. Exclusive use may come with a few caveats like you may have to book a certain amount of bedrooms. Ask if not for exclusive use, what areas you will have for your own wedding. There are some very large venues that I have known to hold 2 weddings on the same day, this happens normally for destination weddings but you do need to ask, just in case.
Can we use our own suppliers?
Most wedding venues have preferred suppliers, especially when it comes to food. They know the kitchens, staff and the ins and outs of the whole working environment, this allows for a smooth client experience. Venues will also have preferred supplies for many other services; photographers, videographers, toast masters, florists, hair and make-up artists. You are not obliged to book with any of these. For example, when it comes to wedding photography 70% of my bookings come from venues I have never even been to around Europe. Photography specifically is a very personal choice as art is subjective in accordance to your own tastes and is worth looking around before you invest in what will be all that’s left of your wedding day.
Is their suitable inside areas in case it rains?
Us Brits love to talk about the weather, it’s an ice breaker (sometimes literally) so when it comes to your wedding day you have to be prepared for rain. It’s not a huge issue if the wedding venue has a plan B for having shelter, especially if you planned to have an outdoor wedding.
How do we pay and are there payment plans?
You would want to receive a full itemised quote for your wedding before you make any decisions. Remember, once you’ve received the quote you are penciled in and they may not be able to hold that date if another couple swoop in and are ready to book so ensure once the venue have spent the time providing you the details and contract that you read it over, making any notes and get back to them either with questions or a signature. You will have to pay a deposit at least and they you maybe able to request a payment plan. Also it’s worth asking about the cancellation policy just in case.
We have some disabled people attending our wedding is the access adequate?
Even if you don’t have friends or family using wheelchairs, there will be elderly guests who sometimes find it tricky to navigate around venues. It will be nice to know they will be fine on your wedding day.
Can the venue put up a marquee?
If you decide on a chic wedding at a quaint wedding venue then one way to make it larger, especially in the summer months is to have a marquee. Marquees these days are absolutely incredible and I’ve been lucky enough to photograph many that have been decorated stunningly to suit your occasion. If they can, then ask about the cost of heating and maybe additional lighting.
How many days before the wedding can we gain access to decorate?
Of course you’ll be itching to get in, you want to decorate but just how early can you get in to start? This is one question that will be essential to your wedding planning. Some of the more popular venues also have midweek weddings so you’ll need to ask this question.
Can we supply our own alcohol?
Weddings at hotels or restaurants will in most cases never allow you to bring your own alcohol, it’s just not cost effective for them. If you really do want to ship in that wine you had on last years holiday to Sicily then ask about corkage. Corkage is when a hotel or restaurant will charge you for bringing in your own wine.
We would like food in the evening, can you supply this?
Weddings are an indulgence and with that comes lots of lovely food and drink and believe it or not even after a day of enjoying yourself weddings are a tiring business and you may need more food for the evening, will your venue be able to cater for both the day and evening wedding guests and what are the options?
Is there enough suitable parking spaces?
Wedding venues that are based in the country at manor houses normally have adequate parking but what about city weddings. I’ve been a wedding photographer in London for many years and know sometimes it can be tricky to park unless you know the area. You’ll be having guests that have never been to the city or know the best places to park, so ask your wedding venue the best parking options available.
Is there an option to have a late bar?
Once the party poopers have ventured back to their rooms or home you’ll be left with a number of folk want to carry on into the night, some wedding venues may offer a late license for the bar to stay open for a few more hours, ask your wedding venue if there is an additional cost.
We don’t have a wedding planner but will there be a main contact at the venue?
If you don’t have a wedding planner, then you wouldn’t be reading this! You want to make sure you have a specific contact at your chosen wedding venue in London. Building trust with the venue will not only make your wedding build up be a pleasant experience it will leave you time to focus on you
Do you offer wedding packages?
Wedding packages can be a godsend for some who just want to sit back, booked and sorted without too much involvement of having to choose different services. Ask your wedding venue if they do offer this.
Are we able to use the whole of the outside space?
Although many wedding venues have various beautiful gardens, terraces, lakes and other glorious locations where you could picture sipping your welcome champagne, don’t assume you are allowed to use it. Make sure you are clear where you can and can’t go.
Is there any facility fee?
The majority of wedding venues in the UK charge a set fee to hire the location. Make sure you are only paying for what you are using. If they are charging a fee for the whole building and you are only using just a couple of rooms then you could ask if they would consider lowering their fee.
There we go, a collection of Top 20 questions to ask your wedding venue.
Gary Nunn is a leading wedding photographer in London and Milton Keynes, building wedding stories around the world.
Here’s your cool infographic on questions to ask a wedding venue