35 Questions to Ask When Touring a Wedding Venue

Decorated table at wedding venuePhoto: Sarah Sayeed

One of the first (and most fun!) steps in wedding planning is finding the perfect wedding venue for the big day. No matter what type of reception you’re planning, it’s best to book a venue before you start planning the more minute details.

From banquet halls and ballrooms to rooftop restaurants, resorts, and museums, there are all sorts of wedding venues to choose from. 

So it’s easy to find one that’s perfect for you!

If you’re starting to tour venues for your wedding day, here’s a list of wedding venue questions to ask to help you make the best choice!

Ask About Availability

Bride walking down aislePhoto: Bella Bridesmaids Oklahoma City / Carsyn Craytor

For couples that have a firm wedding date in mind, the most important question to ask is:

• Is the venue available on our day?

Assuming that it isn’t already booked, schedule a site visit and ask these additional questions while you’re there:

• Will we be the only party at the venue that day?
• What is your cancellation policy in case we decide to change venues, cancel, or want a postponement?

Many venues have multiple event spaces and host multiple parties at the same time. At a large venue, you should expect as much.

But it could also mean that your guests will have to share facilities — such as restrooms, parking, and coat checks — with guests from other parties.

See some of our favorite wedding venues in:

Atlanta | Charleston | Grand Rapids | Nashville | New Orleans | San Antonio

Ask About Food and Beverages

Delicious food and flowing drinks are a must at a wedding celebration! Always ask your venue about their food and beverage policies.

Consider asking:

• Is there an in-house caterer? If not, are there preferred caterers that we must use?
• Do you have a liquor license to sell alcohol?
• Is there a minimum food and beverage charge?
• Can we bring in our own alcohol from outside?

It’s common for venues to have food and beverage minimums. So be prepared to pay for 75 people, even if you only have 65 people on your guest list. It’s also common that if they have an on-site caterer, you won’t be able to bring your own caterer in.  

Ask About Vendors

Some venues have a preferred vendor list, which can limit your choice of florist, photographer, live band, etc. 

An important question to ask is:

• Do you have preferred vendors, or can we use any outside vendors we choose?

If they have preferred vendors, the venue should provide you with their list. From there, you can decide if those vendors will work for you. Take the time to check out those vendors before signing any contracts or making any deposits.

Ask About Lighting and Décor

Wedding venuePhoto: Norman & Blake

We all want our wedding to look a certain way, and your venue may or may not be able to make your vision a reality. 

Whether it's adding chandeliers, hanging decor from the ceiling, or setting tables with linens and wine glasses, ask:

• Can we add lighting?
• Are there restrictions on what type of décor we can use or where to place it?
• Are linens, glassware, silverware, and table settings provided?

Before you conclude your venue tour, ask to see any type of décor that’s included in the rental price to make sure it’s to your liking!

If your venue does allow decor, read Our 21-Item Wedding Decor Checklist for some inspo!

Ask About Logistics

No matter how amazing the venue may look, it’s important to factor in the logistical aspects of the space as well. 

These questions are a must:

• How many people does the venue accommodate?
• How many restrooms are there? (There should be a minimum of at least four for 100 guests).
• Is there a bridal suite on site where the wedding party can get ready for the wedding ceremony?
• Is there a coat check?
• Is there on-site parking?
• Are valet services available?
• Is the venue ADA-accessible to accommodate elderly guests and people with disabilities?
• Will the venue handle setup and breakdown, or do we need to hire outside help for that?
• Is there a designated space for the cocktail hour?
• What type of security do you provide?
• Can our band or DJ use your sound system and speakers, or should they provide their own?
• Is there a backup plan in case of inclement weather?

If plan A is to have an outdoor wedding, this last question is key! Make sure your venue has an indoor space available in case bad weather forces you to host your celebration inside.

Ask About Pricing

Regardless of your wedding budget, it’s always important to know what you’re paying for! 

Additional fees, like corkage fees, service charges, tips, and cake-cutting fees, can add up quickly. So, it’s best to know what you’re paying for in advance and what potential extras you might have to budget for. 

Be sure to ask:

• How many hours are included in the price?
• How many pre-wedding hours are available for setting up?
• Is there an additional charge to have the ceremony on-site?
• Does the price include the gratuity and tips for valets, waitstaff, and bartenders?
• When is the deposit due?
• What is the payment plan, and when is the final payment due?
• Is our deposit refundable? If so, how far in advance do we need to cancel?
• Do we need to buy wedding insurance?

Many venues have their own liability insurance. Yet, some require you to have your own wedding insurance to cover the cost of any damages or injuries that occur during your celebration. 

Ask About Restrictions

Table decorated with flowerPhoto: Bella Bridesmaids Oklahoma City / Dmitry Shumanev

We already mentioned that there could be lighting or décor restrictions, but other restrictions may also exist. Venues have their own rules and regulations. But they also have to follow local ordinances, making some restrictions non-negotiable.

Don’t forget to ask these questions:

• Are there noise restrictions?
• Can we toss confetti?
• Can we light sparklers?
• Are we allowed to rearrange or swap out furniture?

When touring venues, pay special attention to elements of the space that you don’t love. 

For example, let’s say you don’t like their dining chairs. Swapping them out for different ones may seem like a simple enough thing to do, but the venue might not allow it.

The wedding planning process can be a blast! And you can make it easier than ever (not to mention much more efficient) if you have a list of questions to ask before visiting potential venues.

While you’ll need to book your venue well in advance of your big day, don’t sign a contract or leave a deposit unless you’re certain it’s the right venue for you. 

The venue you choose should be one that you absolutely love and will allow you to have the wedding of your dreams! And that’s true whether you’re throwing a casual microwedding with a handful of guests or an over-the-top celebration with a larger guest count.

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