It’s an exciting time, but before you sign on the dotted line and part with your hard-earned cash, here’s everything you need to ask your wedding venue to secure your dream location…
Wedding venue questions
“Do you have public liability insurance?”
Rule number one, boys and girls, this is absolutely non-negotiable.
“What’s included in the cost?”
Everything you’ve seen on your visit, is it included in the price? Always ask your venue to list everything included in the complete package – and ask whether that price includes VAT, too. Be sure to go into the smaller details such as lighting, mics for the speeches, cutlery, table linens, menu tastings, sound equipment and whether the bridal suite comes as standard. It’s also worth asking if you’re able to pay in instalments, as this can help with your budgeting.
“Are we likely to bump into strangers?”
Or other brides, for that matter. Many venues are exclusive nowadays but it’s always worth checking if this is something that is important to you. In the same vein, also ask how many weddings the venue does in a day. If your ceremony is in the morning, the last thing you want is to feel rushed out the door because they require the space for an afternoon party.
“What’s your minimum and maximum guest allowance?”
There’s no point setting your heart on a venue if it can’t cater to your numbers, so find out what the capacities are and how flexible this is. Most people remember to ask about maximum guest numbers but many forget that some venues require a minimum, too, particularly if it’s exclusive hire. And don’t forget to keep room (both physically and numerically) for your photographer, videographer and musicians.
“What are we not allowed to do?”
If you have dreams of a grand firework finale but the venue doesn’t permit them, perhaps it’s time to look for somewhere that does. There could also be things in the small print that you wouldn’t even consider asking about, such as, ‘no dancing in heels’, ‘no naked flames’, ‘no confetti’ or a policy on young children. Who knew?!
“Do you have a wet-weather plan?”
Be sure to ask this if you have plans for an outdoor ceremony or drinks reception. It’s also good to know the best spots to have photos taken if the weather decides not to play ball on the big day.
“When can I get into the venue?”
Some will be able to give you the morning to decorate and get yourself ready, others may only be available for a few hours before. Even better is if you can get things set up the evening before, particularly if you’re planning on some serious decorative features. Find out how long you’ll have to set up so you can plan ahead.
“How accessible is it?”
Don’t overlook your less-able guests – the last thing you want is for Grandma to be confined to one room, or have to be carried down the steps for the group photos.
“Will there be an on-the-day coordinator?”
Someone to direct the guests when they start to arrive, to ensure the tablecloths are pristine and the guest book is in the right place – or will you be required to bring someone in yourself? Whoever is set to be there to handle proceedings, ensure you have the chance to meet beforehand, so you can feel comfortable in the knowledge that your day is in safe hands.
“Will we need to organise a clean-up the next day?”
Because who wants to have to spend their first morning as a married couple picking up the remnants of leftover wedding cake and stacking chairs into a van? Find out if your venue is able to take on Operation-Clean-Up to avoid doing it yourself if possible.
“Can we choose our vendors?”
Some venues have a recommended list of suppliers which they prefer their brides to stick to, others are more flexible about who you can bring in. This is especially true when it comes to the catering – many require couples to use their in-house catering team, which, if you had plans of street food stalls and craft beer carts, could be a problem.
“Can we bring our own alcohol?”
If you can, most will charge a corkage fee, so it’s worth working out what is best for your budget. And if you’d like to supply all the booze, make sure that’s allowed too – some venues only allow it for the toasts.
“Are there noise restrictions?”
If your venue is near a residential area or similar, it might be the case that the band has to finish up by 10.30pm – it’s good to be aware of your limitations.
“How many hours do we have?”
A five- to six-hour wedding is standard, including the ceremony, cocktail hour, meal and dancing – but find out beforehand what time the venue is licensed until. Remember, as tempting as it can be to want to party into the small hours, it’s been a long day for everyone and a midnight finish is usually a good time – before things get messy.
“Can I get that in writing?”
Make sure you ask for everything that is verbally offered to you to be put in writing so you are clear about what has been agreed, then run through it with your venue coordinator a few days before the big day.