EVERY Question You Need to Ask at Your Next Venue Walk-Through
Updated: Oct 21, 2020
Congratulations on your engagement! In today's modern times, the entire world is a potential venue when determining the perfect place to wed. Whether you dream of saying ‘I do’ under the stars in Italy or your hometown’s local chapel, your venue walk-through should leave you with a lasting connection to the space allowing you to envision celebrating in it with the people you love most.
As you narrow down potential locations equipped with your first draft guest list and a (semi) concrete wedding date, you set out on the quest to find the perfect locale. Still, you can’t help but wonder, what do you really need to know?
With seemingly endless locations, searching for the ideal wedding venue can seem like an unnerving task. While this is an exciting time for most couples, it can often be complicated by not having a clear understanding of what each site offers and knowing exactly what’s included in their packages.
Know that asking questions about how your day will unfold and what you can expect as part of your experience is an important part of the process. Understanding that all venues work a little differently, we’ve compiled this list of must-ask questions to help make locale scouting a breeze!
Join us in ditching the ever-nagging question of “What do I really need to know?”
1. Contracted Hours
How many hours are included in your standard contract?
How many hours are allotted for setup?
How many hours are allotted for break down?
Am I able to extend my contracted hours?
How much is it to add on additional hours?
Can your employees help with the setup and teardown?
Is there an additional cost for tear down assistance? If so, how much is it?
What is the earliest I can arrive to set up on the day-of?
How early can my vendor’s deliveries be made on the day of the wedding?
Can my friends/family/wedding planner drop off items before the wedding?
Knowing how long the venue is actually yours to decorate and occupy is important. Many venues have an hourly rate if you go over your allotted time. It can add up quickly, especially if you are not aware of it until your actual wedding day. Make sure that your other vendors have enough time to set up, breakdown, and clean up within your time limit, so ask your venue early concerning this matter.
2. On-Site Assistance
Can you confirm who I should have as the primary point of contact?
Do you require us to book a wedding planner?
Do you offer an on-site venue coordinator?
What services are included with the on-site venue coordinator? What are the additional charges?
Will the venue coordinator also serve as the day-of coordinator?
What is the role of the on-site venue coordinator on the day of the wedding? Will they be on-site throughout the day?
What’s the best way to contact them before and on the day of?
Not all venue coordinators are the same, but they strictly help you if the things are related to the venue as a general principle. So if you have wedding planning tasks outside the venue, then it is expected that they are not involved in it. Also, don't forget to take the contact number of whoever will be on-site on the day of your wedding.
3. Load-In and Load Out
What parking is available?
What instructions should I give our vendors for load in?
What time can our vendors access the space, and what time do they need to be out?
Are the vendors allowed to park in the main parking lot to unload?
Are the vendors allowed to load in through the front door?
Are venue employees permitted to assist vendors with load in?
Are there any materials provided to assist the vendors with load in?
Are there any other policies that our vendors must follow?
It is important to ask if there are parking lot for your guest and your vendors. Ensure where the loading docks and zones are and how many spots are available for your vendor and your guests. If your venue doesn't offer a parking spot, ask for nearby parking areas, garages, or shuttle services that you could book beforehand.
4. Noise Ordinances and Photo Restrictions
Are there any noise restrictions in the area that I need to be aware of?
Does the town have any noise ordinances that the venue has to comply with?
Is there a cut off time for amplified music?
Does the venue have House Sound that is mandatory to use?
Are subwoofers allowed?
Are there any restrictions on where we can take photos?
Are there set up fees for outdoor venue spaces?
Are there restrictions on plated versus buffet in any of your spaces?
Asking about your venue's noise restriction policy could actually help you determine how long your party could go for. If you're planning to have an all-night dance party, consider that venues located within residential areas might not be the best venue for your celebration.
5. Liability Insurance
Are our vendors required to have liability insurance or COI?
Is there a minimum amount of coverage our vendors are required to have?
If so, do you need to be listed as a Certificate Holder or Additionally Insured?
It has been a common practice among venues to require couples to get insurance but fret not! You don't have to be overwhelmed and stressed while getting it. Typically, special event insurance cost around $150 to $300, and you can get it online through websites like Wedsafe.com and theeventhelper.com.
6. Day-Of Logistics
What time can you arrive together with your wedding party?
Are there designated rooms to get ready at the venue? Is this included in my contracted time, or do I need to pay for the additional time?
How many events do you have in one day?
Is catering offered on-site?
Am I able to bring outside caterers or a food truck on-site? Are they permitted inside the venue?
Are outside vendors allowed to cook on-site?
Do you have a prep space with access to a sink and a refrigerator?
Are there any alcohol restrictions?
Do you have a liquor license?
Can I bring my own alcohol? If so, is there a corkage fee?
Do you offer a complimentary champagne toast?
How is alcohol priced?
Are there plating fees?
How does the venue deal with waste? Are you responsible for disposing of it yourself?
Can you confirm that all bottles and other elements are being recycled?
Do you have a food and beverage minimum? Do those vary on different days of the week, and are those prices all-inclusive?
Do you offer menu tastings?
Are you able to create customized menus based upon items that are special to us?
8. Decorations and Facility Allowances
Is the site handicap accessible?
Is shuttle service available from nearby hotels?
How many restrooms are available?
Can I have pets on-site?
Do you require a rain contingency plan?
Do you offer uplighting or dance lights?
Are we allowed to hang anything in the venue? Are there any decor restrictions?
What mediums are acceptable to hang things with?
Are we permitted to use a ladder in the facility?
Are candles, balloons, flower petals, sparklers, bubbles, or confetti permitted?
Are tables, chairs, linens, and flatware included in our contract?
What table sizes do you offer?
Do I have to select my vendors from your preferred vendor list?
Where are the Ceremony, Cocktail Hour, and Reception usually held inside the venue?
Are you able to show us how you usually set up for the Ceremony, Cocktail Hour, and Reception?
Are we required to sweep and take out trash from the facility during the breakdown?
If you're having your heart set on having sparkler for your wedding exit or hundreds of candles, make sure that you get these approved before you book your venue. Bubbles and candles are often considered fire hazards and split hazards, so if your heart is set on having them, don't be shy to ask your venue ahead of time to know if they are allowed in the place.
9. Capacity Considerations
How many people does your venue seat?
Is a dance floor required?
Can you do a Ceremony on-site?
Is there an extra fee for having the Ceremony on-site?
How many restrooms are on-site, and where are they located?
How many outlets are there in the main space, and where are they located?
Before going to your venue walkthrough, talk with your partner, and draft an honest estimate of your guest list. Many wedding venues have strict occupation policies, so consider looking for another venue or trim your guest list if you think your guest count is too high.
10. Additional Offerings and Cost
Are you able to create a sample estimate that includes possible miscellaneous charges (such as valet parking, bartender charges, etc.)?
Can we rehearse the day/night before the wedding? Is there an additional fee for having our rehearsal on-site?
How much is the initial deposit, and when is it required?
When is the final balance due? Do you offer payment plans?
Can you provide a complete breakdown of what is included in the fees?
Do you offer a discount for off-season dates or weekday dates?
What forms of payment do you accept?
What is the cancelation policy, and is the deposit refundable?
When is the final guest count due?
Does our contract include having security on-site?
How do service charges and taxes affect total costs?
Do you have a minimum of nights and a percentage of guests required to stay at your hotel?
Do you offer any low season deals?
Before booking your venue, you must be well aware of their payment policy. Most venues require deposits to secure the space, so don't forget to ask your venue regarding your downpayment, the payment schedule, when your contract needs to be signed by, and how many walkthroughs are included in your package.