Choosing the perfect wedding venue is probably one of the most crucial steps in wedding planning. Not only will it leave an everlasting impression with your guests, it sets the tone and will be the location where your love is celebrated. Not to mention, it is also one of the biggest costs you will incur!

outdoor wedding ceremony, in a garden

Photo credit: Lisa Renault Photography

I remember when we were looking for a wedding venue, we had no clue where to begin or what questions to ask, but by the end, we were definitely pros. I have compiled for you a list of 72 questions to take with you, while visiting different venues so that you don’t forget a thing!

Remember, this is such an important decision – make sure to consider all the options before making any commitments. Weigh all the pros and cons, and make sure to get the answers to all your 72 questions.

Let’s get started!

outdoor wedding ceremony setup with lots of different chairs

Photo credit: Leona Campbell Photography

 

Download printable checklist


Planning and Accommodations  


1. Is my wedding date available?

2. Will we have exclusive use of the venue on the day of or are there other weddings taking place? If yes, how many?

3. How many people can the venue accommodate?

4. How long do we have access to the venue for? (from what time to what time) Is there an additional charge if we stay past that time?

5. Can I hold my ceremony at the venue as well? If so, is there an additional charge?

6. Are you licensed to carry out civil ceremonies?

7. Can you recommend a celebrant for the ceremony?

8. Do you have a designated room for the ceremony or is there a location outdoors where it can be held?

9. Do you allow the throwing of rice or confetti after the ceremony?

10. Is there a space for the bride and groom to get ready?

11. Can the wedding party also get ready on site?

12. Can we hold a rehearsal prior to the wedding? If yes, how much time is allocated for the rehearsal?

13. How many bathrooms are on site?

14. Is the venue handicap accessible?

15. Is parking available on site? Is so, is this included in the venue cost or is there an additional charge?

16. Is there an on-site coordinator? Will this person be serve as the day-of coordinator?

17. If I hire my own coordinator, can they communicate directly with the venue on my behalf?

18. What overnight accommodations do you provide?

19. Do you have any partnerships with nearby hotels? Can you provide a list?

20. Do you offer a discount for booking multiple rooms?

photographer with her camera

Photo credit: Lisa Renault Photography

Photography Restrictions


21. Does the venue allow flash?

22. Are the photographers restricted to specific areas? Are there areas, that they are not allowed to take pictures?

23. Are they allowed to move around during the ceremony?

24. Are there any other restrictions that we need to be made aware of?

wooden bar with lots of plants and the word cheers written in big on the front

Photo credit: Brandon Kidd Photography

Costs


25. What is the venue rental fee? And what is included in the price?

26. Is there a discount for booking an off-season date or a weekday?

27. Do you have different wedding packages available?

28. How much is the deposit? When is the due date? Is it refundable?

29. Can the fee be paid in installments?

30. When is the balance due?

31. What is the cancellation policy?

32. What happens if you go out of business or file for bankruptcy?

long outdoor wedding table setup with string lights

Photo credit: Lexia Frank Photography

General


33. Is there a Plan B made available in case of bad weather?

34. Will there a be a person on staff providing support the day of the wedding?

35. Does the venue have liability insurance?

36. Will there be security on site? Is there an additional charge for this service? Do I have to make my own arrangements?

37. Is there a minimum person requirement to book your venue?

38. Is there a coatroom available? If so, is there a staff member made available for coat check? Is there an additional charge for this?

39. Are fireworks allowed on the premises?

40. Can you recommend local acts (musicians, dancers, comedians etc.?)

two photos of an outdoor beach wedding reception table

Photo credit: Lexia Frank Photography

Vendors and Setup


41. 
What is the maximum capacity for a banquet-style or cocktail-style party?

42. Is there any vendor exclusivity?

43. Must I use the catering services provided or can I use a different catering company? Does it have to be chosen from a preferred vendor list?

44. If I use my own caterer, do they have access to the kitchen facilities? Is this included in the fee or is there an additional charge?

45. What appliances is the kitchen equipped with?

46. Can I bring my own cake or must I get the cake made on site? Is there a cake-cutting fee?

47. Do you provide special utensils for the cake-cutting?

48. Will you cut and serve the cake?

49. Do you provide tables, chairs,  glassware, tableware, linens, cutlery etc? If so, is there an additional charge?

50. Can you suggest other vendors that offer this type of service?

51. Do you have a dishwasher on site? Do we have access to it? Is there an additional charge for this?

52. Who is responsible for setting up and tearing down the layout and decor?

53. Can we decorate and do the setup the day before the wedding? If not, when is the earliest time, we can begin the process?

54. When can vendors arrive for setup?

55. Are there any decoration limitations?

56. Are candles permitted?

57. Is there sound equipment available for use? If so, what is it compatible with (i.e. iPod, what type of speakers, computer etc.?)

58. Do you have microphones available for speeches? If not, is there a specific rental company that you work with or can recommend?

59. Can you accommodate a DJ or a live band?

60. What time can the DJ/band play until?

61. Are there noise restrictions?

62. Is there a staff member on site to provide technical support for sound equipment/lighting?

63. Does your venue have a dance floor? If yes, where is it located and how big is it? If not, can we designate an area?

close-up of a wooden table and a plate with menu at a wedding

Photo credit: Brandon Kidd Photography

Food & Beverage


64. 
Do you have an alcohol license or do I have to obtain my own permit? If so, do I submit the application to you or directly to the Régie?

65. Do you provide an alcohol service? If so, am I charge by consumption or by person? If by person, are children included in the count? Are there additional charges for the bar staff?

66. Is there a bar minimum that must be obtained?

67. What is the tax and service charge? Is gratuity included?

68. Can I bring my own alcohol? If this is allowed, is there a corkage fee?

69. What type of cuisine do you offer?

70. What type of food packages are available?

71. Do you offer a tasting?

72. Can you accommodate specific dietary requirements?

our wedding will have an open bar calligraphy sign

Photo credit: Leona Campbell Photography

Some additional things to consider

When looking for a wedding venue, it is especially important to make sure that there are adequate photos showing the space they have for rent, in different lighting situations. No one enjoys falling in love with a venue, only to get there and realize that it is not at all how it was advertised!

Make sure that you have a specific contact person dealing with your wedding and helping with the coordination. Trust me when I say that you don’t have time for back and forths or having to contact the venue several times to get the answers to your questions. Look for places that respond to emails quickly and return your phone call within 24 to 48 hours.

This is probably the most important tip of all: before signing the contract, be sure that:

  • there is clear contract language being used throughout the entire contract,
  • you understand your obligations, rights and responsibilities,
  • you understand the obligations and contractual responsibilities of the venue
  • you are clear on the cancellation policy
  • you are aware of the deposit and payment schedule
  • last but not least it details ALL of the expected costs associated with the package you are taking, so that there are no surprises at the end.

Now, of course there are things missing on this checklist, as it really depends on the type of wedding you are planning. And, of course, the logistics will depend on a variety of factors, like whether your wedding is being held outdoors, or if it’s on private property or in a house of worship etc. But, you at least have a comprehensive list to help start the discussion!

We hope you find the wedding venue of your dreams!

The Ultimate Checklist: 72 Questions to Ask your Wedding Venue

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