11 Questions to Ask Your Venue
Updated: Jan 28, 2019
After setting a budget, a style, and thinking of your guest list, settling on the venue is the most logical next step. Finding a venue in your area can be a daunting task, but it is important to know which questions to ask in order to make sure your day goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Does the venue fit your budget and capacity?
Obviously, these two questions are obviously the most important questions you can ask yourself. If you plan on spending $5,000 and inviting 150 people, reconsider two things, your venue and your guest list. Renting a venue in North Carolina ranges, but the average venue costs around $3,500 for just the building, tables, and chairs. A standard venue in the triad area holds around 200 people. If you are planning with a larger budget, you can afford to skip this question all together. But it is wise to know your budget before you begin to shop for literally anything for your wedding.
2. What is the cancellation policy?
At most venues, and with most wedding professionals, cancelling your wedding does not guarantee a return on deposits or money paid. That means, don't sign any dotted lines before you are certain. Vendors do not wish to steal your money, so make sure the space works for you before you sign your life away.
3. How many hours are included in the rental?
Some venues may allow you to use the whole space for the whole day depending on their booking schedule and how many events they can hold in one day, while others may allot only 6-8 hours for the entire event including set up and break down. In these cases it would be wise to find a vendor who can quickly set up your event and break it down in under an hour. An all inclusive caterer like Rosa Mae's Catering or an amazing wedding planner (like me) can help you with a quick set up and all inclusive break down of rentals and events.
4. Will there be staff onsite during the event?
Some venues may have a person that is onsite during your event, but that is not the case for every venue. I manage a venue that does not require me to be onsite during the event but simply be on call in case an emergency happens. I have seen everything from the power going out to flooding when there is a hurricane outside. Being able to be close by is helpful in these situations, but some venues require that you have a coordinator to handle these situations when they arise.
5. What are the food requirements
One of the most frequently asked questions I get asked as a venue manager is about outside catering. Outside catering can be tricky, but cost effective. If the venue does not allow outside catering, they may have caterers that they trust and who know the space. If you go with an outside caterer, you should be required to provide liability insurance, department grades, and any required licensing information. Serving bad food to your guests on your wedding day can lead to many problems
6. Are you allowed a rehearsal time?
Some venues may allot you time to come in for rehearsal, but depending on what the venue has going on the days before, a rehearsal may have to happen at another location. Rehearsal of any kind is especially necessary when you have a bridal party because they may feel nervous and it can help your wedding day go smoothly and be stress free.
7. Is there security?
I have been to many weddings that go perfectly with no major issues, but a few have had questionable situations from out of hand guests getting too intoxicated to all out brawls on the lawn. Security may be there to protect your venue, but it is also there to protect you from your crazy wedding guests (aka. your uncle Bobby).
8. Is there parking and loading areas?
Parking is especially important for your guests that have a difficult time walking, but it is also important for your vendors who will be loading and unloading things like speakers, cakes, large food items, and all sorts of decor. If you are getting married in a downtown location, parking can be an issue, so determine what types of guests are coming to your wedding before selecting a venue.
9. Are there changing rooms or a bridal suite?
This weekend, I was able to visit the lovely Legacy Stables event venue near Winston Salem. The bridal suite on the property is to die for, yet this is not necessarily the standard at most venues. Having a space to gather, relax, and get ready on your big day is important. So if there isn't a bridal suite, ask about local nearby hotels.
10. Is there ample lighting and electricity?
Lighting is a factor that can influence vendors such as your photographer and videographer, but hiring a qualified vendor should help with these things. However, if you are getting married in a barn venue or an outdoor location, lighting may be something you have to rent. Electricity goes along with this because you will more than likely have vendors that require outlets and will not trip the breakers, such as your DJ and your lighting specialists. Ask about previous vendors that require electricity and ask where they have set up in the past.
11. Where are the restrooms located?
When you have a guest list of 150 people and only one stall in the bathroom, this seems like a logistical nightmare. Aunt Susan is going to have to go to the bathroom as soon as she arrives on site, and you don't want her to clog the only toilet on the property as soon as she arrives either! Make sure there are ample bathrooms, because trust me, if not that would be a not so beautiful disaster.
I hope these 11 questions help you when going on your first venue tour. Of course, these are not the only 11 questions you can ask, but taking this list along will definitely help you get started on the right path to finding your perfect venue for your beautiful day.