You have your special date chosen and are now choosing your wedding reception venue. Use our handy question list to help narrow down the choices.
First things first: the wedding date
Is our date available?
How many weddings will be booked that day?
Is the venue available for exclusive use?
How flexible are your packages?
Are there any changes planned to the area before the wedding (renovations, painting etc)?
How many guests does the venue hold?
Is the venue child friendly? Are there facilities for entertaining children?
Is there facilities for the elderly and disabled?
Is there ample parking availability is there for guests? Any costs for parking?
Is there public transport nearby?
Is there an outdoor smoking area?
Are there adequate bathroom facilities?
Is there a separate area for cocktail hour?
If it is an outdoor area, is there a backup plan in the event of bad weather?
What area is available for a band and dancing?
Are there sound equipment, microphones and speakers available for use? Can we hook up an ipod or laptop to the sound system?
Is there a secure area to store wedding gifts?
Does the venue have public liability insurance?
Are there any noise restrictions?
What time will everyone have to leave the venue? How long do we have at the venue? How much are additional hours?
Décor & Styling
Do you work with specific vendor partners? Do we have to use these vendors?
Are there any decoration limitations? Can we use candles?
When is the area available to setup? Can we gain access the day before?
What type of tables (size, shape) do you have available?
What crockery/linen/cutlery is provided as part of the package?
Is any other décor provided (menus, centrepieces, cake stand, cake knife)?
Are there any restrictions with moving things around or decorating to suit my purposes? (what can and can't be tossed, décor to be hung, use of candles, etc.)?
Is there an in-house caterer? Do we need to use that caterer?
What kitchen facilities are available?
Is there a minimum food and beverage amount?
Can we have a tasting? Are there fees involved for this?
Can you accommodate special dietary requirements?
What time is the meal served?
Can I bring in a cake from an outside baker? Are there any restrictions with this? Is there a cake-cutting fee?
Do you have a liquor license?
What is the pricing for alcohol? Is there a charge for bar staff?
Is there a bar minimum?
What bar tab is recommended?
How much wine/champagne/tea & coffee is included per person in any packages?
Is a champagne toast included?
Are we able to bring our own liquor? Is there a corkage fee?
What are the wine choices and what are the upgrade costs?
Are there any additional charges for bar staff or waiting staff?
Staff and Coordination
Who is the coordinator that we will be dealing with before the wedding? Can we meet them now?
What services are covered by this venue coordinator? Are there additional charges?
Is this coordinator the same one available on the day of our wedding? Will they be available for the duration of the reception?
Do they assist with set up or take down of the décor?
Wedding Ceremony (if having at the same venue)
Can I have my wedding ceremony here too? Is there an additional charge?
What spaces are available for ceremonies?
Are we able to have a ceremony rehearsal?
What overnight accommodations do you provide? Are there any discounted rates for guests?
Can the wedding party get ready at the venue?
Do you offer a discount for booking multiple rooms?
Is the bridal suite included in the price?
Do you have a list of local hotels for guests?
When is checkout time?
What kind of deposit is required? When is it due?
When is the balance due?
Is there a payment plan schedule?
What form of payment do you accept?
Are there any extra costs?
Is there any discount for an off-season date or off-peak day or time?
What is your cancellation policy? Is the deposit refundable in case of cancellation?
What's the last possible date that we can make changes?
Get everything in writing. Your reception venue is not reserved on your date until you sign a contract, and in many cases also pay a deposit. Before you sign the contract, read all of the fine print. Do not assume anything from what you have been told, make sure your contract includes everything.