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Questions to Ask Your Potential Venue

June 4th, 2012 by Jeannine

Questions to Ask Your Potential Venue

It’s important for a couple to know a lot about their chosen venue before handing over the deposit. My suggestion would be for you and your fiancĂ© to write out everything that you want to achieve during your wedding and generate questions based on that to make sure the venue can accommodate your requests.

I’ve compiled a list of questions that can help you get the answers you need in the planning process. I’ve broken them down into four categories…

General Event Questions

Can I hold both the ceremony and reception here?
It saves you the hassle of finding a second venue, paying a higher delivery charge, transferring flowers and decor from place to place, transportation time, and it is super convenient for your guests to just stay in one place.

When can we have our wedding rehearsals? Are your times flexible?
Wedding rehearsals usually happen on weeknights and may be inconvenient for some people to attend. It’s not a deal breaker because you have to have a rehearsal, it will just be a good heads up for your bridal party so they can make the necessary arrangements to be able to attend.

Do you have photo locations nearby?
If there are great photo spots near your venue, it may allow you just a little bit more time to get that last pose in without having to beat the traffic to make it back to your reception on time.

Do you have a rain plan?
In Raincouver this question is on EVERYONE’s minds, even in the summertime. If you’re planning to have an outdoor ceremony, ask if their staff can move it indoors at the last moment. Don’t forget to ask what the layout would look like, depending on the location, the venue may not have enough space for aisle seating so your guests will be watching you get married from their assigned table. Having a solid Plan B will make you more relaxed on the day.

How early are we allowed to set up?
This is extremely important if you’re setting up the venue yourselves. You need to make sure to leave enough time for setup, or even ask if you can come in the night before!

Does music have to be turned down by a certain time?
This is important for venues close to or in residential areas. The last thing you want is your bumpin’ party cut short at 10 or 11PM because of a noise restriction. If you want a party to remember, find a venue that will let you dance the night away!

Is amplified music allowed?
If you want a live band or even just an electric guitar player as you walk down the aisle (this was what we wanted for our wedding), you’ll have to ask your venue if you’re allowed to have amplified music on site (indoor or outdoor). Our venue didn’t allow amplified music so we ended up playing the ceremony song we liked on a rented speaker. It was a great 2nd choice.

Food & Drink

Can you bring your own liquor?
If you can purchase liquor elsewhere, you may be able to get more booze for your buck.

Can you make special requests on the menu or replace menu items?
Just in case anyone has food allergies or if you just don’t like broccoli… or other food :P

Can you bring in edible favors and are guests allowed to consume it on site?
I originally wanted to give away personalized Jones Sodas at my wedding but found out that we weren’t allowed to have it consumed on site. Just another thing to think about when you decide on wedding favors.

Equipment & Technical

What tables are included and what are the shapes and sizes for each? How many people per table?
Your decorator needs to know what size of linens to acquire and you need to know how many guests to a table so you can start your seating chart.

Are candles allowed in the venue?
Venues may have restrictions with open flame so it’s best to check before you buy candles in bulk.

Do you provide decor items such as easels, centerpiece mirrors, votive candles, printed menus and signs?
It’s a nice extra when a venue can provide certain decor items so you don’t have to worry about it.

What kind of chairs will be used?
Some venues use chairs that are beautiful enough to forgo renting chair covers, but others may not so it’s best to check and see what you’ll be using for your event.

Do you have any a/v equipment for rent like microphones, dvd player, projector & screen, podium, or sound system?
If you want to include a slideshow or simply have your guests be able to hear you during the speeches, this is a necessary question, otherwise you’ll have to make other arrangements. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they can be complimentary ;)

If you have a built-in sound system, can we hook up our mp3 player to it?
This will let you know if you can hire a DJ for later on in the evening instead of all night, in order to cut costs.

Where are the power outlets located (indoor/outdoor)?
For outdoors, ask this if you are considering bringing out speakers, lights, or anything that needs to be plugged in. If there are no outlets available, make sure you have a proper length extension cord as part of your equipment list. For indoors, you need to have enough outlets for uplighting, audio equipment, photobooth and other electronics that need power.

Do you have a copy of the floorplan we can have?
A floorplan is useful to have in your records so you can show your coordinator where everything will go.

Do you have a bride’s room or safe room for gifts?
This is important so you can store your belongings and/or wedding gifts in a safe place. Definitely ask this if you’re not at a hotel with access to a guestroom.

If there will be another wedding happening at the same time? If yes, will it conflict with ours?
With simultaneous weddings, you run the risk of wedding crashers or loud guests from the neighbouring room. Clear it with the catering manager if the other wedding will be obtrusive or not and what steps will they take to make sure your event isn’t disrupted.


Is there a minimum spend amount or guest count? Does it vary depending on the season and is it negotiable?
Chances are, your venue will have one, but there are certain times of the year or days of the week when it’s lower. If budget is a concern, plan accordingly. If you’re just shy of the limit, see if you can negotiate for the rate you want anyway.

Is there any way to waive the cake cutting fee?
The cake cutting fee is charged per head whenever you ask the venue to cut and serve cake. The fee goes towards slicing, serving, dishwashing, and use of extra dishes… but if you serve cupcakes, they don’t need to do any of that so there’s a good chance the fee can be waived. A warning though, not all venues waive the fee, but it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Feature photo courtesy Shutterstock

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  • June 4th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
    Vinnie says:

    AWESOME list! I’m seeing a venue in a week or 2 and this totally comes in handy!

  • January 31st, 2013 at 7:27 pm
    your name says:

    Where is this venue in the picture you provided?

  • January 31st, 2013 at 11:09 pm
    Jeannine says:

    This is a stock photo – I don’t know what venue it is, or if it’s even in Canada.


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