Wedding Diaries: Venue Checklist

“Marriage lets you annoy one special person for the rest of your life”


It’s no secret that our wedding venue hunting experience has been anything but blissful. I think an accurate visual representation of our struggle would be to envision yourself standing naked & covered in honey surrounded by one hundred thousand hornets’ nests with a grand total of zero escape avenues. S’cute right? BUT I know that we are getting close & if there’s anything that this whole debacle has taught me, it’s what questions to ask & what to look for in a potential wedding reception venue. SO if you also happen to find yourself in the midst of planning a wedding but have no idea what to look for when venue hunting… I’ve got you ** somewhat** covered! So read away my fellow lost, lovestruck “married-couples-to-be”! The venue hunt gets better – probably. 

What to Ask When Wedding Venue Hunting

Below is a list of wedding venue questions that Andrei & I have complied over the past few months, with a few notes beside some of them! These may seem just a little bit meticulous but you don’t want to get screwed over with an unexpectedly high bill if you don’t know the answers to some of these questions! I’ve also included a link to a printable PDF of these same questions, but in a chart format without my notes, so that you can bring it with you to different venues & contrast & compare between all of the spaces that you’ve seen!

Questions to Ask: Onsite Ceremony

  • Can you perform ceremonies onsite? This totally depends on whether or not you want everything done in one venue space! Andrei & I are getting married in a church so it doesn’t really apply to us. 
  • What is the ceremony capacity?
  • Is there a rental fee for the ceremony space?
  • If the ceremony is held outdoors, is there a backup plan for an indoor ceremony (ie. weather)?
  • Are guests allowed to throw rice/pedals/confetti? If so, is there a cleanup fee for this? We’ve seen a few spaces that do not allow rice or confetti thrown at the end of the ceremony! If you really love this tradition & it’s important to you then you should keep this in mind when touring venues. 
  • Can we bring in our own officiant or do we have to use yours? Does this change pricing? Oftentimes the ceremony rental fee will include the cost of the officiant – be sure to double check.
  • Is there a plug-in fee for musicians during the ceremony?

Questions to Ask: Reception Room

  • Is there a rental fee for the venue room?
  • What is the reception minimum and maximum capacity?
  • What is included in the quote? GET THIS IN WRITING. When a venue sends you their quote, be sure to get it all in writing!
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • Is tip, or service charges included in the quote? Some venues will include the ip & service charge in the quote & some won’t – be sure to ask! Some require 15%, some 17% & SOME it’s up to your discretion!
  • How does payment schedule work? How much is the deposit and when is it due?
  • Is the space handicap accessible?
  • Is liability insurance included? We went to a venue that told us that if one of our guests fell & hurt themselves, we might be liable for them. Ask about liability insurance, if it’s included & WHAT it covers! 
  • Can we purchase our own alcohol? Some venues will allow you to purchase alcohol & their bartenders will serve it. This can save on costs but not every venue does it (it’s pretty rare actually)
  • Do we have to purchase a liquor license or are you fully covered?
  • Is there a bar purchase minimum?
  • Please define what you mean by open bar. Is there a cap? Will you inform us when the cap is met? “Open Bar” may not always be what it seems… At certain venues, the open bar will actually have a cap. Once the wedding hits that cap, they charge extra & per consumption – ASK ABOUT THIS IF YOU DON’T WANT TO DROWN IN ALCOHOL EXPENSES!
  • Is there a cake cutting fee? I seriously don’t get this part. But some venues will charge per person to cut the cake. So stupid. 
  • Can we use outside catering?
  • Can we bring in our own outside cakes or pastries? Andrei is Romanian, & he really wants to bring in Romanian Pastries! If this is something that is important to you keep this in mind – not every venue will allow you to do this!
  • Is parking available? If so, how many parking spaces are available?
  • Do guests have to pay for parking? Do we have the option to pay for our guests’ parking?
  • Is day-of coordination included?
  • Are we allowed candles for the centrepieces? Do they have to be in votives? If you’re decor relies heavily on candles – know that some places forbid it & most places require them to be in votives! 
  • When do my vendors have access to the reception space? Can items be dropped off the day before?
  • Is there a plug-in fee for the DJ or Band during the reception? Get this…. some venues will CHARGE YOUR DJ OR BAND to plug their speakers into the freakin’ wall……………… you should move along. We’ve heard from many venues that this is a total cash grab. 
  • Can you accommodate a live band?
  • What time does the music need to stop?
  • Are we responsible for cleanup? Is there a reception cleanup fee? Do you really want to clean up all of your decor in a wedding gown?
  • What time do our vendors have to come to pick up any rental items?
  • Is there a space to store vendor rental items overnight so that they can be picked up at a later date?

Questions to Ask: If Your Wedding is at a Hotel

  • Can we block hotel rooms?
  • Is there a discount for wedding guests’ hotel rooms?
  • Is there a hotel or resort fee that we have to pay? Some hotels we saw did, & some didn’t – ask about it!

For a downloadable PDF link of these questions… click HERE!

Hope this helps! Fellow brides-to-be… am I missing anything?!



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