Questions to Ask on Your Wedding Venue Site Tour
Once you've taken The Knot Style Quiz, been matched with amazing wedding venues and narrowed down your potential favorites, it’s important to actually visit the properties to see with your own eyes that it looks just like it does on the website. When there, you should ask detailed, in-depth questions, meet with the staff and make sure it’s the right space overall for your nuptials. To make the most out of your tour, prep with our tips first.
How to Schedule Your Venue Tour
Call or email your potential venues to set up an official visit. Your tour could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending on who you’re meeting with (just a sales manager, for example, or a sales manager, property manager, on-site wedding coordinator and catering manager) and how big the property is.
There are three things to keep top of mind throughout every venue tour:
If the entire venue cost (not just the minimum) doesn’t fit within your budget, you may have to move on, unless you're open to cutting something else.
If you have your heart set on a certain date and aren’t flexible about moving it, hopefully the venue has it open—otherwise, you’ll have to keep looking.
This will likely be the most obvious yes or no decision about your venue: If you’re envisioning a rustic, romantic atmosphere but you’re touring a sleek, modern loft, you’ll probably cross the space off your list immediately.
When you’re on your tour, ask these questions to help you get a better feel of the venue.
What’s the walking/driving distance from the ceremony location?
Why you want to know: If you’re not providing transportation for your guests, you’ll need to know how long it’ll take them to get from the ceremony to the reception. Also ask what the traffic is like around the time of your wedding to ensure your guests won’t get stuck bumper to bumper on a road for an hour.
Is the venue near guest hotels, and can you recommend any?
Why you want to know: This could impact your decision to book the venue if guests have to drive a long way to get from their hotel to the venue and back, especially if transportation isn’t provided. Usually, anything over 30 minutes is a big ask—especially if you’re having an after-party with lots of drinking, which brings us to the next question.
Is public transportation an option?
Why you want to know: You’ll want to know if the venue’s close to any public transportation, or if there are cab or driver services in the area for guests to use.
How many people does the space accommodate?
Why you want to know: This directly relates to your guest list, and therefore, your budget. If you love the space but it only fits 75 comfortably, and your guest list is looking more like 200 (plus all your pros!), you have to decide if having the venue or your guest count is more important to you.
What kinds of aesthetic features do you have?
Why you want to know: It’s important to make sure that any standout features the venue has blends with your décor vision, and could possibly enhance the background of your photos. For example, is there a rooftop or pool? Is it on the waterfront? Are there any breaktaking views, incredible interiors or nature areas?
What kinds of services do you offer?
Why you want to know: You’ll want to know for your budget’s sake whether the venue has any all-inclusive packages for the site and food (and if any special dietary restrictions can be honored, like a kosher menu), if any rentals/pros are included (like microphones, linens and a full waitstaff) and whether an on-site coordinator can help. Don’t assume that everything is included.
Does your venue have...?
A tent, if you want an outdoor ceremony or need a backup plan
A backup plan in general, in case your first option needs to be changed due to weather
Space for your ceremony, if you want the venue for both your ceremony and reception
Cocktail hour space, especially if you’re having the ceremony and reception at the venue
A separate children’s room for childcare if you’re having an adults-only wedding and providing a babysitter
A coat check for winter weddings
A dressing room to store belongings, get ready in before the ceremony or change during the reception
Disabled access, for disabled or elderly guests
On-site hotel rooms, to minimize transportation, secure a room block or potentially rent out the property
Parking for your guests (but any valet fees should be picked up by the couple)
Ample restrooms for your guest count
What’s your outdoor space like?
Why you want to know: If you’re set on an outdoor party, make sure there’s enough room that will comfortably fit guests, pros and rentals for the ceremony, cocktail hour, reception and areas you like for photos.
What’s your electricity like?
Why you want to know: This question is twofold: You want to know if the venue has enough outlets and power for every pro requiring electricity, and you also want to get an idea of the lighting. Is it extremely fluorescent or dim? Will it make your photos look odd? Are they able to project the uplighting hue you want onto the dance floor? These are all important things to know, especially for evening receptions.
How many hours does our rental cover?
Why you want to know: Besides the actual ceremony and reception, you’ll want to know the exact time your pros can arrive to start setting up (they usually need at least two hours, if not more) and what time they need to be out by so they know when to start breaking down. You don’t want to be charged more if the venue has to keep the lights on for 30 extra minutes!
What are the logistics for pros and rentals?
Why you want to know: Some rental companies will charge you extra if they have to walk up and down stairs, so you’ll need to know if there are stairs, a service elevator, a loading dock or a separate entrance for them. You should also ask if they’ll be charged extra for any weekday/weekend drop-offs or pickups if they want to start delivering rentals ahead of time or pick something up a day later, and what their time windows are.
What kinds of restrictions do you have?
Why you want to know: There are a few kinds of restrictions you’ll want to be aware of. Ask if there are any alcohol restrictions or permits—some venues may not have a liquor license and just allow wine and beer, and some may also request that you don’t bring your own beverages to stock the bar. Same goes for vendors—your venue may only allow you to book pros from a certain list, while others will let you bring in whichever pros you want. Ask if there are any décor restrictions, like confetti or open flames. Also check to see if there’s a noise restriction after a certain time—many venues won’t allow you to play loud music past 10:30 p.m. or so, which won’t work if you want the option to dance until midnight.
How many weddings do you allow within a day?
Why you want to know: If you’re having an evening wedding, you don’t want your guests arriving to see the afternoon wedding’s rentals being packed up. It’s normal for venues to host more than one wedding in a day (especially at a hotel), but just make sure there won’t be any visible crossover or won’t obstruct anything from your wedding.
What’s your deposit/cancellation/refund policy?
Why you want to know: If you were close to accepting a new job, you’d want to go over your benefits and official offer letter before you sign on the dotted line—same goes for your venue. Ask if you can see a sample contract, or have their deposit/cancellation/refund policy outlined on paper for you. Things happen, and it’s better to know that you can recover any losses before you book your venue.