51 Questions to Ask Wedding Venue Staff So You Get the Answers You Need

You’ll find the perfect venue in no time.
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
Associate Editor
  • Chapelle writes articles for The Knot Worldwide. She covers all things wedding-related and has a personal interest in covering celebrity engagements and fashion.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Chapelle was an editorial intern for Subvrt Magazine.
  • Chapelle has a degree in English writing from Loyola University New Orleans.
Updated Dec 04, 2023

After researching wedding locations on The Knot Vendor Marketplace (*hint, hint*) and narrowing the list to your potential favorites, you could be stuck wondering what now. You might think visiting the site is the next step, but there are at least 51 questions to ask wedding venues you need to know. While it's important to see the venue in person, you must prepare yourself to ask specific wedding planning questions so you book your wedding venue with confidence. For example, you want to ensure there's enough parking if your guests are driving in for the occasion. Or that the venue has ADA-compliant facilities. With everything from the number of bathrooms to alcohol restrictions, our list of wedding venue questions has you covered. See the list of inquiries to know about before, during and after your site tour below.

Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue:

Before You Tour | During The Tour | Regarding Finances | About Food and Beverages | Regarding Vendors | About Decor | Final Meeting

Printable Wedding Venue Questions Checklist

Want something you can quickly reference when talking to the venue staff and don't want to write every question down? Save this checklist (with some of the most important questions) to your phone's photo gallery or print it so you can use it as a resource before, during or after the venue tour.

Checklist of essential wedding venue questions to ask
Design: Natalie Romine

Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue Before Your Tour

You can ask the wedding venue questions below over the phone or in an inquiry email. Just ensure you sort out your wedding details ahead of time so that when the venue staff responds, your answers aren't vague.

1. When is the venue available?

    If you have your heart set on a specific wedding date and aren't flexible about moving it, you definitely need to ask this question. Hopefully, the venue is available for your desired date––otherwise, you'll have to keep looking. If you don't have a particular date in mind, ask the venue about what dates are open for your preferred season and year.

    2. How far in advance can I reserve the venue?

      For couples who've had their hearts set on a particular wedding venue, we suggest asking how far out you can reserve it. This question is especially important for popular locations. Some venues require a year in advance, while others are more flexible.

      3. What is the venue's rental fee?

        Remember that your venue's rental fee and catering will likely take up about half of your total wedding budget. If the entire venue cost (not just the food and beverage minimum) doesn't fit within your budget, you may have to move on unless you're open to cutting something else.

        4. What is the style of the venue?

          This will likely be the most obvious yes or no decision about your venue. Are you envisioning a romantic rustic atmosphere, but the venue staff describes the place as a sleek and modern loft? Then you'll probably need to cross the space off your list immediately.

          5. Does the venue have space for a ceremony and reception?

            To take some hassle out of planning and traveling for guests, some couples try to have their ceremony and reception at the same venue. If keeping everything at one location is important to you, ask the tour guide if there are separate ceremony and reception spaces.

            Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue During Your Tour

            Once you've scheduled a venue tour, it's time to get answers to the crucial details that could influence whether you book or not. Here are 17 questions to ask when touring a wedding venue.

            6. How many people does the space accommodate?

              A venue's capacity directly relates to your guest list and budget. If you love the space but it only comfortably fits 75 people and your guest list is close to 200 (not including your pros), you have to decide if having the venue or your guest count is more important to you.

              7. Is there an area to have the cocktail hour?

                Who doesn't love a fun cocktail hour with tasty drinks and food? But before you create the menu, you have to talk about logistics. Ask if the venue has a place for guests to mingle after the ceremony.

                8. What's the walking/driving distance from the ceremony location?

                  If you're hosting your wedding ceremony and reception in different locations, you'll need to know how long it'll take to get from one site to the other. Also, ask what the traffic is like around your wedding time to ensure you and your guests don't get stuck on the road.

                  9. Is the venue near hotels, and can you recommend any?

                    Don't know what to ask a wedding venue? Try this inquiry since it could impact whether you book. If guests have to drive a long way to get from their hotel to the venue and back, we think it's best to avoid that venue––especially if you're not providing wedding transportation. Usually, anything over 30 minutes is a big ask.

                    10. Is the venue near public transportation?

                      You'll want to know if the venue's close to any public transportation, cab or ride-share services in the area for guests to use. After all, nobody should be driving a car after consuming alcohol.

                      11. What aesthetic features does the venue have?

                        You should ensure any of the venue's standout features blend in with your decor vision. For example, is there a rooftop or pool? Is the venue on a waterfront? Are there any breathtaking views, incredible interiors or nature areas?

                        12. What services does the venue offer?

                          For your budget's sake, you'll want to know what things are included in the venue fee. This could be rentals, assistance from a venue coordinator or an in-house wedding baker. It's always best to ask rather than assume.

                          Find your kind of venue

                          From barns to ballrooms, discover reception venues that feel like you.

                          13. What does your outdoor space look like?

                            This is one of the most vital questions to ask when looking at wedding venues. So if you want an outdoor soiree, ensure there's enough room to comfortably fit guests, pros, rentals, the cocktail hour area and reception.

                            14. Does the venue have a tent or backup plan if I want an outdoor ceremony?

                              It doesn't matter which season you want your wedding in; you should always have a plan b for outdoor weddings. Ask the venue staff if they have tents or an indoor area for you and your guests to move to if there's inclement weather or other issues.

                              15. How many hours does the rental cover?

                                Besides the ceremony and reception, you'll want to know the exact time frame you have to set up, celebrate and clean up your wedding. You don't want to be charged extra if the venue has to keep the lights on for 30 more minutes.

                                16. How many weddings does the venue allow within a day?

                                  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 make sure there won't be any visible crossover.

                                  17. What are your electricity capabilities?

                                    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? Can the venue project the uplighting hue you want onto the dance floor? These are all crucial things to know—especially for evening receptions.

                                    18. Is the venue ADA-compliant?

                                      Your wedding should be as disability-friendly as possible. That includes but isn't limited to a leveled or ramped primary entrance, accessible doors, bathrooms and parking, working elevators and inclusive seating.

                                      19. Is there parking for guests on-site? If so, is there a fee?

                                        For traveling guests, you'll need to have a place for them to park their vehicles. Ask the wedding venue staff if there's an area for cars, how many parking spaces there are and if there's a fee. Consider paying for the guest parking fee if your wedding budget allows.

                                        20. How many restrooms does the venue have?

                                          You don't want to have long restroom lines at your wedding. Talk to the venue staff about how many bathrooms are on the property. If you feel like there are too few, but you love the venue, consider renting portable bathrooms––there are some really luxurious ones nowadays.

                                          21. Where can we safely store wedding gifts?

                                            This might not be something you have considered, but wedding gift theft is a real thing. Find out if there is a room with a lock where you can place your gifts so there are no issues.

                                            22. Does the venue have a dance floor?

                                              If getting down on the dance floor is a top priority for you and your guests, ask the wedding venue employees if there is one. If the venue doesn't have one, ensure there's enough space in the reception area for you to add a rented one.

                                              23. Are there rooms for the couple and wedding party to get ready in before the wedding?

                                                For those who've selected a venue that works for their ceremony and reception, you'll need a dressing room to start the getting ready process. Check if the venue has suites for you, your partner and your attendants so everyone can prepare for the big day together. This will also help decrease your chance of running late since you'll already be on the property.

                                                Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue Regarding Finances

                                                If you and your partner are happy with all the above, you're ready to move on to the next step. Here are key financial questions to ask your wedding venue.

                                                24. What's the deposit, cancellation and refund policy?

                                                  Before accepting a new job, you'd want to look at your benefits and official offer letter before you sign on the dotted line––the same goes for your venue. Ask if you can see a sample contract or have their deposit, cancellation and refund policy outlined on paper. Things happen, and it's better to know you can recover losses before you book your venue.

                                                  25. Are there any additional fees we should be aware of?

                                                    Hidden wedding fees can add up, making a sizable dent in your budget. Be sure to ask about taxes, gratuities, service charges and more to ensure you're clear on your venue's total cost.

                                                    26. Do you have liability insurance?

                                                      If a wedding venue doesn't have liability insurance, you'll have to purchase your own. This is important in case someone gets injured, your venue is damaged or some other mishap occurs on the big day.

                                                      27. Does the venue offer flexible payment plans?

                                                        To serve couples of different financial backgrounds, some wedding venues offer payment plans. The venue is only one of many things you'll be putting your money towards, so don't be afraid to ask if they have this option if it will help take some of the financial burden off your shoulders.

                                                        28. What payment methods does the venue accept?

                                                          Don't assume your preferred payment method works for the venue. There might be a possibility the venue takes only checks or certain credit cards.

                                                          Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue Regarding Food and Beverages

                                                          Wedding catering is one of the most significant parts of the celebration because it fills the belly and warms the heart. Here are food and drink-related questions to ask a wedding venue before booking.

                                                          29. Does the venue have an in-house caterer?

                                                            Some venues want you to use their services from beginning to end, which is why in-house caterers are provided. If they do have one, ask them about their menu offerings, if they can accommodate dietary restrictions and when you can schedule a menu tasting.

                                                            30. Is there a kitchen on-site?

                                                              You've probably already guessed it, but if the venue doesn't have its own caterer, you'll have to hire one yourself. That isn't a big deal in itself, but you do need to ensure the venue has a full kitchen for your desired catering team to work.

                                                              31. Am I allowed to bring our own alcohol?

                                                                Bringing alcohol is one way to cut corners on costs, but some venues, especially hotels, don't allow you to bring outside alcohol. Some wedding venues may not permit alcohol at all on the premises. So, ask if there are any alcohol restrictions and if the venue has a liquor license, which means you can only have wine and beer.

                                                                32. Is there a corkage fee?

                                                                  If your wedding venue permits you to bring your own alcohol, they most likely will charge you a corkage fee. This is the same setup restaurants have if you bring your own bottle of wine. This fee sometimes includes the venue waitstaff helping open and serve the wedding wine.

                                                                  33. Does the venue have an in-house baker?

                                                                    There are a few venues that require you to use their in-house cake baker, while others allow you to select an outside baker. If you must use the venue's baker, look at photos of their work to ensure you're comfortable moving forward.

                                                                    34. Is there a cake-cutting fee?

                                                                      Also known as the cakeage fee, the wedding cake-cutting fee is a rate venues charge for cakes made at other bakeries. The wedding cake-cutting fee pushes the couples to use the in-house baker, but it also gives the venue waitstaff fair compensation for cutting, plating and serving the cake, which is usually a service included in the price.

                                                                      Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue Regarding Vendors

                                                                      As you would for your guests, you should ensure your expert wedding pros are taken care of. These are the questions to ask the wedding venue tour guide on behalf of your vendors.

                                                                      35. Can the venue accommodate a DJ or live band?

                                                                        Before you book DJ Pauly D or ask your uncle's blues band to perform at your wedding, you'll need to know how much space the venue has for your acts. Some venues have limited space that could prevent you from hosting a DJ or live musicians.

                                                                        36. Do you have a sound system and microphones?

                                                                          Whether it's for your ceremony prayers, a live band or the reception wedding speeches, you'll need a sound system and microphones. Some vendors provide these items themselves, but it doesn't hurt to ask the venue employees what equipment they have.

                                                                          37. Are there any noise restrictions?

                                                                            Check to see if there's a noise restriction after certain times. Many venues don't allow you to play loud music past 10:30 p.m. or so, which won't work if you want to dance until midnight.

                                                                            38. What time can my vendors start setting up?

                                                                              This is one of the most important logistic questions to ask at a wedding venue––especially if your potential venue hosts numerous events in one day. Knowing when your vendors can arrive will help you plan your event and determine if there's enough time for them to set up before the ceremony.

                                                                              39. Can I hire outside vendors?

                                                                                This is a prime question to ask wedding venues because some have strict rules around which outside services they allow on their property. The wedding venue might even have a preferred vendors list you can choose from, while others could require lengthy contracts for outside vendors due to liability issues.

                                                                                40. Do you require all vendors to provide a COI (certificate of insurance)?

                                                                                  Lots of great things can happen on your wedding day, but there can be some accidents. The champagne tower assembled by the bar team could topple over, or sparklers set up by the lighting staff can catch a curtain on fire. You want to be covered for every possibility, and so does your venue.

                                                                                  41. What are the logistics for pros and rentals?

                                                                                    Some rental companies charge extra if they have to walk up and down stairs, so you need to know if there are stairs, a service elevator, a loading dock or a separate entrance for them. You should also ask if there are additional charges 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.

                                                                                    Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue Regarding Decor

                                                                                    Most likely, how your wedding looks is extremely significant. That's why you need to have the things to ask a wedding venue below on your checklist.

                                                                                    42. Can we bring our own decorations?

                                                                                      Some vendors have restrictions on the kinds of outside decor they permit. Share this information with your wedding decorator and planner so they can know what they're working with.

                                                                                      43. Am I allowed to rearrange anything at the venue?

                                                                                        There are some wedding venues have strict rules around rearranging anything on site. Whether it's a liability or safety issue, it's best to ask this wedding venue question upfront. This will allow you to begin imagining what the venue would look like on your special day.

                                                                                        44. What decor, if any, is included in my rental fee?

                                                                                          Along with understanding what you can and cannot bring from outside regarding decorations, be sure to ask what kind of decor they provide. This will keep you from doubling up on items, bringing anything that may clash or spending money unnecessarily.

                                                                                          45. Do you have open-flame regulations?

                                                                                            If your perfect wedding involves an aisle lined with lit candles, you need to talk to the venue team about their open-flame policy. Some venues allow candles but have a restriction on the amount, while others prefer you to have flameless candles.

                                                                                            46. Can you share lighting and decor ideas you've done for past events?

                                                                                              Some venues provide their own decorating and lighting services. If your potential venue offers this, we suggest asking them to show photos and videos of their previous work so you can decide if their look is right for you.

                                                                                              47. Does the venue offer set up and break down services?

                                                                                                Setting up and breaking down the wedding might be a courtesy in the contract or an add-on to the final bill. Either way, you need to ask this wedding venue question to compare fares with other vendors.

                                                                                                Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue at the Final Meeting

                                                                                                You're almost at the finish line. Before you book, bring these questions to ask a wedding venue team member.

                                                                                                48. When is the final venue payment due?

                                                                                                  Ensure you're on the same page about the venue's payment schedule. You don't want to lose out on your favorite wedding venue because you didn't confirm the payment deadline.

                                                                                                  49. Who can we contact throughout the planning process?

                                                                                                    You might not believe it, but you probably have more questions for the venue staff down the road. Ask if you'll have a point of contact, like an on-site wedding venue coordinator, to answer your questions and help coordinate your planning needs. Exchange phone numbers and emails so you both can communicate efficiently and as quickly as possible.

                                                                                                    50. Do you provide signage, or will we have to bring our own?

                                                                                                      To keep your guests in the right place at all times, you'll need wedding signs. Whether it's to guide them to the restrooms or direct them to the parking area, clear signs are a must. Ask the venue employees if they can provide signs for your event.

                                                                                                      51. Can we visit the venue a few days early with our vendors so they can see the layout?

                                                                                                        This is one of the best questions to ask during the final wedding venue walk-through. Vendors like your photographer, videographer, caterer and more might want to walk around your venue to get a better look at the layout. This helps them better visualize setups and make their jobs easier. Ask the venue staff if doing this two to three days before the wedding is possible. We also advise coordinating all necessary vendors to be there on one day so the walkthrough is done in one fell swoop.

                                                                                                        Up Next
                                                                                                        • Best types of wedding venues 2023.
                                                                                                          37 Types of Wedding Venues That You Should Consider