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Top Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue

Top table for bride and groom at wedding

Do you have a wedding co-ordinator? If so, will they be there on my wedding day?

A wedding co-ordinator is someone behind the curtain at the reception. Because they often work for the venue, they are your go-to person should anything go awry while you're enjoying your celebration. Be sure to get a list of there responsibilities and confirm there attendance at your wedding before you sign the contract. If the venue itself pays them directly, you should not have to pay extra for this service.

How many guests can venue accommodate?

It is important to understand the maximum capacity of the venue, and plan your guest list from this number.

Will transport to and from the ceremony and reception be provided?

Making wedding-day transportation a no-brainer for your guests will ensure that things run on time. If the reception site does not make shuttles available, rent your own.

At what time will my guests have to leave the venue?

Understanding the timeline of the day will help you plan more efficiently. Ask the reception hall to write the time in the contract.

Is there a service charge on top of the bill? If so, how much?

Generally speaking, there's always a service charge for the food and beverages. The average is usually 10 percent of the food and beverage bill.

Must I use suppliers of your choosing?

Some venues will expect you to use their caterers and florists. Know that you can sometimes avoid this, but at a hefty cost. Normally, you have to pay a fee to the house caterer for not using it, in addition to paying your own caterer.

Wedding couple
Pink flowers on a table

Are there any consequences for not fulfilling the food and beverage minimum?

If you've decided on a cash bar, those purchases may go toward that minimum.

Do you allow alcohol and open flames?

Many venues particularly museums have restrictions about the types of alcohol that can be brought in. Red wine might be a no-no, as might mixers with serious staining potential. Also ask about having candles. Flames are not always a welcome element in places containing art or historic memorbelia.

Will there be a hosted bar, a cash bar, or a combination of the two?

This is a personal decision that you and your fiancé should make based on your budget, not one that should be dictated to you. The best answer you can hope for is that there will be a combination.

Who is responsible for setting up and tearing down the decor, and when will it be completed?

No matter where your wedding is, find out if you need to hire an extra person to take care of constructing and deconstructing the wedding set. Sites will normally cover this portion of the program for a fee. If your wedding is in a backyard, offer to pay the florist and the caterer extra to help out.

Will you assign an area for parking?

Most likely there will be parking provided, but make sure to ask and have included in your contract.

What's the backup plan?

Make sure the facility has a contingency plan when it comes to bad weather or other unforeseeable circumstances.

What's the corkage fee if I bring my own wine?

Supplying the wine-no matter where your wedding is-could save you money, depending on the corkage fee. Ask in advance what the charges are.

How early can I get into the site to set up?

Reception halls generally allow you ample time for this. But with museums, galleries, theatres, and stadiums, inquire early and often about how much time you have. Occasionally they won't permit a setup until the public hours of operation are over. For instance, if a gallery closes at 5p.m. on a Saturday and your reception begins at 7 p.m., that will pose a severe time crunch.

Are there restrictions for the photographer?

If you've booked the reception at your favourite art museum, only to be told that flashing camera lights are prohibited near the painting where your fiancé first kissed you, you might want to rethink that location.

Does the venue have public liability insurance?

Note if someone gets injured during the day ,you don’t want to be held responsible – if the site doesn’t have insurance ,you’ll need to get your own.

Are there any additional costs-cleaning fees, insurance-fee waivers, etc.?

Get it all in writing so there are no surprises.

How many weddings will be booked on my day?

Only if you're booking a massive event space should there be more than one event scheduled on your day. Make sure that you're getting the time you've been allotted and have paid for.

Bottles of wine on a tray

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