Finding the right wedding venue for you and your guests – what you should be asking

Finding the right wedding venue. The facilities your chosen venue has to offer can make or break your wedding day. It’s the little things that are often forgotten like seating for older/disabled guests at transitional points of the day, safe areas for children and break out rooms for the wedding party to escape to that can make all the difference.

Here are some questions you can ask your venue to make sure it’s the perfect place for your wedding day, and your guests.

Will we have exclusive use of the venue?

Many venues are multi-purpose and you might find that some other rooms are being used by other parties during the day. This might be a price worth paying if it means you pay less for the venue, but if you do want breakout rooms and the chance for people to spread out and make use of all venue facilities, getting exclusive access is the way to go.

Ask what you’ll have access to and if there is any flexibility with that.

When will you have access to the venue?

Can your suppliers get everything set up the day before or are they going to have to get there early on your wedding day to get the rooms set up on time?

Generally, this isn’t an issue when the venue are taking care of the décor, catering, reception, etc but if you’re solely booking the room(s) and outsourcing everything else, it’s important to know when your suppliers can get in.

How much of the layout can you change?

Some venues will allow you to change room layouts to suit your wishes and guests while others have a rigid set-up. The latter can be great and is often based on the venue’s trial and error of what works best but might not be practical if you have disabled guests with different access needs or there will be a lot of young children, for example.

If you can’t change the layout make sure you discuss your guests needs with the venue and ensure that they make the relevant changes, it is a legal requirement under the Equality Act 2010 and will ensure that each and every one of your guests will be able to join in and share your special day with you without hinderance.

Does the venue hire include equipment?

Sometimes room hire really is just the room and doesn’t include the tables and chairs when you go to view it!

It’s essential that you’re clear on what’s included in the price and who is responsible for providing what, some things to consider include:

  • Tables, chairs and chair covers
  • Crockery/glassware
  • Sound and lighting equipment for the band/DJ
  • Marquee hire for outdoor events

It can be difficult to know what to ask for in the early stages of planning your wedding, so a good question to ask is “what’s not included in this cost?”

Can the bridal party get ready at the venue?

Some venues are located a long way from home but aren’t hotels, such as castles, country estates, etc. Being able to get ready at the venue (or at least freshen up) can be an important factor in deciding if this venue is right for you.

Some venues will be happy to allow you to hire multiple rooms to suit your needs, for getting ready, having a break between the ceremony and wedding breakfast, a secure gift storage room, etc. So do ask in advance about the options available to you.

When do we have to leave?

Some venues are subject to a “curfew” as part of their local licensing arrangements and are not permitted to have guests after a certain time to avoid disruption to local residents.

In some cases, it’s just a noise restriction, meaning your band, DJ, and fireworks have to stop at a certain time, but in other cases it might be that your entire reception has to stop. Do ask about restrictions like these and when you need to vacate the venue by.

Make sure you follow-up for written confirmation

You might find that the day of your visit you’re accompanied by an enthusiastic salesperson who is eager to say yes to everything with a “I’m sure that can be arranged”. Unfortunately, it’s often the case that some things cannot be arranged as you’d hoped for.

Before paying your deposit and signing any contracts, ask your questions again and request written confirmation of their answers so you can be absolutely sure of what you’re getting before you make that final decision.