1. What dates are available in the month I’m considering?
  2. How many people can this location accommodate?
  3. How many people can the barn hold?
  4. What is the rental fee and what is included in that price? Is there a discount for booking weekday or weekend?
  5. How much is the deposit, when is it due, and is it non-refundable? What’s the payment plan for the entire bill?
  6. Where would I hold my ceremony?  Is there a bride’s changing area? How much time is allocated for the rehearsal?
  7. Is the site handicap accessible? (To be asked if you have guests with mobility issues.)
  8. What’s the cancellation policy?
  9. What’s your weather contingency plan for outdoor spaces?
  10. How long will I have use of the event space(s) I reserve? Is there an overtime fee if I stay longer?
  11. Can I move things around and decorate to suit my purposes, or do I have to leave everything as is? Are there decoration guidelines/restrictions? Can I use real candles? TIP: Keep the existing décor in mind when planning your own decorations so that they won’t clash. If your event is in December, ask what the venue’s holiday décor will be.
  12. What time can my vendors start setting up on the day of the wedding? Is it possible to start the setup the day before? How early can deliveries be made? How much time will I have for décor setup? Does the venue provide assistance getting gifts or décor back to a designated car, lodging, etc. after the event has concluded?
  13. Do you have an in-house caterer? Even if there is an in-house caterer, do I have the option of using an outside caterer instead?
  14. Are tables, linens, chairs, plates, silverware and glassware provided, or will I have to rent them myself or get them through my caterer?
  15. Can I bring in a cake from an outside cake maker or must I use a cake made by your baker? Is there a cake-cutting fee? If I use a cake made on site is the fee waived?
  16. Can I bring my own wine, beer or champagne, and is there a corkage fee if I do? Can I bring in other alcohol?
  17. Are there restrictions on what kind of music I can play, or a time by which the music must end? Can the venue accommodate a DJ or live band? TIP: Check where the outlets are located in your event space, because that will help you figure out where the band can set up and where other vendors can hook up their equipment. You don’t want the head table to block the only outlet in the room.
  18. Is there parking on site? If so, is it complimentary?
  19. How many restrooms are there? TIP: You should have at least 4 restrooms per 100 people.
  20. Do you offer on-site coordination? If so, what services are included and is there an additional charge for them? Will the coordinator supervise day-of? How much assistance can I get with the setup/décor?
  21. What security services do you offer? Do I need to hire my own security guards, or does the site hire them or have them on staff? TIP: In general, you should have 2 security guards for the first 100 guests and 1 more for every additional 100 guests.
  22. Does the venue have liability insurance? Do you require us to get our own insurance?  NOTE: If someone gets injured during the party, you don’t want to be held responsible. For info on insurance, check out WedSafe Wedding Insurance.
  23. Can I hire my own vendors (caterer, coordinator, DJ, etc.), or must I select from a preferred vendor list? If I can bring my own, do you have a list of recommended vendors?
  24. What overnight accommodations do you provide? What are the nearest hotels to the venue?
  25. Do you have signage or other aids to direct guests to my event?

More Tips:

  • If you really love the site, ask the venue representative to put together a proposal with all the pricing and policies—including the tax and service charge—so you have an idea of the basic cost.
  • Use your cell phone (or a digital camera) to take photos or videos of the locations you visit, so that you have a record of what you liked or didn’t like about them. And if you’re planning to visit more than a few venues, it’s a good idea to snap a photo of each one’s sign when you arrive—that way you won’t get confused about which place is which when you review your photos later.
  • Pay attention to the venue as a whole: Check out everything, including the restrooms, the foyer, the dressing rooms, the outdoor lighting and even the kitchen. You want to be sure your vision can be realized at this location. If possible, make arrangements with the site representative to visit the venue when it’s set up for a wedding.
  • GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Your date is not officially reserved until you sign a contract and, in many cases, give a deposit—even if a site contact says you don’t need to worry about it. Once you’ve found THE PLACE, make sure you ask what is required to get your booking locked in and then follow through on satisfying those requirements. And don’t assume that just because the site coordinator said you can have 4 votive candles per table you’ll get them. Before you sign a contract, read the fine print and make sure it includes everything you and the site contact agreed on. As new things are added or changed in your contract, have the updated version printed out or emailed to you and signed by you and the site representative. Also, document all your conversations in emails and keep your correspondence.