Newly engaged? Congratulations! Now that the celebrations have calmed down, it’s time to start planning your wedding. Choosing a wedding venue is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make that will affect all aspects of your wedding. Use our checklist to make sure you ask the right questions to find the right venue.
There are three main factors to consider before choosing a wedding venue:
- Is the venue within your wedding budget?
- Can the venue facilitate your guest list?
- Is your preferred wedding date available?
These three items are usually the most non-negotiable aspects of a venue, after sussing out if the venue is within budget, can facilitate your numbers and your date is available it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. There are lots of little things to consider when choosing a wedding venue, not just for yourselves, but for your guests too. To help, we’ve compiled a checklist of the most important questions to ask and consider while viewing your dream venue.
General questions to ask a wedding venue
- Will the venue provide you with a wedding planner/coordinator?
- If so, will they be there on the day to help the wedding run smoothly?
- Does the venue hold a “one wedding per day” policy?
- Is the venue exclusively yours or will there be other guests?
- What accommodation is available for your wedding party?
- Do you allocate the rooms, or can guests contact the venue directly?
- Is there a certain number of rooms that you must fill?
- Is it possible to stay at the venue the night before your wedding if traveling from afar?
- Can you have a day 2 celebration at the venue?
- Are there any renovations or building works scheduled at the venue?
Questions to ask a wedding venue about your ceremony
- Which local churches do they recommend?
- Which rooms in the venue are licensed to hold wedding ceremonies?
- Will the ceremony be held in the reception room?
- If so, what is the process for changing the room over in between?
- Is there an option to have the ceremony outdoors?
- Are speakers / PA systems available?
- Is confetti allowed?
Questions to ask a wedding venue about food and wine
- Is there a complimentary menu tasting and wine tasting included? How many people can attend? Can your parents come along?
- Is there an arrival drink included?
- Is there wine included at dinner? How much per guest?
- Will tea and coffee be provided before the ceremony?
- Is there a glass of prosecco/champagne included for a toast?
(If any of these items aren’t included, find out how much they cost)
- Can I bring my own wine? Is there a corkage fee?
- Are there any extra charges for bar/waiting staff?
- My friends are vegetarian/vegan / coeliac etc – can you cater for this?
- How many options can I choose for the meal and can the vegetarian option be silent?
- Is there an option for dinner the night before the wedding or a BBQ the day after the wedding?
- Will late-night food be provided? What time is it served?
- Where is the drinks reception held?
- Can we arrange a signature cocktail for the night?
Questions to ask about wedding decorations
- What kind of crockery, linen and cutlery is provided?
- What kind of tables do you use? Are there options to choose from i.e. circular or long tables?
- Are there any decor aspects provided such as menu cards, centrepieces, place names, red carpet, lanterns, flowers, cake stand etc?
- Can elements of the room be rearranged to suit my taste?
- When can we gain access to decorate the room?
- Can decorations be hung from the wall or ceiling?
- Are fairy lights provided? Can we hang our own or do we need to hire a professional?
Wedding party questions
- Where will the band be performing?
- Where is the dancefloor and how big is it?
- Do tables need to be moved for dancing?
- Will there be a PA system and speakers, or will I need to rent my own?
- Can the band set up in advance or do they need to wait for the change over?
- Will microphones be provided for the speeches?
- Can I connect my phone/laptop to the speaker system to play music?
- Is there a late bar? What time will it open until?
- Is there a bar extension fee?
- What time must guests leave the venue?
- Is there an option to invite guests to the afters of the wedding?
Questions to ask about your wedding accommodation
- Is the bridal suite complimentary for the bride and groom for the night of the wedding?
- Are there any other complimentary rooms provided for the parents?
- Is there a discounted rate available for wedding guests?
- Can you provide a list of recommended accommodation nearby?
- Is it possible to arrange for a taxi service on the night to shuttle people back to local accommodation?
- Can we block book rooms in advance? How many can we book and how long will they be held for?
- What time is check out?
Questions to ask about the wedding venue facilities
- Is it possible for the bridal party to get ready in the venue?
- Are children permitted at the venue? Are there any child-friendly entertainment options?
- Are there lifts, facilities and access for elderly guests or guests with a disability?
- Is there parking and is it free?
- Is there a designated smoking area for guests and is it heated?
- How many toilets are there and where are they located?
- Is there a secure place to store my wedding gifts and cards?
- Does the venue have public liability insurance?
Questions about the cost of the wedding
- How much of a deposit is required to book the wedding date?
- Is there a payment schedule for the remaining cost?
- What is the cancellation policy?
- What costs are incurred if guest numbers on the day are different to the final number agreed?
- Does the wedding cost differ per day of the week?
- Is the service fee included?
- Are there any additional fees we should be aware of?
We recommend printing this checklist and taking it with you to your venue viewings. It’s hard to think of everything from memory. When you’ve collected your answers, identify which ones are most important to you both and use them to choose your perfect venue.
We’ve been hosting weddings at Clayton Whites Hotel for over 100 years! We offer a stunning coastal location for your wedding with a ballroom that can cater for up to 450 guests and a licensed civil ceremony venue. Our good value wedding packages are bespoke and can be tailored to best suit your needs. Discover our extensive wedding packages and see what’s included as standard or request a wedding showaround – you’ll be ticking a lot of boxes on your wedding checklist.