First Things First
The wedding venue is without doubt one of the first things to consider. It will also be one of the hardest elements to decide on – there’s so much choice and so many different and wonderful styles of venues to choose from.
The venue search is such a fun time. You are starting on the wedding planning journey and that is such an amazing experience, but we know that it can also seem a little overwhelming and downright scary, too. This is where we come in. With a list of things to think about when choosing your venue. We hope that our venue checklist will act as a guide to help compare and contrast your contenders.
For each venue you should fill out a new guide. Note the name of the venue, the person who you speak to at that venue, the telephone number, location, available dates, and price quoted – then give it an overall ranking! Don’t forget to think about how you felt when you first walked through the door.
And now we don’t wish to be a bore, but before you fall in love with wedding planning and get caught up in the fun of it all, it is important to have the dreaded budget conversation. Get it over and done with!
Now what are you waiting for. Read on for our unbiased and thought of everything venue checklist! And don’t forget to download and print your copies from the link at the end of this post.
What was the first thing you thought when you arrived at the venue? This can be positive and/or negative!
Was the venue easy to find? Some venues may need to be signposted for guests and suppliers.
How many guests can the venue accommodate? Most venues will have a maximum number of day and evening guests you can have due to space restrictions.
What meetings will take place prior to the wedding? When will you need to have decided your options?
Is there disabled access? Make sure any disabled guests have been considered.
What do you get included in the “package” or “venue hire”? Will you need to hire additional items?
Is there an in-house wedding coordinator? Is this included or extra?
What time can guests arrive on the day? If there is accommodation available, guests may be able to check in and leave their luggage before the ceremony.
What time does the reception need to finish by? All venues vary in terms of finishing times as this can be due to a number of factors such as_____.
Is there a wet weather contingency? If our glorious English weather is not on your side, what will happen to outdoor elements of your day?
Is there a preferred suppliers list? If so, do you have to use it or can you bring in other suppliers?
What time can suppliers set up? Some venues may allow you to have access the day before but others may not be able to offer this.
Who will take lead on the day? Make sure to jot down names of those who will be there on your wedding day as they are a good point of call for any queries you may have.
Ask about the running of the day, including timings. This helps to get an idea of what to expect on the day.
Are there any restrictions? (eg. Candles, confetti etc.)
Is entertainment permitted? Find out the timings for set up and finish, this helps to get an idea of how long your entertainment plays for.
Is the hire exclusive? Will there be multiple weddings on the same day? This is always good to consider so you can be aware if you are sharing the venue and accommodation.
Are there separate rooms for the ceremony, reception, meal, evening reception etc? Ask the venue to show you where each event will be.
Is there a dressing room that can be used prior to the ceremony? Some venues will have a specific room for the Bridal party to get ready in.
Is there night before accommodation for the Bridal party? How many people can stay?
Is there a quieter area for older guests to get away from the noise of a band or DJ?
Does the venue have accommodation? If so, how many bedrooms/people can stay?
What are the costs for overnight accommodation? If you have exclusive hire, you may have to pay an unoccupied charge for any bedrooms that are not taken by guests.
Is breakfast included in the cost? This is good to let guests know who would like to stay over.
What is the check in/check out policy?
Does the venue have an in-house catering team and/or staff? If no, you will need to look at outside caterers.
Is there a minimum spend on food in the day or evening? Some venues have a minimum spend that you have to reach whereas others may have a minimum amount of people you must cater for.
Is there any flexibility on the menu? Can you have things added/taken away should you wish or is it just a standard menu that cannot be changed?
Do they have special dietary requirements? If you have guests that have special diets, you will need to ask the venue for these options.
Does the venue supply examples of the menu? Most venues will have a sample they can show you.
Is a menu tasting offered? If so, when? Is there an additional cost for this?
Does the venue provide equipment such as tables, chairs, linen, plates and glassware? You will need to find suppliers for these items if not.
Does the venue supply a cake stand and knife?
What time does the venue offer an alcohol license until? What time does the bar stop serving?
Does the venue insist on supplying wine and champagne? Or do they offer a corkage option where you can pay a small fee to provide your own.
Can the venue provide a drinks list? It is good to be able to gauge the prices for your guests.
What are the venues’ corkage costs? (If this is something they offer) Some venues offer a no corkage option where you don’t get charged for bringing your own.
Were you supplied with a quotation on your visit? What are the various options and costs? It is important to get a complete quotation so you are not hit with extra charges along the way.
What is the cancellation policy?
When are the payments required?
Is VAT included in the final price? Some quotes may look lower if they have not had the VAT added, make sure you consider this as you may need to add a further 20% on top.
The Next Steps
Are you able to hold a date? If so, how long for? This is good to know so you can have a bit of time to make your final decision.
How much is the deposit to secure your wedding date?
When is the deposit due?
We do hope this list has been helpful to you, you can also download our FREE wedding venue checklist here to print off and make notes when visiting your shortlisted venues.