11 Questions to Ask a Potential Wedding Reception Location

Choosing your reception venue is one of the biggest wedding decisions you’ll make. It also represents a huge chunk of your wedding budget, so you want to make sure it’s definitely the best place for your wedding and has everything you are looking for. When meeting with potential locations, bring this list of questions along to ensure you cover all your bases.

  1. Can I bring in outside food? If you don’t like the location’s menu options or already know there’s an outside caterer you want to work with, you need to ask if the venue will allow you to bring in another vendor’s food, and yes, this includes your wedding cake. Some won’t; others may charge you a fee.
  2. How will I be charged? Some venues charge per plate, while others charge by the hour or for a block of time. If you have a huge guest list, you may want to look for venues that do the latter.
  3. What are the other fees? The venue manager will likely be upfront about the cost to reserve the space, but he or she may not go into detail about other charges, such as setup and cleaning fees. Ask what these are, in addition to any cake-cutting fee.
  4. How many other weddings will take place here on my wedding date? If you’re considering a bigger venue, this may not be an issue, but you definitely want to be aware if other weddings are happening in the same venue on your wedding date. This is especially true if the other weddings are scheduled to take place in the exact same room before or after yours. You want to ask what happens if their wedding runs over or yours runs late. You also want to ask about staffing if weddings will be happening simultaneously so you can be confident your wedding is adequately staffed.

Questions to Ask a Potential Wedding Reception Location

  1. What happens if we are running late or go over our allotted time? Even if another wedding isn’t scheduled to happen after yours, you want to find out if you’ll be charged, and how much, if your reception runs later than anticipated.
  2. How much can I change or decorate? If you like the general size and layout of a particular venue but want to add extra decoration, ask the venue manager how much you can change in the space. Ask if you can affix things to the walls and/or hang and drape things from the ceiling.
  3. Can you accommodate our guests? Make sure potential venues have ample bathrooms, parking and coat checks to handle the number of people you expect to attend your wedding. Additionally, if you have guests with disabilities or dietary restrictions, ask if the venue is handicap accessible and has menu options to accommodate vegetarians, vegans and those with food allergies.
  4. What’s the cancellation policy? If for some reason you decide not to have your wedding at a certain venue after you’ve already given a deposit, you need to find out if it will be refunded or if you’ll be expected to cover a percentage of your total bill.
  5. What are my alcohol options? You’ll want to ask potential venues if they have a liquor license so they can provide bar service at your reception. If you’re considering buying and supplying your own liquor, ask if the venue charges a corkage fee.
  6. Will I need to rent anything? Most larger reception venues come fully equipped with everything you’ll need for your big day, but be sure to ask about specifics like sound equipment, linen options, special chairs and a dance floor.
  7. What happens if it rains? If your wedding is going to be outside, you should make alternate arrangements in case it rains on your wedding day. Ask the facility manager what your options would be in the event of inclement weather.