Twenty Questions: What To Ask Your Wedding Reception Venue

by | Bride, Wedding Venues


questions to ask your reception venue

It’s that time of year when wedding venues are the hot subject after deciding your style of wedding, your number of guests (which can be calculated before or after you know your venue capacity depending on your priorities) and of course location, it’s time for the fun part – venue inspections! SO kicking off a new series today – 20 Questions. Here’s a list of 20 questions, or twenty things you need to know about your wedding reception venue. Do add what I have missed by leaving a comment!

1. How many weddings are held at the venue on a day?

Are there five at the one time? Or do you have exclusive use of the venue?

Fort Denison

2. Is there a minimum spend?

Most venues have a booking fee or minimum spend. What is the minimum spend? What flexibility do they have or what substitutions can be made? For example (i.e. the venue might charge $100 per guest for 100 guests with a minimum spend of $10,000 and you might only have 80 guests.) Some venues might be able to give a higher quality beverage package, a cheese table or cocktails to nudge your wedding spend towards the minimum.

3. Do you have to use the recommended vendors?

Most venues have recommended vendors like florists and DJs and some will only allow you to work with their own list. If you have your heart set on a vendor that isn’t on their list, check that you are able to use them.

4. What exactly is included in the packages?

Are things like spirits included? Is alcohol on a consumption basis or included in the package? Linens? Centrepieces? Draping? Lighting? If certain things are included that you don’t want (i.e. centrepieces) are you allowed to bring in your own?

Lake House

5. What restrictions are there on decorations?

Are you able to hang items from walls and ceilings? Can you use candles? What items can you remove from the room, and what items do you need to keep there?

6. How long do you have to set up and clean up (i.e. bump in and out?)

If you’re a couple who are doing it all yourselves, you might need earlier access to the venue – especially if you want to hang items. When does the venue want your items removed?

7. Is there a venue coordinator?

Noting that this is separate to a wedding planner you hire yourself (who would plan/co-ordinate everything relating to the wedding, not just your venue). The venue coordinator is working on behalf of your venue to make sure everything goes to plan. Do they have someone on staff that will make sure everything is running smoothly on the day?

Mon Bijou

8. What will the venue wedding co-ordinator take care of for you?

Will they set out the table settings? The place cards? Will they confirm vendors? Get clear on exactly what the venue wedding co-ordinator will look after so there are no surprises and you can be ready with a wedding co-ordinator or friends and family to help you set up and pack up.

9. What is the dance floor capacity?

Do you have to hire  a dance floor or does one already exist? How many people does it hold?

10. What kind of music do they allow?

Is there room for a DJ or band? Is there a noise restriction? Does the music have to be acoustic? Do they have facilities available if you just want to use an ipod?

11. How much do they charge for extra hours?

Sometimes the party just wants to go all night, is it cost prohibitive to extend the party?

Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

12. Are disabled guests able to be accommodated?

If your venue has lots of stairs, or stairs inside or out and you have mobility impaired guests, check that the venue has disabled access.

13. What amenities are provided?

Is there a bridal suite or room where you can stash your emergency kit or take a quiet moment before the reception (if that’s important to you!) Are there enough bathrooms for the amount of guests you have? Is there air conditioning or heating (depending on the season you’re marrying in!)

Quamby Estate

15. What parking is available for guests?

Can guests park on site or do they need to find alternative parking? What about for the bridal cars?

16. Are you able to taste the menu?

Whether having a onsite caterer or restaurant, are you able to taste and decide on the menu before choosing your options?

Church 364

17. Are there extra menu costs?

Is there a corkage cost ? A cost if you want to bring in your own alcohol? A cost for alterations on the menu? For cutting and serving the cake?

18. Do they cater to allergies?

Is the kitchen aware of allergies? Are they able to provide vegan, vegetarian and gluten free meals (among others?)

19. What vendor meals are provided?

You’ll need to supply your vendors (such as photographers, cinematographers etc) with a meal- what is the venue’s policy when it comes to this? Are they able to be served before the guests (or at the same time as guests) to allow them to refuel and get back to capturing the important moments?

20. What are the contract terms? What are the payment terms? What is required to secure the date?

Do you need to pay a deposit to secure your wedding date? When is the first payment due? The last payment? Does the contract have anything special in it you need to work through? What’s the cancellation policy?


Over to you- what questions did I miss? What do you wish you knew before you booked your venue or what were you caught out on?

  • Avid Thinker says:
    January 24, 2014 at 12:57 am

    These are amazing wedding venues! Thank you for featuring these as we can recommend them to our clients too.

  • Elaine Kendall says:
    January 24, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Some great tips!

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  • Ask says:
    July 18, 2015 at 2:46 am

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but
    after looking at some of the posts I realized it’s new to
    me. Anyhow, I’m certainly happy I came across it and I’ll
    be book-marking it and checking back often!

  • Jade Brunet says:
    November 8, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    I appreciate this information about the questions to ask wedding reception venues. It is good to know that one should be aware with the number of weddings held at that venue per day. It would not be good to be rushed because the venue is overbooked. Something else to consider would be to choose based on location. The venue should be easy for friends and family to easily attend.

  • Victoria Park Wedding Venue says:
    June 17, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    A great article! Such great questions to be asking reception venues and tips for venues to remember to share this information with their couples. Thanks Polka Dot Bride!

  • Pawan Negi says:
    April 8, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Such a beautiful blog, i really appreciate your writing

  • Logan Wallace says:
    December 12, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing the things need to know about wedding venues.



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