100 must-ask questions for your would-be reception venue

Receptions // by The QB Team

The wedding of Holly and Robby. Photo: Boots Photography

The wedding of Holly and Robby. Photo: Boots Photography

A stand-out wedding reception is impeccably styled, has a warm and inviting atmosphere and an on-trend menu that satisfies even your fussiest guest.  Do they have special off-season rates? Will there be a wedding coordinator on hand to help with all of the planning? If so, is there a charge for this service? Of course, all of this takes some serious planning! QB is here to lend a helping hand with a (long) list of 100 must-ask questions for your would-be reception venue. So be sure to take this list and a pen to jot down the answers as you go. Happy planning!

The wedding of Monique and Thomas

The wedding of Monique + Thomas. Photo: Studio Impressions Photography

First up, there are two big questions that need answering before you go any further:

1. How many guests does your venue hold and does it accommodate our guest list?

2. Is our date available?

If the answer to both of these is yes, then you can crack on with the other 98 questions…

If love was a story book we'd meet on the very first page

Set the scene with a gorgeous wedding sign. Styling: Beautiful Weddings. Photo: We Are Twine Photography

Get sorted

3. Do you have a one-wedding-per-day policy and will we have exclusive use of the venue?

4. If not, how many other weddings are (or can be) booked for the same day and how will this impact on the space or time allocated to us?

5. Are there special rates for an off-season date, certain days of the week or certain times of the day?

6. How much time do we have at the venue and is there a charge for additional hours?

7. How flexible are your packages? Can substitutions be made?

8. Do you have recommended vendors and if so, are we able to use other vendors not on your list?

9. Are there any changes planned to your venue before our wedding? For example, renovations or painting.

10. What’s the backup plan in case of inclement weather or other unforeseeable circumstances?

11. Is there an in-house venue wedding coordinator? (NB this is someone works on behalf of the venue to make sure everything goes to plan. A wedding planner someone else you’d hire yourself separately to plan/coordinate <all> elements of your wedding).

12. What will they actually take care of – what services are included with the venue wedding coordinator, and are there additional charges for any of this?

13. Will they be there on the day too, and not just in the lead-up to our wedding?

14. If not, who will be our go-to person and can we meet them before booking as well?

The wedding of Libby + Wayne

The wedding of Libby and Wayne. Photo: Kiss the Groom Photography.

Get ready

15. How early can we (and any vendors) arrive for set-up?

16. Do you offer assistance with the set up of the reception room,  and is this included in the price or is there an additional charge?

17. What sort of tables and chairs do you have and is there more than one option?

18. Are there different table arrangement options?

19. What tableware/silverware/glassware/linen is provided as part of the package?

20. How about decorating items/stationery? For example, menus, centrepieces, lighting, red carpet, cake stand.

21. Can we move things around, or do we have to leave everything as is?

22. Can we bring in our own decorating items and are there any limitations?

23. Do you have signage to direct guests to the wedding?

24. Who’s responsible for taking all of the decorations down after the wedding?

25. When do decorator items that don’t belong to the venue need to be collected?

The wedding of Caitlin and Matthew. Photo: Alison Jones Photography.

The wedding of Caitlin and Matthew. Photo: Alison Jones Photography.

Get hitched

26. Can we hold our ceremony at the venue as well, and is there an additional charge for this?

27. What room/areas and decorating options are available for ceremonies?

28. If the ceremony takes place in the same room as the reception, what’s the transition plan?

29. What are the charges for holding the ceremony and reception at the venue or are they included in the package?

The wedding of Claire and Garratt

The wedding of Claire and Garratt. Photo: Casey Jane Photography

Get stuffed

30. Does the venue have an in-house caterer?

31. Do we have to use them, or are we able to use our own caterer?

32. If so, are kitchen facilities available to them?

33. Are we able to do a tasting before deciding on the menu?

34. Is this complimentary, included in the package price or an additional charge?

35. What are the facilities for a cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception?

36. Is there a cost for alterations to standard menus?

37. What time will the meal served, with what intervals between each course?

38. Do you cater for special dietary requirements? For example, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, coeliacs, allergies.

39. Are vendor meals included? (e.g. for the photographer)

40. How is alcohol priced? Is it on a consumption basis or included in a package?

41. How much wine/Champagne/tea and coffee is included per person and do packages include spirits and a complimentary Champagne for a toast?

42. What wines are on offer and what are the upgrade costs?

43. Are there any additional charges for bar staff or waiting staff?

44. Are we able to bring our own alcohol?

45. If so, do you charge a corkage fee?

46. How late will the bar be open and what happens if we run out of drinks/package before then?

47. What’s the average bar tab for our size guest list?

48. Can we bring in a cake from an outside baker?

49. Is there a charge for cutting and serving the cake?

50. Are there any consequences for not fulfilling a food and beverage minimum?

51. Is there an option for a dinner the night before or a brunch/BBQ the day after the wedding?

The wedding of Katie and Scott

The wedding of Katie and Scott. Photo: Iconic Bride Photography

Get dancing

52. Is there a dance floor and how many people does it hold?

53. Where is it, and does anything have to be moved to create the dance floor?

54. Is there room for a DJ or live band?<

55. Where does the DJ or band set up and can they do it beforehand, or does it have to be during the changeover?

56. Will the band have to go through the reception to set up, or is there separate access to the room?

57. Are there any noise restrictions that we should know about?

58. Do you have a sound system with a speaker or will that need to be rented?

59. Can we hook up an iPod or laptop to your sound system?

60. Do you have microphones that we can use for speeches?

61. What if we want unusual entertainment? For example, fireworks or fire dancers.

62. What time will our guests have to leave the venue?

63. Are there any penalties for staying later?

64. Who is responsible for setting up and tearing down the decor, and when will it be completed?

65. When do we have to remove any decorating items that we’ve brought ourselves?

Get the details

66. Can the bridal party get ready at the venue?

67. Is there enough onsite parking for our guests and is it complimentary?

68. If there’s not enough parking onsite, is there an alternative nearby?

69. Is public transportation easily accessible from the venue?

70. Is there access for the elderly and disabled?

71. Is the venue child-friendly?

72. Are there any facilities for entertaining children?

73. How many bathrooms are there? Are there enough for a number of guests we have?

74. Is there air conditioning?

75. Is there a coat check available?

76. Is there somewhere secure for wedding gifts to be stored and can someone from the venue help move gifts from the reception area to the designated space?

77. Is there an outdoor area for cocktails/mingling?

78. Is there a designated smoking area?

79. Are there any restrictions for the photographer/videographer?

The wedding of Rachell and Marvin

The wedding of Rachell and Marvin. Photo: Wedding Dream Services

Get a room

80. Is there accommodation onsite?

81. If there is accommodation onsite, is a bridal suite included in the price/package?

82. Are there discounted rates for guests?

83. Do you offer a discount for booking multiple rooms?

84. What is check out time?

85. If there is no onsite accommodation, are there other hotels/B&Bs in the area?

The wedding of Melissa and Luke

The wedding of Melissa and Luke. Photo: White Ash Photography

Get legal

86. What are the contract terms and exactly what is included in the fees?

87. Are there any hidden costs? For example, gratuities, cleaning fees, overtime charges, insurance fees?

88. Does the contract have anything special in it we need to work through?

89. What are the payment terms?

90. What deposit do we need to pay to secure our wedding date and when is it due?

91. Is there a payment schedule and, if so, when are the first and last payments due?

92. What forms of payment do you accept?

93. What’s your cancellation policy?

94. Is the deposit refundable in case of cancellation?

95. What costs are incurred if the numbers on the day differ to the final numbers?

96. Do we need any insurance or permits?

97. Do you have public liability insurance?

98. What happens if you go out of business before the wedding?

99. What’s the last possible date that we can make changes?

100. Are there any other questions we haven’t asked, but you know we should?

Phew – did we miss anything?!

Just remember; the wedding planners and vendors who are there to help make your day unique and special aren’t psychic, so if you have unusual requests or need something really specific, just ask!

Feeling inspired? Check out our fabulous local wedding venue directory.