Important Questions to ask your wedding venue

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wedding dress hanging in the a window backlit by the sun in a entry way at Stonehurst at Hampton Valley Connecticut wedding venue by Ladman Studios
Photo by: Ladman Studios

Connecticut has some amazing wedding venues to choose from and has a little of of something for everyone. It’s also one of the most important decisions when planning your wedding. The second of course being your photographer : ) That said, once you do find the type of wedding venue you want to host your wedding, there are some questions you should be asking them. This blog is going to give you an idea of what to ask and why it is important.

If you are still looking for a Connecticut wedding venue, check out my Connecticut venue blogs HERE.

The Basics

When you schedule a venue tour, which i highly recommend, there are some important questions you need to ask before hand. These are some of the same questions i ask venues when i go to tour them as well.

  • What’s the availability around my date?
  • How many guests can the venue accommodate?
  • How many hours are included in the rental?
  • What wedding packages do you have, and what’s included in them?
  • Do you host more than one event on the same day? If so, how many other events will be booked for the same day as my wedding?
  • How far in advance can we reserve a date?
  • Is there an outdoor space?
  • Do you have a noise ordinance?

The Set-up & Breakdown

Setting up and breaking down after your wedding is an important piece of information to know. Some venues need to have it cleared out that night and or by the next day, epically if it’s a full DIY venue. If you book an all-inclusive venue, they are usually in charge of setting up and breaking down the event.

  • Who is in charge of the setup, breakdown, and cleaning of the wedding?
  • How long do we get for set-up and breakdown?
  • What does a typical layout for a wedding look like?
  • Do you have any photographs of past weddings you can show me?
  • Who will be our main contact at the venue on the day of?
  • What time can my vendors begin setting up?
  • Do you offer manpower or an extra set of hands during setup and breakdown?
  • Is there a cleaning fee?

Decor & Rentals

Florials, furniture, and centerpieces to name a few, play a large part in your wedding’s style. That said, some venues have restrictions. For instance, some venues won’t allow you to hang things from the wall or ceiling. Here are some questions to ask about the venue’s decoration policies.

  • How early can we start decorating?
  • Can we go in the day before the wedding to decorate or store items?
  • Are there any restrictions on reception decorations that we should know about?
  • Can we use candles in our decorations?
  • Can we throw confetti or use sparklers?
  • Do we need to provide our own place cards, table numbers, or seating chart?
  • Do you have decorations available to rent?
  • Will you provide signs to direct guests to our reception?
  • Do you have any décor, such as vases and candleholders, that we can borrow for our reception?
  • Are the facilities decorated, or can we customize their decor as well?

Vendors & Staffing

If the venue is an all-inclusive venue providing full service and staff, or if they are a DIY venue and you will be bringing all your own vendors into the venue, there are some questions you need to be asking them.

  • Do you have a list of preferred vendors?
  • Can we work with other vendors, or will we need to stick to your recommended list?
  • Do you provide a coat check service?
  • Do you offer an on-site wedding coordinator?
  • What type of security service do you offer?
  • Is there a service charge for the staff, and what’s your tipping policy?
  • Are there any restrictions for the photographer, IE, are there any places they’re not allowed to photograph, and are they allowed to use flash?
  • Do you offer valet?
  • Is the bar staffed, or do we need to hire a bartender?

Entertainment

A DJ, band, or other musical service bring your celebration to life and can really set the mood during various parts of your wedding day. That said, you need to know what type of entertainment is allowed and can be accommodated.

  • Can we bring in a band or DJ?
  • What’s your sound system like?
  • How many people can the dance floor accommodate?
  • Is there a time that we have to stop playing music?
  • What time can the DJ or band start setting up?
  • Are there any noise restrictions?
  • Is there a designated area for entertainment, or can we place them as we see fit?
  • What’s the typical sound setup at your venue?
  • Do you allow other entertainment such as performers?

Food & Drinks

You and your guests gotta eat right? During the reception from the start of cocktail hour until your cake is served, food and drink play a pretty big part. Regardless of the guest count, here are some great questions you should be asking your venue.

  • Do you provide in-house catering? Or, do you have a list of preferred caterers?
  • Can we do a tasting before we finalize our menu? Is there a charge for the tasting?
  • What’s the per-person cost of food and drinks?
  • Can you accommodate special diets and allergies?
  • Will you provide tables, linens, plates, glassware, and utensils, or will we need to bring in our own?
  • What are the different ways you serve food—buffet, family-style, individual plates, etc.?
  • Do you have a food and beverage minimum?
  • If there is a food and beverage minimum, is there a penalty for not meeting the minimum?
  • Are you licensed to provide alcohol?
  • Can we bring in our own alcohol? If so, is there a corkage fee?
  • Can we give wine as a party favor?
  • Are there additional charges for the bar staff?
  • Is there a cake-cutting fee?
  • Can we bring in a cake from an outside baker?
  • Is there a fee for bringing in our own cake?
  • What’s the fee per plate for having extra guests on the day of?

Payment & Insurance

Price is a huge part for any of your wedding vendors, but don’t forget to ask the venue about their insurance and cancellation policies, as well. You don’t want any surprises or have some misfortunate accident happen that you are now liable for.

  • What’s the total cost of the venue, and what’s included in that fee?
  • How much is the deposit?
  • When is the deposit due?
  • Is the deposit refundable?
  • What’s your cancellation policy?
  • Are there payment plans available?
  • What are the insurance requirements for me and my vendors?
  • Do you have liability insurance?
  • Are there different rates for different days of the week?
  • Do you have different rates for different seasons?
  • Can I see a sample contract?
  • What’s not included in your contract that couples typically need to book or pay for on their own?

Logistics

Lastly but not leastly, the logistics. It’s good to know what your venue offers for parking, accessibility, rain dates, etc.

  • How much parking is available at the venue, and will guests need to pay for parking?
  • Is the space handicap accessible?
  • Are there outdoor restrictions at the venue?
  • Are children allowed, and are there changing tables for babies?
  • Will we have access to the air conditioning or heating controls?
  • How many restrooms do you have?
  • Are there separate spaces for the cocktail hour, ceremony, and reception?
  • If the wedding is outdoors, what’s the backup plan if it rains?
  • Is there a special room for the bride to change? 
  • What’s your electricity like? Are there are a lot of outlets for vendors to use?
  • Is there a secure space to keep our gifts?
  • Are rideshares/cabs easy to access from the venue?
  • Is the venue accessible on public transportation?
  • What are the nearest hotels to the venue? 
  • Will you help us set up a shuttle service to the hotel?

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Connecticut-based wedding photographer TJ Ladzinski is your adventure catalyst. With infectious enthusiasm and an easygoing spirit, he transforms every moment into cherished memories.

A storyteller at heart, TJ's work has been awarded and featured in several wedding publications. His dedication to capturing authentic moments and creating a joyful atmosphere for his couples is evident in the photographs and experience he produces.

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