Choosing a venue for your event is a very important step in the planning process. There are a lot of different things to consider and a lot of information you need to know. Since there’s so much for you to consider while making this decision, we’ve created a list of questions, which have been divided into different categories, to ask when choosing a venue.
Questions to Ask a Venue: Rentals/Vendors/Décor
- Are there decorating restrictions?
- Are there decorations that are already available for me to use? Are they included in the venue cost or do they cost extra?
- What rental equipment do you recommend that I get?
- Do I have a list of restricted vendors?
- When can my vendors start to set up?
- Are any fixtures removable (ex. – artwork that you may not particularly like)?
- Can I light candles?
- Will I be able to have a firework display?
Staff-Related Questions to Ask a Venue
- Who is my main contact for the event?
- Are you the one who will manage my event? If not, if and when can I meet the event staff? Can I have their contact information and experience?
- During the planning process, how quickly can I expect a response from an email or voicemail?
- Can you tell me about the experience of your serving staff? How long have they worked for you?
- Can you tell me about the experience of your bartenders? How long have they worked for you?
- Do you have a certified event/wedding planner on staff? What is that person’s experience?
- Will there be an event planner on site during my entire event?
- What will the servers and bartenders be wearing? (You want to make sure it’s in accordance with your theme and not too flashy from the guests)
Questions to Ask a Venue: Booking
- Can I have the contact information of your last few clients?
- Do you have any events that I can observe before I make my decision?
- Are there currently any other events booked on the date of my event?
- Will there be construction in the area on the day of my event?
- Why should I choose your venue over another venue?
- Are there any special services that you offer?
- What is your payment policy?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- Is valet parking offered? If so, is there a fee?
- Do you have a coat room and coat check service?
- Is there any babysitting service for children of guests?
- Do you provide bar service?
- How many bartenders will you have available?
- How many bars can you set up?
- What liquor brands/types are included in your rail prices? Which wineries’ wine and styles do you carry?
- Do you offer consumption bar pricing?
- Can I bring in my own alcohol? Are you able to provide bartenders if I do? Are there corkage fees?
- Are the beverages served by the wait staff or served at the bar?
General Questions to Ask a Venue
- Do you have a portfolio that I can review?
- Do you have a website?
- Do you do table displays or decorations?
- When do you need a final guest count?
- Are there noise restrictions?
- In the event of an emergency the day of my event, who would my back-up contact be? What experience does (s)he have?
- Can I have the cell phone for that contact (and a back-up)? Is he/she able to receive emails on his/her phone?
- What would happen in the event of a flood, fire, disaster at the venue?
Experience Questions to Ask a Venue
- How many concurrent events can you host?
- Do you specialize in hosting any particular type of event?
- What made you choose this field?
- Tell me a little about your experience/training/education.
- How long have you worked at this venue?
- Where did you work before here?
- What’s the largest event you’ve ever personally managed?
- Have you had any dissatisfied clients in the last 6 months? What happened?
- Are linens included?
- Do you have sample menus that you use for events or do you customize them for each event?
- Are there any other set up fees I need to be aware of?
- Is the room rental free with catering?
- Is there a minimum guest count?
- What taxes and gratuities are added on?
- Is there a discount for children’s meals?
- What are the overtime fees?
- Do you charge for cake cutting?
- Do you charge for a champagne toast?
- What’s the difference in cost between rail bar service and premium?
- What’s the cost of bringing off-premise catering in?
- Can I bring in my own caterer? If so, do you have a list of allowed caterers?
- Do you have on-site catering available?
- Do you specialize in any types of cuisine?
- Do you specialize in any types of serving styles?
- Can you accommodate special dietary requests (kosher, gluten-free, sugar-free, etc)?
- Do you use both fresh and frozen food and produce?
- Can family recipes be prepared?
- Do you offer free tastings?
- Can I taste all of the dishes you’re going to recommend for my event?
- How many people can I bring to the tasting?
- Can I see the kitchen where the food will be prepared?
- Can you design menu boards for food stations?
- What will the guest-to-server ratio be? (You want at least one server for every 30-50 guests for a buffet and one for every 10-15 for a plated dinner)
- What do you do with leftover food? Can we take it home or donate it?
- Do you have a chocolate fountain? What is the price for renting that?
Of course, there may be other questions not on this list that you may want to ask your venue coordinator that relate to your personal situation, but these questions have you covered for major categories that are generally covered when planning an event. Feel free to ask as many questions from this list as you’d like to secure your venue!