Essential questions to ask your wedding reception venue

posted on Thursday 20 July

Blog, Hints and tips

Up front information

Is it free on the date you would like?

Some venues get booked years in advance, others only need a few weeks’ of notice. Before you waste time visiting, call venues up to check their availability. Friday’s and Sunday’s are worth exploring if Saturday’s are booked.

Is it big enough?

Our advice – think through your logistics – you may need space for a meal, dancing, a play area for children, a quiet space for older relatives, outside space for games and other sorts of entertainment. It’s worth asking to see all available rooms so you can imagine the ‘flow’ of your guests throughout the celebrations.

Will you have a dedicated point of contact?

Most venues offer a dedicated point of contact but not all do, check to see what’s provided. Go with your gut instinct, you need to feel your point of contact will look after you from start to finish. Ask how many staff will be on duty and how they will be dressed.

Are you going to be hiring the venue on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis?

Some venues may have multiple weddings happening on the same day so be sure to ask if you are hiring the venue on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis.

Other details

Know what time you can access the venue and if you can leave items overnight

You may want to bring things over to the venue in advance of the big day so check if you can get access. Some venues expect everything to be taken away at the end of the night. Either get friends and family to help you with this or check if you can leave things at the venue and pick them up the following day. Ask if you incur any additional charges for storage.

What kind of menu options are available?

Getting the right quality food that fits within budget is important. Find out what sort of options are available for the main wedding breakfast and evening reception. Do they provide a seat down meal only or can they offer alternatives such as buffets, sharing platters and hog roasts? How flexible can they be with their menus? Do they cater for all dietary requirements and do they offer a discounted rate for children?

Are there any requirements for suppliers?

Venues may want to see insurance details (Public Liability Insurance) and PAT testing information for any equipment suppliers are bringing in. Be sure to check what the venue expects and tell your suppliers from the outset what you need them to provide.

Do you need wedding insurance?

Some venues only hire their premises if the bride and groom have wedding insurance including public liability to £5 million. Check to see what is needed.

With the average wedding costing approximately £17k, wedding insurance can give you peace of mind that if the worst happens you are financially covered.

What are the bar prices?

Ask to see a copy of the bar prices. If you want to save cost then choose a venue where bar prices are in line with standard pub prices. It’s worth asking if guests can pay by cash and card. If they can only pay by cash then it is a good idea to let your guests know in advance.

Is there a restriction on what time you can finish your reception?

Most venues are licensed to have wedding receptions to a certain time of night so find out in advance when you have to finish. If its earlier than what you would like, it’s worth asking if they can apply for an extension to their license, although expect to pay a bit more for this.

Can you plug an IPOD into the sound system?

You may wish to hire a band or a DJ but it’s good to know between sets if you can plug in your own IPOD to the venue’s sound system.


What do you have to pay out and when?

Ask the venue how much monies you are expected to pay out and when so you can budget accordingly. Be sure to read the small print of the contract so you can be confident everything you need is covered by the venue cost.

Don’t get caught out by VAT

Most venues charge 20% VAT so don’t forget to factor that into your budget. A venue charging £5K with VAT on top will cost you £6K. Some items, such as room hire, are sometimes exempt from VAT so ask the venue for a quotation showing what items are vatable.