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All The Questions You Need to Ask Your Wedding Venue

Two important questions I ask in my wedding enquiry form are your wedding date and venue.

I’m sure you know the obvious reason. I need to confirm whether I’m available on your wedding date and can travel to your wedding venue. But that’s not all.

I also ask this to figure out whether your chosen wedding venue suits my photography style. I can then advise you on what to expect from your photos if you decide to book me as your wedding photographer.

Your wedding venue will set the scene for your wedding. But more importantly, it will greatly affect how your wedding photos will look and how much you’ll enjoy your wedding day.

spring summer wedding ceremony aisle with floral installation and flower pillars filled with david austin english british grown roses in light bright and airy wetting - Venue: Wollaton Hall Camellia House (cast iron glass house) in Nottinghamshire. Photo by London and Newcastle UK based Filipina fine art light bright and airy wedding and portrait photographer Cristina Ilao, more at www.cristinailao.com

If you chose a wedding venue that’s filled with beautiful natural light, you’ll be able to make the most of my light and airy style.

However, if chose a venue that’s dark and moody, then we need to set expectations. You’ll realise how important this is because it will help you decide whether I’m the right wedding photographer for you.

See how two simple questions can be so crucial when choosing your wedding photographer? (Click here to read my quick guide on how to choose your wedding photographer).

The same applies to wedding venues. You need to be able to ask the right questions to make the right decision and book the right wedding venue.

Wynyard Hall grand state lounge and mirror room - Luxury Durham wedding venue, stately home within Northeast England's Area of Outstanding Beauty. In photo: yellow upholstered chair with green patterned wall paper, a black grand piano, library antique book shelves and a fancy centrepiece crystal chandelier - Photo by Cristina Ilao (UK destination Wedding Photographer)

The Right Questions to Ask your Wedding Venue

A venue may be beautiful but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will match the wedding look you’re going for or the wedding experience you want to have.

Want to know what questions you need to ask before booking your wedding venue?

Here’s my ultimate list of questions to help you decide whether that dream wedding venue really is the right one for you.

You can also DOWNLOAD your free copy of the checklist HERE.

Ashridge House Luxury Wedding and Conference Venue in Hertfordshire. In Photo: Gothic revival chapel priory designed by James Wyatt and completed by Jeffrey Wyatt, former residence of King Henry VIII, country estate and stately home near London - Photo by Cristina Ilao (London Wedding Photographer)

Reservation and General Wedding Venue Policies

  • How far in advance can we reserve our date?
  • How long can we provisionally hold a date?
  • What’s your cancellation policy?
  • What’s your Covid-19 policy?
  • Is there a deadline for making changes to our reservation?
  • Do we have exclusive access to the venue?
  • Are there extra charges for the exclusive use of the venue?

Pricing and Inclusions

  • Do the prices already include VAT?
  • What’s included in the wedding packages?
  • Can we customise the packages to suit us?
  • Do you offer seasonal rates?
  • How much is the deposit, when is it due, and what is your refund policy?
  • How many hours does the rental fee include?
  • Is there an overtime fee if we stay longer?
  • What are the available payment plans?
  • What forms of payment do you accept?
  • Are there any extra charges that aren’t included in the wedding packages?
Chiswick House and Gardens Luxury Wedding Venue, Neo Palladian British architecture villa and Stately Home in Chiswick West London - Photo by Cristina Ilao (London Wedding Photographer)

Accessibility

  • Are cabs/rideshares available from the venue?
  • Can you assist us with shuttle or taxi services?
  • How accessible is the venue from the major airports?

Capacity and Accommodation

  • How many guests can you accommodate in the day and in the evening?
  • Is there a minimum guest size requirement or maximum guest size limit
  • Do you have accommodation on-site for both us and our guests?
  • If no accommodations are available, do you partner with local hotels?
  • What are the room rates and is there a minimum requirement for booking?

Wedding Day Coordination

  • Do you offer wedding day coordination? What do you include in that service?
  • Who’s the main contact on our wedding day?
  • Will we have one dedicated contact?
  • Will our wedding coordinator be personally available on our wedding day?
Hedsor House Front facade, entrance and driveway on a hot summer day (In photo: Georgian Manor stately home with large light-filled floor to ceiling bay windows, beautiful stately home British architecture, white concrete aged vintage pillars) - Buckinghamshire Wedding Venue near London - Photo by Cristina Ilao (London Wedding Photographer)

Outdoor Wedding

  • Do we need to rent portable restrooms?
  • Do you provide heaters and/or umbrellas?

Contingency

  • Do you have a generator for power outages?
  • What’s your weather contingency plan?
  • Do you have public liability insurance?
  • Who’s the contact person for emergencies?
  • Is an indoor space available if it rains?

Food and Drinks

  • What do you include in the wedding packages?
  • Do you offer complimentary menu tasting?
  • Is there an in-house caterer or a list of recommended caterers?
  • How about special diets? Do you cater to those?
  • Do I have the option of using an outside caterer?
  • Does your fee already include the rental of tables, linen, chairs, crockery, cutlery, etc?
  • Do you have a license to provide alcohol service?
  • Do we need to purchase liquor elsewhere or do you already include that?
  • Can I bring my own cake or do I have to use a cake made on-site?
  • Do we pay a corkage or service fee if we purchase liquor outside?
  • Do you charge for unopened bottles after our reception?
  • Will you restrict the type or quantity of alcohol we can serve our guests?
  • How do you price alcohol? Do you have a minimum spend requirement?
  • Are there additional charges for bar staff?

Entertainment

  • Can you accommodate a live band or DJ?
  • When can a live band or DJ set up?
  • Do you have enough electrical outputs to accommodate their equipment?
  • Do you have a sound system and/or microphones for speeches?
  • Are there noise restrictions or a curfew?

Facilities

  • How long can we use each room?
  • Are there areas for us and our wedding party to get ready in the morning?
  • Are the ceremony and reception held in the same room or separate rooms? If not, what is the changeover plan?
  • What time will our evening reception need to finish?
  • Do you have a license for civil ceremonies?
  • Is there enough parking and is there a fee?
  • Do you have disabled access?
  • Do you have a secure area to store our valuables and wedding gifts?
  • How many restrooms are available for our wedding guests?
Baroque front entrance facade and architecture of Blenheim Palace Wedding Venue in Oxfordshire, luxury country house and birth place of Winston Churchill - Photo by Cristina Ilao (Oxfordshire Wedding Photographer)

Wedding Decor and Rentals

  • What decorations are already included in your wedding packages?
  • Do you have guidelines and/or restrictions for decorating?
  • Do you allow the use of candles, confetti, loose petals, sparklers, fireworks?
  • What table size and shapes do you allow/have?
  • How many people can sit at each table?
  • Can we remove/move things around?

Wedding Supplier Policies

  • Do I have to use your recommended suppliers?
  • Are there restrictions for using non-approved vendors?
  • What are the insurance requirements for my vendors?
  • When can outside suppliers start setting up or cleaning up?
  • Do you have supplier entry and operating restrictions?
Hedsor House reception decor with french upholstered rococo wooden chairs, loose and wild floral installation with David Austin blousy roses (In photo: Georgian Manor stately home with large light-filled floor to ceiling window as a reception background, beautiful stately home British architecture, white concrete aged vintage walls) - Buckinghamshire Wedding Venue near London - Photo by Cristina Ilao (London Wedding Photographer)

Top Photographer Tips

Check whether the venue will lend itself well to the style of photography you prefer.

Lighting plays a big role in creating an ambiance and a certain aesthetic for your wedding. This can greatly affect the vibe of your celebration and ultimately, the look of your photos. Light-filled venues will look great for the light & airy photography style while darker venues will look best with a moody photography style. Decide which one you’re more drawn to, then choose a venue that suits the kind of look you want in your wedding photos.

The bridal and groom preparation suites are key considerations if you’re particular about aesthetics.

Look for big windows that allow abundant natural light. This will make your preparation photos and portraits look more flattering. Go for rooms with neutral walls. Neutral or plain walls (if possible) will create an elegant backdrop and will not look distracting in the photos. If the venue you’ve chosen doesn’t have this as part of the amenities, consider booking a hotel room or an Airbnb house/room that has those characteristics.

And finally, if you’re planning an outdoor wedding…

Make sure that you have a backup indoor venue especially if the weather can be temperamental and unpredictable in that particular location. It pays to always be prepared!

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