Your Personal Venue Checklist!

I’ve already talked about the importance of securing the venue as your first matter of business, so this week, I’d like to focus on the specifics of the venue hunt.

You’ve searched Google, browsed Wedding Wire, and picked apart The Knot, and you’ve even compiled a list of venues you’d like to see.  Now is the fun part: going to see those venues up close and personal.

Chances are, you will meet with the venue coordinator, and he or she will take you on a tour of the facilities.  The coordinator will give you a general run down of seating arrangements, decor, possibly catering, bartending, and a brief mention of the amount of the deposit required to secure the space.  When asked if you have any questions, you will probably freeze and say something along the lines of, “I can’t think of any” which is entirely true.

Although it is one of the most fun and foundational parts of the wedding day, it can be overwhelming.  I mean, the venue not only sets the mood for the wedding day, but it also potentially dictates catering, bartending, decor, the list goes on…


But because I love you, like really love you, I’ve decided to put together a checklist for you to bring with on your venue hunt.  This checklist will outline the specific components you should ask about when on your visits.  

Because what bride doesn’t love checklists?  Amirite?!

So let’s get to the good stuff.


  • Is there a deposit?

  • If yes, what is the amount of the deposit?

  • Is it refundable?

  • When is the balance due?

  • What does the price of the venue include? (some venues will include rentals like cocktail tables, seating for the ceremony if on site, set up and take down, some lighting-it’s always good to ask)

  • Do you have a cost breakdown of rental fees?

  • Do you have a cost breakdown of the bar packages?

  • Do you have a cost breakdown for catering packages?

  • Are there any additional fees we should be aware of that may be added onto the final cost?

  • Do you guys offer payment plans or is everything due upfront?  What is the payment timeline?


  • So, first, is our date available?

  • Second, what is the guest capacity?  

  • If this is an outdoor venue-is there a plan b in case of inclement weather?

  • If this is an outdoor venue-are there backup generators in case of inclement weather? (SO IMPORTANT)

  • How many bathrooms are there?

  • Will our wedding be the only event at the venue on our wedding day?

  • Do you have insurance or should we purchase wedding insurance?

  • Will you have a venue coordinator on site during our wedding?  Is it the same coordinator we will be working with throughout our wedding planning?

  • Does the ceremony and reception take place in the same room?  If so, how do you go about flipping the room?

  • Do you have anywhere secure to store the gifts after dinner?

  • Is there enough parking for everyone or is there a shuttle service from hotel to venue?  Is parking free?

  • Is the venue accessible for wheelchairs?

  • What time do we need to be out of the space?

  • Can we come back the next day to retrieve things we may have left behind the night before?

Catering and Bartending

  • Do you charge a corkage fee?

  • Is this a BYOB venue?  If so, do you provide the bartenders or do we provide our own?

  • Do you allow outside vendors for music, catering, cake, and rentals?

  • Is wine at dinner included in bar totals?

  • Do you have a complimentary champagne toast?  If not, how much is a champagne toast?

  • Does our quote include gratuity for bar staff or wait staff?

  • Do you have options for dietary restrictions?

  • Do you offer a midnight snack option?

  • How late will the bar be open?  What is the additional charge per hour to keep it open late?

  • Where are the kitchen facilities for independent catering companies? (In case the venue doesn’t provide catering, your caterer will most definitely want to know about the facilities and what they include.)

Room Setup and Decorations

  • What shape are the tables?  Round or rectangle?  Do we have a choice in table arrangement?

  • Are the dishes, napkins, silverware and glassware included in the quoted price?

  • Can we set up and decorate the day before the wedding?  Am I able to have access to the room?

  • Are there any restrictions on types of decor allowed in the venue space?  I.e. candles, certain types of lights, sparklers, etc.

  • If we can’t set up the day before, what time can we get into the venue the day of?

  • Do you have staff that helps with setup and take down?  Is it an additional charge?

  • Where does the DJ/band go?  Is there flexibility to move their location?

  • Where is the dance floor and what are the dimensions?  Is it big enough to fit all the guests without having to break down tables in between dinner and dancing?

  • Do you provide any equipment for the band/DJ?  (microphone, speakers, etc.)

  • What time can the band/DJ start setting up?

For a downloadable version of this checklist, subscribe to our mail list.  I've made it all pretty and organized so you can have all your venue info in one place! #formerhighschoolteacher