Wedding Venues: Questions to Ask


February 16, 2022

Questions to Ask Before You Book Your Wedding Venue

Are you excited to start planning your wedding day?! Well, keep reading! I am sharing my top 5 questions all couples should ask their venue before they book! I always tell my potential brides (especially here in Montana) their venue should be the first vendor to book! Read on to see what you need to ask your wedding venue before you book!

1. What is in the contract?

Always read the contract carefully before you book any vendor–but especially your venue! Look for clauses on how long you have the venue both before and after the wedding. Do you have ample time before the wedding day to decorate and settle in? Or how about do they have to notify you if they choose to double book another wedding on the same weekend. Believe it or not, I’ve seen this happen more than once where the bride and groom didn’t know there would be a wedding on the same day as theirs. It was heartbreaking to say the least! What about Covid cancellations and clauses? This was a very sticky subject for the past two years, where many brides cancelled their wedding day due to Covid and lost their deposits for a wedding day that never happened. Don’t let surprises like these ruin your day–read the contract carefully and ask questions!

2. What is the parking situation like?

The last thing couples are thinking about when dreaming about the day they say their vows in front of their very closets friends and family is parking. Knowing this, I’ve seen many guests and couples alike very frustrated with parking issues on their wedding day. Ask your venue to physically show you where parking is located and any rules and regulations they may have about parking. Shuttling guests is not the end of the world, but it is less than ideal. Think of your older and younger guests who may want an easy way to escape if they get tired or need to go home early. Will they have to wait on a shuttle service, or is there an easier way for them to get to their car if they need to.

3. Do they have an area to get ready?

From a photographers standpoint, I highly recommend both the bride and groom to get ready on the venue’s property. It allows for me to flow back and forth between the two to capture the story of their wedding day. An ideal wedding venue has two separate areas for each party to get ready. Visit your venue to see how large the area is, does it have natural light (ok…that one is selfishly for me), is their running water (seriously), air conditioning, etc.

Ok…shameless plug here…Do they have SHADE. You want your guests to be comfortable, but you also want to have areas for portraits–especially for your family formals after the reception. Look for these large areas of shade when you tour your venue, and ask them where most photos are taken to get an idea of where your wedding photos may take place.

4. Rules for the reception…

No one likes too many rules when you’re trying to party, am I right?! Rules like how loud the music can be, how many people can be in the room at the same time, and whether or not outside drinks are allowed are all important answers to know before the reception begins. I’ve seen weddings struggle to flow during the reception because rules of the venue were not understood beforehand, thus created an emotional let down when they found out the rules at their reception. All of this can be avoided if you ask the right questions! Think outside the box. You know your guests better than anyone! Try to envision your night and picture all possible scenarios to celebrate your wedding day!

5. What all do you have to pay for?

Unfortunately, brides and grooms have to walk away from their dream venue simply because they didn’t realize all the extras they would have to pay for. Do dining tables, linens, and chairs come with the venue, or are they separate costs? How about whether or not you have to pay for them to turn on the heat or the air conditioning? How about the arbor for the ceremony, is that included or is it extra? The best venues have this information easily accessible and understandable, while others tend to hide it in the depths of their contract. Know before you go!

Well, these are the top 5 questions I recommend all my brides to ask before the book their venue! I sure hope it might save you some heartache and money so that you can relax and enjoy your day the way you’ve always dreamed of!

Scroll below for some awesome wedding inspiration and to see where these lovely weddings took place!

These weddings wouldn’t be possible without these incredible venues (listed in photo order):

White Raven, Alberton, Montana

Willow Creek Cabins, White Sulpher, Montana

Summer Star Ranch, Helena, MT

Kleffner Ranch, Helena, MT

U Diamond Barn, Helena, MT

Homestake Lodge, Butte, MT

The Legacy Golf Course, Phoenix, Arizona

The Barn at Finley Point, Polson, Montana

Doubletree by Hilton, Missoula, Montana


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