Take this list of questions with you to avoid surprises.
May we choose our own caterer, florist, DJ and other vendors?
Many sites restrict options to a limited list of suppliers allowed. If you want your reception at one of these sites, you will have to work within their house rules.
How many other weddings will likely take place on our day at this site?
If it is a multi-wedding location, inquire about quality of sound-proofing to avoid the noise from an adjacent wedding reception interrupting your party.
Are there options in handling the bar costs?
Can you bring in your own liquor and, if you can, is there a corkage fee? Is there the option of a single price per person regardless of quantity consumed? In a private site, are you responsible for getting your own liquor license?
Is there an overtime charge if you want to extend the party?
Be clear about what time the reception is over. If you want to stay another hour, is there a surcharge? How much is it?
What are the parking limitations?
Is the parking free? Is there a parking attendant who can help the elderly or handicapped? If so, what tipping is expected?
Are there community sound ordinances in the area?
A venue located near a residential area may be required to kill the music at a specific time (often midnight).
May we see the chairs, linens, china and crystal available?
You may be able to upgrade – at a cost. Or you may be allowed to rent from an outside supplier. Be very clear about the limitations and what is available.
Is the site easily accessible for the elderly or handicapped?
Check the site from the viewpoint of older people. Are there elevators available as well as stairs if it’s not on the ground level?
Is the voltage adequate?
If you’re having extra electric lighting or a big band, some sites will require your bringing in a generator.
What about early access to the room for suppliers to do their work?
You need time for your florist to put floral or tree decor in place and a time allowance for the band or DJ to set up.
Are there enough bathrooms for all our guests?
Ideally, there should be one toilet stall for every 35 guests. Also check their bathrooms for cleanliness.
Will there be any disruptive changes before your wedding?
Sometimes sites renovate and have scaffolding in view or tear up their gardens to make changes. Ensure that there will be no disruptions prior to your wedding day.