Venue Questions

Wedding Blog: Tales of a Planner

Wedding Ideas and Planning Tips from Industry Professionals here at Ybarra Events

Wedding planners are more than just event planners. We're designers, problem-solvers, coordinators, budgeteers, part-time therapists, and friends to the couples and families who are entrusting us to help them with their events. Since we're on friendly terms now, here are some tips and tricks to the trade of navigating wedding planning! 

100 Questions to ask a Wedding Venue before booking

Almost every aspect of your wedding is optional, from having ice cream instead of a wedding

cake, to wearing a suit instead of a dress, or maybe a blue or purple wedding dress, to deciding

against flowers, there is one thing you will definitely need, and that is the wedding venue.

Somewhere out there is the perfect place to invite your family and friends to join you in


Of course, every couple wants a perfect backdrop for their wedding day. Essential to your

special day is finding your perfect venue and it's important that the venue you choose can

accommodate all of your needs. We've put together a list of questions to ask wedding venues

as a guide in helping you choose the venue that is right for you.

updated: 01-25-2021

Choosing the right Wedding Venue

Finding the perfect venue can be a difficult task. The options are overwhelming, so it helps to start with breaking it into categories. No matter the type of venue, whether you're looking at an elegant ballroom, a charming vineyard, an enchanting forest, a rustic barn, a cliffy ocean view, or a whimsical garden, they all fall into two categories: Are they all inclusive, or can you bring in your own wedding vendors?

All Inclusive vs BYO-Vendors

Each of these venue options have pros and cons. One of the biggest pros to an all-inclusive wedding venue is you are 50% done with the wedding planning right off the bat! Choose your wedding colors and menu, and there aren't many more details you will have to iron out. Of course, all-inclusive is a relative term. Each venue has a different idea of what they would like to include, and as they are different companies, this varies greatly. Some may include the DJ, Flowers, Catering, Bartending, Tables, Chairs, Linens, etc. Even some of the wedding venues that allow you to bring in your own wedding vendors still include some items, such as lighting, umbrellas, tables, chairs, wine barrels, etc. It is important to get a list of the included items to aid you in your comparison.

The appeal to bringing in your own vendors; you get to choose exactly who you would like, and you can possibly even save some money. For example, an all-inclusive wedding venue that is including catering may have large Food and Beverage minimum to meet, where as an outside caterer would not hold you to the same requirements. You may also have the freedom to choose an off-beat catering option, like Food Trucks, if you select a venue that doesn't limit your vendor options. Think about what the better choice for you and your planning process is. Is having more options important, or having easy selections more important?

Important Questions to ask Wedding Venues

    1. Is the venue available on your preferred wedding date?
    2. How many guests can the venue accommodate?
    3. Do they have any wedding packages? 
    4. Are they all-inclusive or can you bring your own vendors?
    5. What is included with the venue cost?
    6. Do they schedule multiple events on the same day?
    7. What are the number of event hours you get?
    8. How many hours do you have to get ready?
    9. Is there a getting ready location/suite for the couple? Both the bride(s)/groom(s)/bridegroom(s)? 
    10. Is there a noise ordinance?
    11. What rooms are included? Bathrooms, lounge area, cocktail area, and coatroom?
    12. Is there a designated smoking area?
    13. Are there multiple backdrops to choose from for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception? 
    14. Is the room accessible for people with disabilities?
    15. Is there a secure area to store the wedding gifts?
    16. What does a typical layout of the room on the wedding day look like? Can you send example layouts?
    17. Do they have photographs to show you of other weddings as examples?
    18. Can you come back and see it set up for another wedding?
    19. Who is the main venue contact for day of wedding?
    20. Is there anything you need to bring in that they do not have?
    21. Do they have tables and chairs included?
    22. If so, what do they look like?
    23. Do they have staff for setup and cleanup?
    24. Do you need to plan for trash removal? (more common in rural areas) 
    25. When do the vendors have access to start decorating?
    26. Are there decorating restrictions?
    27. Is setup required to be handled by professionals?
    28. Can the centerpieces contain candles?
    29. Does the venue include table settings?
    30. If so, what do the table settings look like?
    31. What decorations does the venue provide?
    32. Do you have to provide your own place cards?
    33. How many people can sit at one table?
    34. Are there booster seats or high chairs available for children?
    35. Is in-house catering included? If not, do they have a preferred list of caterers?
    36. If so, what are the different ways the venue serves food? Buffet, family style, plated?
    37. Can you arrange for a tasting if they offer in-house catering?
    38. Is there a cost for a tasting?
    39. Does the venue provide for drinks with the meal?
    40. Can they accommodate special dietary restrictions or diet preferences such vegetarian or vegan or gluten free?
    41. How many choices can you offer your guests for meals?
    42. How many wait staff will be provided? 
    43. Is there a staff to guest ratio?
    44. Do they provide a place for the cake?
    45. Do they provide a cutting knife and cake server?
    46. Is there a cake-cutting fee? (If they provide staff)
    47. Does the venue have a liquor license to serve alcohol?
    48. Does the venue provide the alcohol and bar service?
    49. What drinks are included in the pricing?
    50. Do they provide a cash bar or an open bar?
    51. Does the venue hire the bartenders and is there a charge per bartender?
    52. Do they charge for unopened bottles after the reception?
    53. Is there a corkage fee?
    54. Are there any restrictions on the type or quantity of alcohol to be served?
    55. Can wine be given as a party favor?
    56. Are shots or straight pours allowed?
    57. How long before the event end time does alcohol service end?
    58. Can you bring in a band or DJ?
    59. What do they have for a sound system? Speakers, microphones, etc.?
    60. When can the band or DJ set up?
    61. Are there restrictions on where the band or DJ can set up?
    62. How many people does the dance floor accommodate?
    63. What time do they allow the music to play until?
    64. Can you extend the event hours?
    65. What is the total cost and what is required for a deposit?
    66. Do they offer payment plans?
    67. What type of payment can they take – cash, check, credit card?
    68. What it their cancellation policy?
    69. What is their postponement policy?
    70. Are the payments non-refundable? 
    71. What are the insurance requirements for you?
    72.  What are the requirements for insurance from your vendors?
    73. Does the venue have its own insurance coverage?
    74. Are there any photograph or video restrictions?
    75. What suggestions do they have for locations to photograph?
    76. Which way does the sun set?
    77. Do they have outdoor covered areas such as canopies or tents in case of rain?
    78. Do they have indoor space available if you need to move people from outside to inside?
    79. Do they have a generator for power outages?
    80. Do they have fire extinguishers? Fire hydrants near-by? 
    81. Do most people have cell phone reception? 
    82. Do they require shuttles or valet parking?
    83. Do they require security?
    84. Can the venue accommodate the ceremony?
    85. Are the ceremony and reception held in the same room/location or separate?
    86. If same location, what can be expected for set up and take down to switch over from the ceremony to the reception?
    87. How long will it take for the transition?
    88. Does the venue provide the seating for the ceremony?
    89. What is the cost to have both the ceremony and reception at the venue?
    90. Are you able to have a ceremony rehearsal at the venue and a rehearsal dinner?
    91. Can rose petals be strewn?
    92. Are there overnight accommodations or do they partner with local hotels?
    93. If they allow accomodations, what are the room rates?
    94. Is there a wedding discount for blocks of rooms?
    95. Are their AirBnbs near by?
    96. Where do guests park and how many spots are available?
    97. Is there a cost to park?
    98. What else is going on that night that may make it difficult for guests to park?
    99. How is the venue's communication?

    100. How conveniently located are they?

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    About the Author: 

    Tara Ybarra, Co-Owner and Event Planner for Ybarra Events, has been in the Wedding Industry for over 20 years. From Photographer, to Wedding Cake Artist, to Florist, to Officiant, and now Wedding Planner, her accumilated experience, paired with her College Courses in Event Planning, have given her the experience she has today. Blogging gives her an opportunity to share that knowledge with her readers. 

    Ybarra Events is located in California’s spectacular Napa Valley. Ybarra Events are the pièce de résistance of wedding planners. Run by the dynamic duo of Tara and James Ybarra, they help couples organize, design, and plan their nuptials at some of the most fabulous and luxurious wedding venues in Napa, Sonoma, San Francisco, and Beyond. Chat with them today to start planning the wine-country wedding of your dreams.

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