The Ultimate Wedding Venue Walkthrough Checklist

    If there was ever an event that demands everything to come together perfectly, it would be a wedding. Frankly, with so much planning involved, it can be overwhelming — even for those with modest event plans. 

    That’s why having an action list is so important. It can help alleviate some of the stress, and it ensures that you don’t forget any of the vital details concerning the big day. With many top venues booking months (even years) in advance and so many options for locations, using this essential venue walkthrough checklist is step one to finding the perfect event spot. 

    The Hutton House


    Whether you’re a pro planner or a DIY engaged couple, nothing is more important than availability. Nail down these details of your locale first, including:

    Is my date available? (If you have one in mind)
    Will we be sharing the day with other weddings or events? If so, how many?
    Is exclusive booking available so that we can have the place for just our event?
    What is the window for our event, including set-up and take down? How flexible is our booking window?
    Is this only a ceremony venue or can the reception be held here, too?


    Whether you’ve been planning your wedding since you were young or only just now warmed up to the idea of a forever partnership, the odds are good that you have a personal style profile you want to see reflected in your nuptials. Wedding themes run the gamut from tiny white chapels to extravagant ballrooms with marble pillars. Ask these questions to understand how your venue can mesh with your tastes:

    Do you have pictures of past weddings held here? 
    How would you describe your venue’s “style”?
    What other types of events are typically held here? 


    Professional Support and Planning Services
    Some venues are simply a brick-and-mortar space. Others also offer catering and drink services, preferred vendors, and decor. Still more are ready to take your wedding from plan to perfection with an onsite event team that’s well-versed in all the wedding details you need 
    done. Get to know your venue by asking these important questions:

    Do you offer wedding packages? If so, does a planner or day-of coordinator come as part of the booking?
    What services are included in the planning fees?
    Will the planner be there on the day of the wedding? If not, who will be on hand to handle any issues or questions that may arise?
    Can we meet with the planner before making our final venue decision?
    Will staff be available for set up and take down?

    There are plenty of questions you’ll likely have regarding your personal wedding preferences. It may include anything from special guests to furry pets. Be sure you brainstorm all of the details of the big day in advance and use them as the basis for your interview questions. While these questions are the most popular, keep in mind that your unique style may require additional, specialized questions as well:

    What vendors are included or allowed? Can I work with outside vendors?
    What audio/visual equipment is included in the price or for a fee? How WiFi, lighting, and special effects be handled?
    If we book both the wedding and reception, is there space for performers, dancing, etc.?
    What does the parking look like? Is valet available?
    Is the venue accessible for differently-abled guests?
    What accommodations can you provide for those with assistive devices?
    Are there restrictions on smoking, drinking, noise, or flash photography?
    What unique local ordinances should we know about in advance (no open containers after 1 am, for example)?

    How many restrooms are available? Are they labeled by gender? Are there gender-neutral or family restrooms? What about infant changing tables?
    Can we hang our own decorations? If so, what restrictions are in place for adhesives?
    Are candles permitted?
    Can pets be included in our event?
    If the event is held outdoors, what will happen in inclement weather? 

    Money Matters
    The above questions don’t matter much if the venue doesn’t fit into your budget. Avoid surprises and outlandish bills by getting the answers to these before you book:

    How is your venue price portioned out? Is it priced hourly, daily, or by a time block?
    Are there discounts for different days or times of the year?
    What is the deposit? What are the terms for getting it back if unsatisfied? Is there a cancellation policy?
    Can we pay in installments? What payment methods do you accept?
    What other costs could we expect?
    How are service staff tipped?
    Is there a cleaning deposit or additional gratuity to consider?


    Additional Questions to Ask
    These are the basic questions you should ask, but there are certainly other elements to consider. Things like liability insurance, waivers, and permissions are also important to ask about. Will the event venue be able to use photos of your wedding in their promotional and marketing materials, for example? Who is responsible if someone gets hurt on the premises?

    If the venue is also a hotel, get to know how booking works, and what discounts are available for your guests. If you do get a discounted room rate for booking the wedding there, how many guests have to book? What is the window for booking? How can guests ensure they’re getting the best rate?

    Why Getting It Right Matters
    Whether you choose to hold your event in a quaint country barn locale or glitz it up for a red carpet-worthy party, getting the event venue correct is essential. Don’t take the decision lightly and be confident in your choice. 

    With so much to look forward to, it can be frustrating to have to consider so many tiny details. If you select the best venue, however, they can do much to ease your burden and take some of the more intricate planning items off your to-do list. Use these questions as a blueprint to find a venue that will partner with you on your wedding day and give you the kind of five-star service you deserve.