Look no further, here are the questions you will need to help find your wedding venue Los Angeles! As a professional Wedding Planner, my first piece of advice to any of my clients is us touring venue is that they like it, as is. Meaning, when you walk into the space, do you like the way it looks empty; without any decor, rentals, flowers ect. ect.
Starting out with a solid venue foundation that is visually pleasing to you without all the extras is the first step to building your ideal wedding.
Booking the best venue for your wedding is one of the hardest hurdles of planning for most couples, especially when they have not hired a Professional Wedding Planner to assist them in their search. If you are going it alone without a professional Wedding Planner by your side, make sure to ask the venue all the right questions!
When you walk into a venue, just ask yourself:
“If we had no other additional budget for decorations, rentals and frills, would we be happy using this space for our wedding?”
If the answer is NO, say thank you and move on to the next venue visit.
Remember, your immediate gut reaction is usually right.
If the answer is YES, then here are some helpful questions to ask a venue before you sign your name on the dotted line to ensure that you book the best venue for your wedding celebration.
On your venue tour, you will most likely be meeting with the Venue Manager. Choosing a venue with an onsite Venue Manager is very important. They, or a member of their team, will be representing the venue on your wedding day/night so you want to make sure they are responsible, responsive and reliable. How a Venue Manager relates to you if a good indication of how it will be to work with the venue itself. And as a quick reminder, a Venue Manager is totally different from a Wedding Planner. They are both important positions but a Venue Manager is on the side of the venue while a Wedding Planner is on the side of the couple. The two are not interchangeable.
25 Questions every couple should ask before booking a Wedding Venue:
1. What are the load IN hours on wedding day?
What time can all the vendors, staff and bridal party enter the venue premises BEFORE the wedding.
2. What are the load OUT hours on wedding night?
How long do vendors have AFTER the wedding to pack up, clean up exit the venue?
3. What is the maximum capacity of the room?
As a wedding planner, I always advise my clients to subtract at least 25 from whatever number the venue states to ensure sure your guests have room to groove. No one enjoys a cramped space. While an empty room can seem HUGE, when you fill it with tables, chairs, guests, staff and vendors, it can quickly fill up!
4. Is there any additional permitting needed for this venue?
This applies to many venues that are on state property. Beaches, Parks, Reserves Ect. Permitting typically comes as an additional cost to the clients unless specified by the venue as part of their package.
5. How many weddings happen per day at this venue?
Will your wedding be one of many? And if so, how will that effect your wedding?
6. Does this venue have in-house catering? Do they allow outside catering? If so, is there an additional charge for bringing in an outside caterer?
In-house catering implies that this is a full-service venue with a caterer you are required to use for your event. Some venues will let you bring in an outside caterer for a buyout fee.
7. Are tables, chairs, plates, flatware, barware and/or linens included in the venue rental?
Most full service venues, especially hotels, will provide some or all of these items with the rentals fee. If your venue does not include them, remember this will be an extra rental expense for you.
8. Is this venue specifically for events or is it a restaurant that hosts an event?
There is a big difference. Make sure your venue is experienced hosting events on a regular basis. There are so many venues popping up these days. Although many couples are intrigued by renting out private homes through online sites that offer “venues”, there can be many issues with private properties like this. Proceed with caution!
9. Is there area for Vendor storage and Vendor meal area?
Having a storage area/closet for decor boxes and additional wedding supplies is crucial. Having a spot to ditch items during the wedding helps keep your day organized, neat and tidy. You are required (by most vendor contacts) to feed your vendors a hot meal during their work day. Having a specific area for vendors to eat, unseen by your guests, is helpful.
10. Is there a Bridal Suite? Groom Suite? With on-suite restroom?
Check to see if there is room for you, your betrothed and all your friends to hang out and keep their personal items before and during the wedding. This typically is also a location (depending on size) where hair and makeup can be done before the wedding. If a venue does not offer a Bridal Suite, you will need to make other preparation arrangements.
11. How many bathrooms does the venue have? Will the venue be providing a bathroom attendant or cleaning services on wedding day to keep it stocked and clean?
Make sure to stop in and look at the restrooms yourself. Are they clean, neat and suitable for your guests? Would YOU feel comfortable peeing there? Is there a proper ratio of bathrooms to your guest count? No one likes to wait in a bathroom line at a wedding! If your venue is rustic, outdoor or does not include a sufficient bathroom situation, you will have to rent a mobile restroom unit.
12. Does this venue allow open candle flame? Are fire permits required from the Fire Marshall?
A fire permit is not hard to obtain but it does require information about the specifics of the candle holders you want to use order to pass inspection. Some venues, especially historical ones, will only allow LED (non-flame) candles.
13. Is there a built in sounds system/speakers within this venue for the DJ/Band to plug in to?
Some larger or hotel venues have built in speakers. Your DJ or band will want to know this information.
14. Is there a noise ordinance?
Some cities have noise ordinance rules which require amplified sound be turned off by a certain time.
15. Does this venue allow Food Trucks?
Some venues do and some don’t.
16. Does this venue have an in-house wait staff that is included with the in-house caterer?
Having to employee outside staff will be an additional expense to you.
17. Where are vendors allowed to load in? Is there easy access to the venue from the vendor load in area? An elevator?
It is super helpful to your vendors to have direct access to the ceremony and reception locations. Check for stairs and elevators as well. This will effect how long it will take for vendors to load in/out and therefore how many hours you need to contract them for.
18. Is this venue handicapped/elderly accessible? Is there an elevator?
You want to make sure all of your guest feel comfortable and taken care of. Accessibility is crucial.
19. What is the designated rain/weather plan?
Yes, we are in California, but rain does happen. If you are planning a Fall, Winter or Spring wedding, it’s important to ask what the plan is at this venue.
20. Is a room flip required at this venue?
Flipping a room means that the ceremony and reception will be held in the same room. It will require the room be reset between each activity. Some venues will provide this service in order to do this and other venues will require you to bring in help in order to flip the space. Typically, this will happen during cocktail hour.
21. If this is a venue attached to a hotel, is there a room block requirement?
Some hotel venues will require you book a certain number of rooms with their hotel department in order as part of the agreement to rent the event space.
22. Is there a parking lot for guests or is it valet only? If it is valet only, do they have a contract with a specific valet company?
Having an onsite parking lot at the venue and not having to using a valet is always a cost effective help. If they have a preferred valet, you can either host (pay for) your guest’s cars or have your guests pay for their own valet parking. Make sure to let you guests known this information on your wedding website.
23. Does the venue have any specific decoration regulations you have to adhere to? Do they allow or not allow glitter, throwing rice, sparklers, bubbles, confetti, hanging flowers, using of tape ect.?
Some venues have lots of rules and others don’t. Understanding the expectations, rules and regulations of the venue BEFORE you sign a contract is essential.
24. Does the venue require trash removal services?
It may seem like a silly question, but some venues will require you to remove all trash from the property by the end of the night or move it to a specific area within the venue. Sometimes renting a dumpster is required as well.
25. Does the venue have a list of recommended vendors you are required to use or are they open to all professional vendors?
Sometimes there is a misconception that preferred vendor lists are all, “pay to play”, but that is incorrect. Most venues recommend specific vendors to couples because they have worked at the venue many times before with outstanding results. It behooves venues to recommend vendors that are reliable, responsible and respectful of the venue. Whether you hire vendors based on the venue list or personal recommendations, make sure you are hiring professional (meaning this is what they do for a living, not a hobby!) licensed and insured vendors with glowing reviews and outstanding reputations.
In the long run, you get what you pay for and although hiring a professional is an expense, there is more of an expense in the long run hiring an amateur!
These have been the 25 Questions every couple should ask before booking a Wedding Venue. I hope these questions have helped you find your ideal wedding venue. If you are interested in wedding planning services, please contact us!
Happy Venue Hunting!