Questions to Ask Your Wedding Venue on Initial Viewing

- Posted on: 24/01/2024 - Wedding venue dublin LUCANSPACMS01

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If you are one of the many couples who found a ring underneath the Christmas tree during the festive period, chances are the start of the year has seen you busy researching and viewing possible wedding venues for your big day. Whether you have a date chosen or remain flexible with options, there’s no better experience for getting the “feel” for a venue than booking a viewing appointment or visiting a Wedding Showcase or Wedding Fair at a number of your possible venue choices.

With such a wide range of venues, hotels and private houses to choose from, it can sometimes be daunting and overwhelming making sure you have asked the right questions for items that are important for you. In many cases, a couple will leave a venue after a viewing appointment thinking of the million-and-one questions they should have asked!

With that said, we’ve decided to create a list of the typical questions we would get asked by couples or points of information we ourselves look to clarify when showing a couple around our award-winning wedding venue. While this list is far from exhaustive, we feel it will set you on your way to covering the majority of questions that may be important to you. We’ve also added context to some of the questions for further information. 

Big Picture, Immediate Questions

There is typically a number of initial questions that could require clarification before an appointment or visit to a venue takes place. These would centre around availability and budget:

Is our chosen date available at your venue?
If you have set a date and potentially booked a church/solemniser, this question will likely be your first one asked.

Does the venue have a minimum number requirement and what is this for your chosen date?
Minimum numbers can set a significant restriction on your own ideas and many wedding venues set higher minimum guest numbers for peak dates such as New Year’s Eve or Bank Holiday weekends.

What is the venue’s maximum capacity?
If this question is relevant to you, it may be important to ask how the main banqueting area would look at maximum capacity. In our experience, many wedding venues overestimate their maximum capacity numbers and such set ups can be cramped or inflexible for when designing out your table plan.

What are your prices/packages and is there flexibility within these?
Typically, couples will have a budget or price in mind when choosing their wedding venue, so asking questions around general packages and what is included for the price allows you to ascertain whether such a venue is feasible for your own budget. Discuss any extras that you would be thinking of adding on, such as drinks or extra nibbles. Look out for options such as All-Inclusive Packages – these tend to offer great value and a stress-free option since they would include a number of recommended wedding suppliers bundled together into a discounted price.

Booking Terms

What is the booking deposit and payment terms?
These vary from venue to venue and it is important to be aware of certain requirements with regards making payments. Also check when final guest numbers are due to be provided to the hotel or venue along with the requirement for final payment.

Are the package prices set in stone on booking, or is there potential for the prices to increase (e.g. due to inflation)?
This has cropped up significantly in current conversations and thoughts, with the rise in inflation and a change in the VAT rate over the last few years potentially affecting a lot of couples. We’ve heard of some couples at other venues being hit with significant jumps in prices at short notice.

TIP: if a venue confirms they review their prices annually for inflation reasons, ask to clarify when such a review takes place and the minimum notice given – you do not want to receive notice of a huge price increase a few months before your day!

Is the booking deposit transferrable (i.e. in the small chance you are required to change dates during planning) and if so, what notice/flexibility is around this?
While you may never anticipate having to change date, let’s face it – things happen! Some venues (including ourselves), can be flexible with transferring your deposit to a new date so long as ample notice is given.

Wedding Ceremony

Can you host wedding ceremonies at the venue?
This is hugely important for those seeking to have the wedding ceremony at the venue.

Do you have flexibility with choosing your preferred ceremony/arrival times?
Typically, couples can choose a time of their own preference, but there are venues that limit this choice.

Is there an option for an outdoor ceremony?
Adding to this, it is important to ask how the set up looks during the time of the year you are getting married (e.g. photos during spring will vary hugely from autumn). It is also important to ask what is the emergency back-up plan for if the weather is unsuitable.

What are the costs of having your ceremony at the venue?
This can often be a significant cost that couples often overlook.

What music options do I have for my ceremony?
Couples have the choice of live music or playing music through a speaker etc. For the former, ask where the musician will be placed in the room. For the former, ask how this is handled and if the venue looks after this or if you will need to arrange your own equipment/someone to play the music. In all cases, enquire about power socket positions (especially in the case of outdoor ceremonies).

What is the flow from after the ceremony?
An important question to ask is where to guests go after the ceremony (e.g. to a drinks reception) and how far from the ceremony suite is this area (the further it is, the more guests might be spread out across the venue that may cause a dip in atmosphere). Some venues require the room to be turned around from ceremony to meal time and therefore require a certain period of time to carry this task out.

Are you allowed to have guests throw confetti?
Whether indoor or outdoor, it is important to make sure this is asked to avoid any disappointment. Often, it may be certain types of confetti that will be permitted.

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Questions around the planning process

Is the venue contact/wedding coordinator who will be handling your wedding present on the day of your wedding?
If the wedding coordinator that you have been planning your day with will NOT be present on the day of your venue, generally you should ask to meet the person who will be in charge of your day beforehand to at least familiarise yourselves with this contact. In such a case and where possible, we would even recommend to meet this person beforehand to go through final details.

Does the venue have a one wedding a day policy?
There are still a small number of venues that host more than one wedding a day. If this is the case, you need to make sure you would be comfortable with this fact and assume there will be another wedding on your day at the venue.

Do you have private use of certain spaces or the entire venue?
Discussing the spaces available with the venue coordinator will bring to light if spaces are for your own use only or simply reserved areas within the public spaces of the hotel. Use of public spaces may limit your ability to add your own touches with regards decorations (e.g. bathroom baskets etc.)

Is there a menu tasting included?
Many venues include a menu tasting to help couples finalise their choices. Ask if this is included, for how many people, and when does this usually get organised?

Questions around Logistics and Time Plans

Do you have flexibility with choosing your preferred ceremony/arrival times, dinner call, speech times etc?
You won't believe the number of venues that can be very restrictive on these.

Can you stay overnight the night before your wedding and/or have a room/area assigned to you to get ready at the venue?
For some weddings, especially where the ceremony is at the venue, it may be preferential for one or both of the couple to get ready at the venue or indeed stay the night before and then get ready on the morning of your wedding. Ask what the options are if you wish to arrange this.

Facilities and Services

What are the spaces/rooms that will be provided to us on the day?
For a viewing appointment, it would be typical for the venue to show you the following:

  1. The ceremony area (both indoor and outdoor).
  2. The banqueting space/dinner room.
  3. The drinks reception/pre-dinner area(s).
  4. Any relevant outdoor areas for photos on the grounds of the venue.
  5. Areas typically used for indoor photos (in the chance it is raining on the day of your wedding).
  6. The wedding accommodation suite.
  7. The relevant bars.

Bear in mind, some areas may be unavailable to show on the day of your appointment, or may not be set up for a wedding. What is important here is for you to get a “feel” of the venue and the space and for the venue coordinator to explain the flow of the day as guests move from one space to another (e.g. from the ceremony space to the drinks reception). Often, couples will also request to view any bathroom facilities as well as areas for breakfast or other accommodation spaces. Don’t hesitate to ask to see these spaces if you wish.

What are the layout options for each space?
As you view the venue, it is important to get an estimated understanding of the layout options, in particular for your ceremony (if applicable) and the banqueting suite. Is the bar in the room itself or outside of the banqueting area? Are the bathrooms close by? Is the smoking area near to where the guests will be?

What is the turnaround procedure after the meal and getting ready for the band?
After the wedding reception meal, depending on your venue, there will usually be a turnaround of the room to get ready for the wedding party. Ask how long this turnaround takes and if your guests are moved into a different room/space or required to vacate the banqueting area to get this reset? Where do your band or DJ set up and is it possible to have these set up prior to dinner?

Is there a PA system included for announcements and speeches?
Further to this, check to see if it possible to play dinner music during your pre-drinks reception and/or reception meal?

How accessible is the venue (ceremony space, dining space and accommodation)?
This is a particularly important question if you have any guests with limited mobility.

What is the closing/finishing times?
It is important to get an understanding of the finishing times for the end of the night. What time does last orders get called at the bar? Is there a bar extension available and at what price? What time does the music stop at and guests would be asked to leave at? Is there a resident’s bar available and who would have access to this?

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Questions around external wedding suppliers

Are there any restrictions/requirements on certain suppliers or items that you wish to bring in to add to your day (e.g. confetti, bathroom baskets, entertainment)?
Every venue has their own set of guidelines and rules in place when it comes to external suppliers and extra décor. Some require a copy of public liability insurance of all major suppliers (e.g. wedding band) or have an outright ban on including such items. A quick question posed on this will bring anything to light for you.

If extra décor is being arranged, what time can you set up or start from on the day?
Many couples ask us if there is an event or wedding on the day before theirs. While this may be the case at the time or booking or planning, we recommend couples NEVER assume this will be the case, as venues can take bookings for various events at short notice.

Are there any decoration options included in the packages (e.g. table centrepieces, cake stands, table plan displays)?
There will be a number of items that venues will include as standard across their packages and menu. Check what these are and if there are multiple options for each (e.g. different cake stands to use).

Food and Drink

Are there options for guests with specific dietary requirements or diet choices?
For example, guests who are vegan/vegetarian or anyone with any allergies?

What are the meal options for children?
Check to see what are the menu options for children and at what price are children charged for? Are children included in any possible minimum number requirements? Don’t hesitate to have a children’s menu sent over to you for added reassurance.

What are the wine choices and how is this served?
Choosing wines from a menu is a preferrable option for couples. Also make sure to ask how the wine is served.

TIP: If you are paying for wine separately to your chosen package and you are under a strict budget, you will always have less wine to pay for if you choose to have wine served by the hotel staff rather than leave the bottles on the dinner tables.

Can you bring in your own wine/champagne/drinks?
Some venues allow you to source your own wine and charge a corkage fee for doing so.

What are the average prices for drinks behind the bar?
Function room bars can be notoriously expensive, so don’t forget to ask the average prices of the most popular drinks.

Is there an option to do an open bar for guests?
Naturally, such a question usually surrounds how this can be controlled to avoid running up a huge bill!! You may be able to cap this at a certain limit, offer it only at a certain point of the day (e.g. during drinks reception) or provide vouchers/tokens to guests to avail of drinks at the bar.

Can you source in a particular drink/signature cocktail etc?
Sometimes, your drink of choice may be something less commonly served in a public bar or wedding venue. In such a case, check to see if your venue can stock this drink or prepare a cocktail of your choosing.

Are there options for canapes/extra nibbles/sandwiches for the drink’s reception or evening food?
Adding to this, many couples look to add extra food for the resident’s bar.

Can you bring in external food from 3rd party suppliers?
Depending on your preferences, you may wish to add on an extra treat for guests (e.g. a Taco truck for arrival) or you may wish to source the whole day’s catering from external chefs. Check to see if this is allowed by your venue.

How long does it take to serve the meal from start to finish?
Asking this question will assist with determining a time in which to call for dinner, and allow you to plan the day accordingly. Serving time depends on a variety of factors, including the number of waiting staff, the number of courses for your meal and the standard etiquette of how the venue serves their meal.


Does the venue have accommodation and how many rooms are available for your guests to book?
If your wedding venue is a hotel, it’s likely there will be plenty of accommodation rooms for your guests to reserve. Ask how likely your guests will have to book in advance to ensure availability, or if it is practice for the venue to hold aside rooms for your wedding guests.

What are the room rates and are they set to a limited number of rooms? If so, what is the booking procedure?
In most cases, where there are discounted accommodation rates available for your guests, they will be able to quote your names over the telephone or perhaps have a unique code for booking accommodation online. Where rooms are limited or the number of discounted rooms limited, you may have to organise the allocation yourselves or be required to fill all rooms of the venue.

What time is check-in time and check-out time for the accommodation?
Check-in time will be very important when choosing a ceremony time if you plan on having the ceremony at the hotel as many guests like to check-into their rooms before the ceremony?

Can we block book rooms and what is the procedure around doing this?
In some cases, it may be preferential to block book bedrooms to ensure availability for your guests. Each venue will be best able to advise on the logistics of doing so and any automatic release options (i.e. any unused rooms get automatically released 3 months from your wedding day).


Always remember, if you drive away from finishing your viewing appointment and think of several questions that you forgot to ask on the day, don’t hesitate to email or telephone the wedding coordinator of the venue. This is irrelevant if you think the question is a small or silly question – by all means, send off a quick email! If anything, this will allow you to gauge the relevant venue coordinator’s response time (something that is very important when planning your wedding day).

Finally, a final tip for when you do find your chosen venue and are ready to book – MAKE SURE YOU RECEIVE A SIGNED COPY OF YOUR CONTRACT! For some reason, the number of couples we have read not receiving a contract on booking other venues is extraordinarily high and should be provided there and then to cover both you and the venue and ensure there is no confusion on specific terms/conditions.

Happy planning!

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