Not all wedding venues in Texas are created equal and there is virtually no way to compare apples to apples when venue shopping. Wedding planning can be extremely stressful. Face it, wedding couples are mostly inexperienced at wedding planning. Couples may not know which questions to ask when planning their big day. Contracts, insurance and deposits can be overwhelming. All the information can lead to confusion and can cause a debacle if the right questions are not asked prior to the event. Here is a list of 60 key questions (plus a BONUS!) to ask your potential wedding venue:
Wedding Venues in Texas: 60 Must-Ask Questions
Booking & Policies
- Is your date available?
- Does the venue owner also live in the venue? (If the venue owners also live on the property, ask to see each room you will have access to. Pay careful attention and make sure the tidiness meets or exceeds your expectations.)
- What all is included in the base price? (This varies wildly from venue to venue. The best approach is to make a list of everything you will need and tally up the cost at each venue. Some of the things you need will be included at some venues but will cost extra at others, ie. linens, cleanup, wait staff.)
- How much is the deposit? When is it due? Is it refundable? What’s the payment plan for the entire bill?
- What’s the cancellation policy?
- Will yours be the only wedding or event of the day? (This is very important if you’re not willing to share your special space with an entirely different family. This also confuses some guests and there’s a chance they may attend the wrong wedding.)
- Is there a discount for booking an off-season date or Sunday through Friday? (If your date is flexible and you’re looking for ways to save, a lot of venues offers discounts on days that they wouldn’t book otherwise.)
- Does the venue carry liability insurance?
- Will event insurance be required?
- What are the insurance requirements for your vendors?
- Does the venue offer a wedding day coordinator? Can you meet them now? (If you’re not hiring your own, you want to make sure you get along nicely with the person who’s going to be keeping you on track on your wedding day.)
- How many guests can it accommodate?
- How many bathrooms are there? Are they handicap accessible? (You want one bathroom per every 25-35 guests.)
- Is the venue available for engagement and/or bridal sessions?
- Can the rehearsal dinner take place at the venue? Can any rehearsal take place at the venue? (Some venues will let you come in the day before in the early afternoon to have a 30-minute rehearsal while others will not allow a rehearsal at all.)
- Is there a bride’s changing area? Is there a groom’s changing area?
- Can the wedding party get ready at the venue?
- Are there indoor ceremony alternatives should the weather be inclement? Is there a rain plan?
- If you will have guests with mobility issues, are these ceremony and reception sites handicap accessible?
- Is the venue child friendly?
- Are there booster seats or high chairs available for children?
- Is there a designated smoking area?
- Is there somewhere secure to store wedding gifts?
- Can I see pictures of the reception seating with the same number of guests I am anticipating?
- Where is the dance floor, and how large is it?
Food Service & Alcohol
- If there is an in-house caterer, do you have the option of using an outside caterer instead?
- If you hire your own caterer, are kitchen facilities available for them?
- If you are not allowed an outside caterer, is a food tasting prior to finalizing our menu selection possible?
- Are any wait staff provided?
- Are tables, linens, chairs, plates, silverware and/or glassware provided?
- If the venue provides tables, what shape are they?
- How many different ceremony and reception sites are there to choose from?
- Is there a separate space for cocktail hour?
- Is there a cake-cutting fee?
- Can I bring my own wine, beer and/or champagne? Is there a corkage fee if I do? Can I bring in other alcohol?
- What types of liquor can be served at the venue?
- Is open bar available?
- Does the venue offer service of any non-alcoholic drinks?
- Are there any consequences for not fulfilling the food and beverage minimum?
- What time can decorations begin?
- Who is responsible for setting up and tearing down the decor, and when will it be completed?
- Are there decoration guidelines/restrictions?
- Can I use real candles?
- Can I move furniture?
Lodging & Logistics
- Are there any areas of the venue that are strictly off limits?
- Does the venue offer overnight accommodations?
- If overnight accommodations are not possible, does the venue work with a local B&B or hotel to offer discounts to guests?
- Is there parking on site? Is it complimentary?
- If a shuttle service is needed, can the venue operator assist with setting it up?
- Will you be able to choose all of your own wedding day creatives (ie, caterer, cake designer, florist, photographer, etc.)?
- Can vendors make deliveries and if so, how early?
- Are security guards required?
- Can the venue accommodate a DJ or live band?
- Are there restrictions for the photographer?
- Do you have a sound system with speakers, or will that need to be rented?
- Do you have a wireless microphone/speakers for the officiant? Do you have microphones/speakers for speeches?
- Are there hidden costs like a service charge, gratuity, cleaning fees, or overtime charges?
- Are there any noise restrictions?
- Do they have a generator for power outages?
- If you’re planning a winter wedding, does the venue offer a coat check?
And lastly, no matter how many questions you ask at your venue visit, make sure to ask this one:
- Does anything we’ve seen or discussed today cost extra? (Make sure to get every detail in writing.)
If you enjoyed this blog post and would like to get your hands on 20 FREE interactive wedding planning tools that every couple needs, please take a moment to access them here.
Let’s “hangout!” I wanna hear about your love story!Schedule a virtual discovery meetup!
For more options, visit my “Let’s Connect” page.
I am San Antonio’s most unique wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day image delivery, same-day prints, same-day slideshows, Italian handcrafted wedding albums and I have a mobile meeting space.
I am a full-time, internationally-awarded and WPPI-C certified professional wedding photographer based in South Texas near San Antonio. I offer a premier and personal service coupled with an unforgettable photography experience. I cater to clients who appreciate quality photography and help them to create family heirlooms that will last for generations.
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
When I’m not photographing a wedding, I love to spend my spare time hiking, camping, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of!
The post, Wedding Venues in Texas: 60 Must-Ask Questions, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.