The Great Venue Hunt (with FREE Question Guides!)


The day I ordered my wedding dress, my partner and I were able to cross off another big “to-do” on our planning list: we put a down payment on our reception venue.

We had looked at a few places, but I never would have thought that we would have gone with the first place we checked out. However, everything we saw and the interaction we had with one of their coordinators just set the bar way to high for all of the other potential reception venues. When I attended the Eastwood Bridal Extravaganza with Carmen and Jeannette, I stopped at a booth for a hotel to check out block room rates for our guests. There was a woman there who was representing the reception hall, which, just like the hotel, is owned by a certain hospitality management group. She mentioned a free table skirt lighting package and took my phone number, but I didn’t think much of it. A few days later, she called me to set up an appointment for Brian and I to come check out the venue. I thought, “ok, well, this will give us a good opportunity to get started anyway,” so I booked a time for us to take a look.

I don’t think Brian and I were expecting such a nice facility when we went there. I was happily surprised at how interested he was in all of the details, like the concept of a king’s table, the lighting, and other decor. We both absolutely loved the room our event would be held in, especially the bar. Leaving the appointment, we had a new sense of excitement about looking at other places. Within the next few weeks, we looked at at least four other venues, comparing the details and what would be included in each of the packages. In the end, we were basically comparing all of these other venues to the first one, and they just weren’t on the same level. We didn’t want to lose our penciled-in “hold” that we had on our date, so after my dress appointment and lunch with my mom and sister, we went out to the hall to pay the deposit for our reception.

While looking at venues, Brian and I had several questions about the facilities, so I came up with a worksheet to make sure we didn’t forget anything while meeting with different coordinators. If I found them useful, I’m sure someone else could find them useful while planning their wedding. Hence, these free PDFs:

Questions for Ceremony Venues

Questions for Reception Venues

In addition to the questions I included on these lists, you may have other, more specific questions for your venues, like:

  • Is there a discounted price for children under a certain age?
  • Can you meet the dietary needs of some of my guests? (Vegan, gluten-free, etc.)
  • What is your weather contingency plan? (For outdoor venues)
  • Do you have a recycling policy?
  • Do you have decorations I can rent?
  • What will happen with leftover food/cake at the end of the night?
  • How should payments be made?

We’re still looking around for our ceremony venue, but we at least have my pastor on board. I think we’re getting close to picking the place, but when you don’t belong to a church in a certain area, its hard to find a non-church, non-outdoor venue. I hope these questions help you as you plan your big day. What else would you include on these lists?


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