The venue you choose influences every aspect of your event, from parking to preferred vendors. It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting before signing a contract with the space. Use these questions to ask a venue to decide if it’s right for you and your event.

1. What dates is this venue available?

Don’t get attached to a venue that isn’t available on the date you need it. It can also be helpful to wait to pick a date until you know which venue is your top choice. Then, choose a date that the venue is available.

2. How much does this venue cost?

When considering price, take into account base price as well as fees that could add up. Ask the venue about:

  • Rental cost fluctuations based on seasonality and day of the week.
  • Potential savings when you bundle multiple services together.
  • How tax and service fees are calculated and added.
  • The payment schedule, deposit due date and how long the space will be held without a deposit.
  • Their cancellation and refund policies.
3. What is included when I rent the venue?

Ask your venue if there is a minimum or maximum number of hours you’ll need to rent the space for. Planning and executing an event requires hours before and after the event for set up and break down. You’ll also want to have extra time just in case your event takes longer than expected. Make sure these extra hours are included in your contract and quote so there are no surprises the day of the event.

One of the costlier items you may need to take care of if not provided by your venue is insurance. Ask this question up front to give yourself time to shop around for the best policy for your event.

Vendors, including your caterer, music and decorator, may be dictated by your venue. Most commonly, you could be required to use an onsite caterer. If this is the case, inquire about food and drink minimums as well as menus. Otherwise, your venue likely has exclusive or preferred vendors who are familiar with the space and meet the venue’s expectations.

For the day of your event, you will likely need a liquor license, staff and furniture. Some venues will package these items into a bundled rental cost with the ability to upgrade to nicer chairs or exclusive access to an event coordinator. Depending on the venue, you may be able to substitute these services with vendors of your choosing.

Before choosing an outdoor venue, ask if there is indoor space where your event can be relocated if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

For some individuals, couples and corporations, hosting an eco-friendly event is important. If this is the case, ask your venue about their policies to reduce, reuse and recycle.

4. What amenities are available for my vendors and guests to use?

Choosing the right venue requires more than a large hall to host your event in. You should also consider parking and public transportation options. Heating and cooling (depending on the season you’ll be holding your event in) play a large part in keeping your guests comfortable.

New or upgraded event spaces likely have plenty of restrooms with handicap accessibility. However, beautiful spaces in repurposed warehouses, barns and other trendy venues may not have facilities to accommodate your guests.

Vendors also require amenities. Onsite tech support, plenty of electrical outlets, temporary storage and kitchen facilities are all elements to take into consideration before committing to a venue for your event.

5. How will my event look in this space?

You’re likely picturing how your event will look already, from the signage to the serving stations. Make sure to choose a venue that fits this vision.

Ask questions about what décor and signage is allowed. Will the venue will be decorated for a specific season or holiday when your event is being held there? This is also a good time to discuss occupancy limits and how many guests will fit comfortably based on the type of event and how your serving food.

Large event spaces often have more than one room available for rent, so you could be sharing your venue with another group. Before booking, ask about how multiple events will be separated and if people who aren’t you guest will be able to peak into your space.