Questions To Ask At Your Venue Tour

Questions to Ask
at Your Venue Tour 


Written with thanks to:

Aravina Estate, Barefoot Beach WeddingsEagle Bay Brewing Co, Edith Valley, Eight Willows RetreatHapps WineryLosari RetreatMeelup FarmhouseOld Broadwater FarmSabina River FarmShelter Brewing Co, Solitaire HomesteadSundance LodgeVenue One WeddingsWills Domain and Xanadu Wines

Skip to a section:

Plan B  |  Function Times  |  Package Inclusions  |  Terms & Conditions  |  Who Does What  |  Availability & Holding Dates  |  Recommended & Exclusive Vendors  |  Accommodation & Transport  |  Your Venues Recommendations  |  Additional Fees  |  Typical Wedding

1. Plan B

Being 100% happy with your Plan B option is essential for a stress-free wedding.  Plan B’s aren’t just for wet weather or storms, they are also for heatwaves, excessive wind and fires. So yes, you will need to consider your Plan B options for a Summer wedding!

All venues have Plan B options and suggestions up their sleeves. Some will be built in options and other will require some additional external hire solutions. Simply ask your venue contact for information and you will find all / most of the hard work is already done!

When to ask: throughout your tour, this way your venue contact can point out the plan b locations in real time and less will be open to interpretation.

2. Function Times

Your venue may have set times for things like function conclusion, last drinks, bus departures etc as well as the earliest times you can drop off your things before the big day like styling items and BYO beverages. To avoid any confusion, check the following:

Pre-Wedding: Typically, weddings are held on a Friday or Saturday, with the occasional Thursday or Sunday weddings creeping into normal venue calendars these days, as well as other mid-week events and weddings. This means that if your venue is one that hosts multiple weddings per week or is a restaurant that is open during the day to the public, you will need to request the specific times you are able to come and drop off any items you need to, like signage, styling, beverages etc.

Wedding Timeline: many venues will have an ‘earliest ceremony’ and ‘latest ceremony’ time that must be adhered to. This is to ensure they have enough time to set up the venue to a certain standard before guests begin to arrive and allowing enough time for the proceedings for the rest of the evening. They may be open to earlier or later times however this might incur additional fees due to staffing requirements and additional planning and administration.

Last Drinks / Dance: Last drinks, live music cut offs, last dance and music down are all important factors to consider when it comes time to write your run sheet. These times will align with any function conclusion policies, your venue will be able to give you these times too. It is also important to liaise with your other vendors like DJ, Caterer, Beverage Service and Photographer to coordinate them all and make sure everyone is across the requirements

Function Conclusion: This is when your wedding needs to wrap up, it will usually be due to council regulations which is not up for negotiation and can vary depending on the day of the week. This may be a simple ‘music down’ policy or a full ‘every guest off premises’ policy.

Post-Wedding: Similarly to the information mentioned above in “Pre-Wedding”, you will need to check access times after your wedding so that you can remove your personal items. This is particularly important if your venue is a restaurant or there is a wedding the next day. If you know you will not be able to make it, organise a person to do this on your behalf and provide a comprehensive list of what you need collected and where to find it.

3. Package Inclusions


We have to emphasise that every venue is different and will have varying inclusions so it is important to ensure you get a comprehensive list from each venue so you can compare apples with apples!

Some locations are venue-only, meaning you will need to hire in all your furniture etc, while others include everything from napkins to lighting. Some might even have partnerships with furniture companies and stylists while others don’t. The most obvious difference will be the price on your quote but this does not take into account what needs to be hired in.

When to ask: while you are on your venue tour it is a great time to ask what is included at each phase of your wedding day: ceremony, pre-reception and reception, this might also vary depending on the physical location at the venue too! We recommend having a printout of your venue’s package handy so that you can make your notes as you go and check off times if they have them listed. You can also ask about any necessary items they’ll need to hire in.

4. Terms & Conditions


Your venue T&C’s are not ones to skim read! Make sure you are familiar with:

   – Deposit amounts (usually required to secure the date and non-refundable)
   – Refund and cancellation policies
   – Final payment dates
   – Your requirements and responsibilities when it comes to damages.

If you need any clarification on any points in your T&C’s don’t hesitate to ask your venue contact, they will actually be stoked you read them! Usually, a signed copy of the full Terms and Conditions document is required upon booking, we recommend that you and your partner sign them.

5. Who Does What

This is a big one, if your venue provides a coordinator, double check what they will be helping with and the areas that you will need to organise yourself.

Generally speaking, a venue coordinator will:

Set up Package Inclusions: Your venue coordinator will set up of all of your package inclusions, this does not include any personal styling you bring in (unless specifically agreed on) which will need to be set up by someone else

General Venue Management including working with other vendors, letting them know where to go and providing assistance where needed

Venue-Specific: They will also be available in the lead up to your wedding for other assistance – this is a little more venue-specific so please check what they can help you with, some things you might like to check are:
   – Run Sheet
   – Table Layouts
   – Catering & bar (including bar staff, service etc)
   – Setting tables
   – Putting out signage & stationery
   – Cleaning

When to hire an external vendor: If you require services above and beyond what is included in your venues package eg: styling and wedding planning as a whole, you will usually need to hire someone to do this. See our Journal Post about the difference between Planner Stylists and Coordinators!

6. Availability & Holding Dates

When it comes to booking your wedding venue, there are often many moving parts to consider. We recommend completing our Pre-Site-Tour Checklist and come to your venue tours armed with all the info you need. One of our favourite recommendations is having a few dates up your sleeve to avoid lots of back and forth trying to pick a date and running the risk of missing out.

Availability: Venues in the South West can book up to 18 months to 2 years in advance during the peak season (October – April) but we don’t say this to freak you out, there are often dates still available, you might just not have the pick of them all! This will also vary depending on the venue, well established venues will have bookings well in advance however there are some newer venues that have only just started taking on weddings that will have more availability! Check out Losari Retreat and Sabina River Farm – both stunning new additions to the South West Venue category and well worth adding to your tour list.

Holding Dates: many venues (particularly established ones) typically won’t hold dates as it is simply a logistical nightmare. However it is worth asking the question as they’ll typically give you the weekend to finish your tours, have a conversation about it all and let them know about a date, after which time – if they don’t hear back – they will open it back up again. If you know they are ‘holding’ a date for you and you decide on another venue, a courtesy email goes a long way instead of ghosting.

When to ask: this is a great pre-visit question to ask, though we recommend not asking too far in advance if you aren’t going to book your venue until after the site visits, chances are those dates will be gone by the time you arrive and you’ll need to get an updated list anyway. Usually, the week of your site visit will be ok to send your date list and check availability.

Our Advice: use our event calendar to check local events and public holidays BEFORE your visits so you can avoid choosing a clashing date. Check it out here!

7. Recommended & Exclusive Vendors

This is a very venue-specific question and one of the more important ones. There is also a clear distinction between the two:

Recommended Vendors: a list of vendors who attend the venue regularly and the venue personally recommends, this is a great wedding hack for a number of reasons:
   – You get insider info from vendors about THEIR faves, a massive win
   – These vendors know the venue already and can make their own recommendations for styling, photo locations and other venue-specific details
   – They might even have a chunk of dates blocked out at specific venues for booking
   – It is important to remember that if a vendor is not listed as ‘recommended’, they might just not have been there before and are still amazing, so always worth cross checking with your venue contact too!

Exclusive Vendors: These are the pool of vendors you must choose from at your venue:
   – This might be a small list of vendors or just one specific one (eg: caterer)
   – Usually non-negotiable however you can still ask the question if you have your heart set on a vendor that is not on the list and if this is make or break for you.

Some venues will have set caterers and beverage packages to choose from, others allow free reign. Some will have an exclusive arrangement with a stylist or planner who in turn will have their usual vendors they work with (florists, furniture hire, stationery, photographers, celebrants, entertainment etc) while others will allow complete DIY.

All of this will impact your wedding day and how you go about planning. Your venue should have this information on their website or in their package information as well as in their Terms and Conditions however we do recommend confirming this anyway, just to be sure!

When to ask: we recommend asking this question as part of your follow up enquiry (aka after you have received the package info, read through it all and are looking to book in a site tour), this way you can confirm any questions you have about required vendors listed in their package document or request the information if it has not been provided yet.

8. Accommodation & Transport


Accommodation: A quick online search before your venue tour will give you most of the information you are after, we recommend the following:
   – Check Google Maps, zoom to your venue location and check out all the resorts, caravan parks and other accommodation that pop up and make a quick list
   – Check other sites like Airbnb, Exclusive Escapes and Private Properties too.
   – Consider your ceremony time and accommodation check in time – especially if you have booked a Friday wedding and know your guests are heading down that day.

Transport: most venues will recommend hiring a bus to charter your guests to and from the venue, this might be due to convenience for you or a lack of parking. Organising a bus is one of our top recommendations for planning a South West Wedding so that you know your guests are getting to and from your wedding safely. Your venue might have specific companies they use.

When to ask: at your venue tour during your general Q&A, it is also great if you already have your accommodation list as mentioned above so you can quickly add any extras to it.

Our recommendations: Get a good spread of prices and accommodation types. Some of your guests will love getting a big group together and booking an epic private residence for the weekend, others will be happier in a chalet at a caravan park, while others would prefer the resort option. Liaise with the bus company for the ideal pick up locations and list these on your invitations so that guests can book appropriate accommodation nearby.

9. Layouts


There is not much point in re inventing the wheel! Ask your venue for their recommended table layouts.

From here you can tweak to suit your preferences, but it will save you a huge amount of time working out dimensions. You can list what you are after and ask them if anyone has recently had a layout similar to this and if they can send you the final layout they used. It will save you SO much time!

When to ask: sometimes this is a set document that can be provided on request after booking however if not, and if you have an idea of what you are after (eg: 150 guests on long tables) you can give those details and request any suitable previous layouts. Please note that you might not be able access this information prior to your visit or prior to booking with the venue, however they may have photos of the layout you are after from previous weddings.

10. Your venues recommendations

Your venue contact knows their venue inside out, they have seen countless weddings in all shapes and sizes, they know what works and what doesn’t and will be able to give you straight answers.

Draw on this knowledge and ask them:
   – Their personal recommendations for each aspect of the wedding day (ceremony through to reception)
   – What they have seen work and not work at the venue (layouts, timing etc)
   – What they hope to see a couple do at the venue that hasn’t been done before (layouts, styling etc)
   – Their favourite photo locations
   – The best table layouts / the ones that don’t work so well and why that was the case

11. Additional fees


Again this should be in the package information but as each venue is different is a good question to ask.

There might be an additional fee for things like:
   – Early check in / late check out
   – Hosting your ceremony onsite (eg restaurants or public venues that will need to close earlier)
   – Earlier / later ceremony
   – Breakages and damages (see terms and conditions section previously mentioned)
   – Using vendors not on the recommended / exclusive list
   – Additional set up by the venue staff outside of their usual scope
   – Cake cutting
   – Certain bar requirements eg cocktails (requiring extra staff)

12. What does a typical wedding day look like

During your site tour, get your venue contact to run through a usual wedding day at their venue.

This will differ if they book multiple weddings per weekend but it is useful to know the difference between a Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday wedding as this may impact your choice of wedding date in a way you had not previously considered. It also helps you break down the level of involvement you will need to have in the lead up to and on your wedding day and what you know you can leave in the hands of others.

Save Me For Later

Have you checked out our Pinterest boards yet?

Packed with the latest inspo from your favourite vendors, our boards are the perfect starting point for your wedding styling, all our pins are from local vendors, so you can take your inspiration and go right to the source!

Happy planning! Love, From This Day