Questions to ask your wedding venue before you book

Not a poorly considered, generic, waste of your time list, here’s info that is actually useful. For fellow photographers, also, check this article out: Don’t get fancy with your photography gear!

Does the venue have a sound limiter?

I doubt you will find this information freely given to you when you visit a venue as a potential client. Wedding venues are businesses and they want your custom. The big problem I have is that you only get one crack at a wedding and they cost alot of money. That being the case, it is vital that ALL information is freely available, good and bad, so you, as the customer, can make an informed choice.

Sound limiters always catch people out.

What is it? It’s an installed device that monitors the sound levels in the venue, if it goes above the set limit, all the sound system shuts off and you are left in silence until it’s restarted.

This disrupts the party momentum and often guests and the client are left stood looking at the band and saying ‘wow this band are rubbish, they blew up the speakers’, which of course, isn’t true.

Before you book, ask if there is a sound limiter. If there is and its not an issue for you, great. If it is an issue because you want to rave, then you may need to find another venue. Better to find out before than mid way through a real headbanger.


Can pictures be taken during the church service?

This is important for obvious reasons and i have written about it previously, but the more coverage it gets, the more likely it is someone will see it!

Not all vicars/priests/minsters/celebrants etc. let us wedding photographers take pictures during the ceremony.

When its in their domain, its their rules.

If you would be devastated by this, find out before booking. This is vitally important as there is genuinely nothing we can do about it. I have had experiences where even on the day the celebrant has changed their mind, which creates a whole new set of issues, but if you have it in writing from the venue/church then at least we have that to fall back on. The ceremony is often the most emotional part of the day, to watch those moments play out in front of me without being able to capture them is heartbreaking.


How much is the booze? Because half a bottle of wine each is never enough

Such a question could be revealing about my personality type eh? I’m not an alcoholic, i only drink when i work…and i’m a workaholic :)

Seriously though, it’s worth finding out. Guests will drink the champagne at the toasts, they will also drink the half bottle of wine each, which sounds alot when booking, but the wedding breakfast is normally 2.5hrs, it’s quite easy to drink that much wine in that time.

If a bottle of beer is £6 and cocktails are a fortune, then people will wince each time they go to the bar, that’s not conducive to having a relaxed mega fun time with friends.


What happens if it rains?

This has little impact on how I work, i document, so you have to roll with whatever comes. For you and your guests though, this is important to know.

If the venue is spectacular in summer with the most fabulous gardens, just make sure you ask what happens if it’s lashing it down, only for peace of mind that you don’t end up in a cupboard.


How far are the nearest hotels and how much are cabs?

Not all wedding venues can house everyone who wants to stay there, so again, as far as being considerate to your guests, have a look at how far away he venue is from hotels. Guests will want taxis, if it costs £50 to go 2 miles, might be worth looking at arranging carriages to ferry people rather than one off hire.


How much time do we have to setup?

Love to have lots of home made details? Thinking of a bit more of a DIY affair? Make sure you’ve got plenty of time to setup. I’ve been in the situation before setting up weddings for friends where we’ve had a team of people and two days to setup…and only just made it.

We lined the ceiling with lanterns (an engineering masterpiece it has to be said), made all the bouquets, decorated the tables etc. Something is always forgotten and it always takes longer than you think. Make sure if you are going DIY then the venue allows you access well in advance of the big day, otherwise you’ll be majorly stressed out and that’s not fun.


What time do we have to leave the day after the wedding?

Weddings are celebrations, I don’t think it should be about money and therefore find it disappointing when the venue throws you out at 10am after having a skinful because there’s a wedding the next day.
I get it, its a business. If i ran a venue, its not how I would choose to operate, one wedding a weekend i say, but hey, maybe that’s just being daft and unrealistic.

Orrr maybe not? That’s how I shoot weddings, one a weekend, go hard on one, knowing you’re at your best. Anyway I digress. I know from my own wedding that you have to exit the premises at a certain time the next day at certain venues. If you and your friends are hungover, this is an inconvenience so def worth thinking about.

I’ll tell you what happened at my wedding.

The next morning, breakfast seemed like a civilised idea at the time, except everyone was still in bed. Eeking out the minutes of sleep up to 10am to get maximum shut eye. In the end we all went to the pub and had a few more beers with lunch. In conclusion, breakfast for all guests was a waste of money.

One thing whilst i think of it…

If your venue isn’t a hotel, you’ll have a night porter and that’s it. No room service etc. If you find yourself needing something in the middle of the night, you won’t be able to call someone to get it. We had a guest who was really sick and sorting help for her was difficult as there was only one person on duty…just a thought.

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