You’ve got the ring and set a date! Now it’s time to start planning your wedding day. The venue is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. After all, it’s where you get to celebrate your marriage to the love of your life!

Choosing a venue is so much more than picking a pretty building and putting down a deposit. There are tons of details and concerns that you need to take into consideration as you make your choice. Here are a few of the top questions to ask any potential venues.

How much does it cost and what’s included in the price?

When you talk to a venue, you’ll receive a quote for the price of booking it, but be sure to ask what is included in that cost. Does the venue offer cleanup, or are you expected to handle that yourself? Some venues include catering services or even an in-house DJ for an extra fee. Be sure to know what all your options are and what each item would cost you. And on that note…

Is outside catering allowed?

Some venues require you to use their in-house caterer, while others leave it up to you to book a catering service. All-inclusive venues are definitely convenient, but you’ll want to make sure any in-house vendors can provide the services you want. Take time to review the menu options and details before you book the venue’s caterer 

What is the capacity of the venue?

This is the big question. You have to know how many people the venue can hold, especially if you’re planning on a larger wedding. If you love the venue, but it only holds 100 people, you may have to trim down your guest list. Or the capacity may be a deal-breaker for you. Know your priorities before you choose a venue, so you’re aware of where and how you can compromise.

Can we have our ceremony here?

If you’re planning to have your whole wedding day in one place—a budget-friendly idea—then be sure to ask if you can have your ceremony at the venue as well. And if they’re cool with your ceremony being onsite, you may want to ask about any private rooms the wedding party can use for getting ready or any picturesque spots on the grounds for photos.

Do you have a wedding coordinator on staff? If not, who do I contact?

Many venues have a coordinator who can help you make sure everything is set up for your big day. If they’re not the person you’re speaking during your tour, make sure to get the coordinator’s contact info so you can get in touch with them and ask any additional questions you may have. And if the venue doesn’t have a coordinator, ask who will be your point of contact. It’s important to know who to call if anything goes wrong or if you have any last-minute concerns.

What is parking like? How many bathrooms are available?

These and other practical questions are important considerations when it comes to choosing a venue. Think about what will make your guests comfortable and write a list of things that are important to making sure they have a good time. Consider things like the heating and air conditioning situation, accessibility, and the convenience and ease of parking.

What’s your cancellation policy?

You may have your heart set on a venue, but you never know what circumstances could force you to cancel or reschedule your wedding day. It’s a good idea to know what a venue’s cancellation policy is and how much of your deposit you could get back, just in case.

Do you have a backup plan in place for bad weather?

If your venue has outdoor spaces you plan on using, ask about their plans for storms, snow, or other inclement weather. You want to be sure to have a solid Plan B in case the weather on your wedding day is less than ideal.

Do you have any décor we can use?

Some venues have basic décor items, like lighting, vases, and candle holders, that you can use when you book the space. If there are items you want to use, you may be able to save money by taking advantage of those pieces.