Don't book your venue without knowing the answers to these all-important questions first...
#1 Will the venue be exclusively ours?
Naturally, you want it to be your day - although bigger venues can sometimes have two or three weddings booked for the same day. If you want that truly exclusive feeling of the venue being all yours, make sure you check whether or not other celebrations will be taking place.
#2 What's your policy on the party running over?
It's very rare for a wedding reception to end dead-on the allocated time - so check with your venue what the deal is if your party runs over. From the venue's point of view, an extended reception means paying staff more, so more likely than not there will be costs involved. Find out how much more you could end up paying in advance, to spare yourself any nasty surprises the day after.
#3 What's your disabled access like?
If your guest-list includes people in wheelchairs, on crutches or unable to walk very far, you'll need to know what the situation is with access. Is there a lift, or a ramp available - and if not, can the venue suggest something?
#4 Do you have changing facilities available?
This is important as if there isn't an area where you and your bridesmaids can get ready together, you'll need to either a) co-ordinate getting prepared at someone's home or b) book a room at a nearby hotel or facility.
#5 What's the deal with preservation?
As in - if it's an old venue, it might come with a few unusual rules, such as stilettos not allowed on certain floors and strictly no confetti to be thrown.
#6 What will we do if the weather is terrible on the big day?
It's crucial to know what the back-up plan is here - especially if the outdoors plays a key part in your celebration!
#7 Do we have to work with your preferred suppliers?
Venues typically have 'preferred suppliers' - tried and trusted vendors and services that they know will provide top-quality service and guarantee a brilliant day. Some venues might insist that couples only book preferred suppliers, so check what the situation is and how flexible they are happy to be.
#8 How involved will your wedding co-ordinator be?
Co-ordinators typically act as a go-between for the couple and their big-day plans; finding out how involved your venue's co-ordinator will be at an early stage (as well as if there are any additional charges associated) will help you work out if you need to book a planner.
#9 You have a flexible menu, right?
It's great to be able to give your guests options - and especially if you have a favourite sort of food! If the venue's in-house menu is limited, check that you can bring in caterers who will be able to offer what you want.