by J. Scott

Morby Photography

When you preview top Philadelphia wedding venues, there are many things to contemplate and questions to ask. To help you remember key points and prioritize your needs, our professional planners have created a checklist of questions to take into consideration when choosing your wedding venue. This will help you compare venues online and in person. This list of frequently asked questions for wedding venues can also serve as talking points when you contact your favorite locations for more information.

As you begin to narrow down your options, remember that venue locator tools and wedding venue checklists are only your starting point. Experienced wedding planners and personal tours of the facilities are what will give you the inside scoop necessary to make the right decision.

DOWNLOAD A PDF OF OUR WEDDING VENUE CHECKLIST

30+ Questions to Ask Philadelphia Wedding Venues

Can the Venue Host Your Wedding?

  • Wedding date: Is your desired date available? And if so, will any other couples also be using the venue that day?
  • Other events: Are there any other events scheduled for the same day?
  • Ceremony and reception spaces: Can the venue host both? And if so, how seamless is the transition from one to the other?
  • Capacity: How many guests is the venue able to accommodate?
  • Accommodations: What overnight accommodations such as hotels or bed & breakfasts are nearby?
  • Transportation: Is public transportation a feasible option for guests? Is a shuttle or rideshare (Uber, Lyft, etc.) between the ceremony and reception easy to arrange?
  • Total cost: Will the venue rental, considering all fees, fit your wedding budget?
  • Payment: What are the required deposit, payment terms and forms of payment accepted? Also, inquire about the cancellation policy.

How Does the Venue Make Sure Weddings Run Smoothly?

  • Facility director: Will one be present on your wedding day? If so, is his/her service included in the rental fee? If not, who will take care of any facility issues that may arise?
  • Catering partners: Does the venue have preferred or exclusive Philadelphia catering companies that they trust to service the venue?
  • Rehearsal: What are the options for rehearsal? How much time is allowed? Can you host your rehearsal dinner there?
  • Setup time: How early can vendors arrive to set up? This is typically more of an issue at public sites.
  • Inclement weather plan: For outdoor weddings, is there a backup plan should the weather turn sour?

Does the Venue Have the Amenities and Facilities You Need?

  • Variety of rooms and spaces: Is there a room where you can keep the kids entertained? What about a bridal suite and grooms room? Is there a cocktail hour space that matches your desired atmosphere? Are there indoor and outdoor spaces available?
  • Air conditioning: Is the venue equipped?
  • Handicap accessibility: Will all of your guests be able to get around easily? Is there an elevator if it is a two-level venue?
  • Restrooms: How many are available for guests’ use? We generally like to see at least one restroom per 100 guests.
  • Coat check: Will this be included? If not, is there a space you can use to set one up?
  • Sound system: Is one available? Are speakers included? Is it iPod- and laptop-friendly? Are microphones provided for speeches?
  • Parking: How many spaces are available, and in what proximity to the ceremony and reception site? Is there an additional charge for reserving these spaces?

Will the Venue Allow You to Fulfill Your Wedding Vision?

  • Hours: How late can your wedding run?
  • Décor: Are there any restrictions, such as being able to hang lights? Are candles and open flames allowed? Does the venue have an inventory of decor you can rent? 
  • Alcoholic beverages: What, if any, restrictions are placed on the bar service? Some locations will not allow red wines and mixed drinks that present the possibility of stains.
  • Photography: Are there limits on flash usage? This is most likely to be an issue at museums—and in some of the places you’ll most want those photos! Also, now is a good time to inquire about popular photo ops at the venue and ask for examples. For example, The Patio at Archmere Academy has turned out some of the most beautiful bridal party photos on its double staircase.
  • Music: Are there limits on the volume? Are both DJs and live music allowed?
  • Additional outside vendors: Is there a preferred vendor list, or can you bring in your own vendors?

What is Included?

  • Cleanup: Will the venue staff deconstruct any decorations you bring in, or do you need to hire staff to take care of this?
  • Tables and chairs:: Are tables and chairs included with the venue rental? If so, what size tables and types of chairs are available?
  • Tableware: What is provided? Will your Philadelphia catering company need to supply things like tables, linens, silverware and glassware?
  • Additional charges: What is not included in the rental fee? The last thing you want is a surprise fee tacked on to your rental bill. From big things like your ceremony rehearsal to little things like wedding liability insurance, make sure you know what is included. You can be up-front on this—we recommend you directly ask the venue to disclose any additional charges.

What have past clients said about the venue and how have they utilized the space? 

  • Photos/event spotlights: Does the venue have photo galleries or real weddings to share? Check out their website and social media profiles to see other weddings in the space; you might get some great ideas for your event!
  • Reviews: What are their reviews like on WeddingWire, The Knot, Google, Facebook or Yelp? Are there suggested vendor partners in the reviews? If so, make note, as it’s nice to work with vendors already familiar with each other.

We hope this printable wedding venue checklist guides your big day to the perfect venue serviced by one of the premier Philadelphia wedding catering companies! And there is one more thing we want you to think about—was the venue staff happy to answer all of your questions? A top caterer and venue will be easy to communicate with through every step of planning a wedding.

For venue selection assistance, superior service and custom-designed wedding menus, contact our experienced catering team online, or give us a call at 610.725.9420.

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by J. Scott

Since founding J. Scott Catering in 1995, Scott has worked hard to establish a reputation for exceptional Philadelphia catering and superior customer service.