Wedding Venue Site Visits: The not-so-obvious questions to ask

For most brides and grooms planning their wedding for the first time, comparing the different wedding venues available can be an overwhelming task.  Here are a few questions to keep in mind while conducting site visits for your dream wedding venue. Food and Beverage Minimum/Room Rental - Is there a room rental fee?  What is the food and beverage minimum and will the room rental be waived if the minimum is met? Besides tax and gratuity, what else is excluded when calculating the food and beverage minimum?  If only packages are advertised or mentioned, is an a la carte option available?

Candles - Candles are gorgeous and most brides would love candles all around their reception room.  One thing to keep in mind is that almost 100% of venues in Las Vegas will not allow candles with an open flame.  This means that tapered candles are not allowed and any candles that are not enclosed in a some type of holder or glass are not allowed.  Some hotels in Las Vegas won't even allow candles without a fire permit.  The only exception to the open flame rule is usually a unity candle ceremony.  If this is important to you, make sure this is a question you get answered prior to booking your wedding location.

Menu Tasting - Is a tasting included as part of the wedding package?  If not, is a tasting available for a fee?  Is a tasting available before you book?

Wedding Vendors/Wedding Professionals - Before hiring anyone, make sure you find out if there are any restrictions from the venue.  Some venues may only allow you to select from their approved list of professionals. Some venues are stricter than others and will require proof of liability insurance of at least $1 million as well as a business license. Don't disappoint Uncle Fred as well as yourself when you find out he will not be allowed to DJ and emcee your wedding.

Timeframe/Overtime - How long is the wedding reception?  What is the charge for each additional hour if you're interested in extending the wedding reception? What are the times for a lunch reception? Dinner reception?

Banquet Chairs - Ask to see their standard banquet chairs.

Dressing Room/Bridal Suite - Is there a dressing room available?  If so, how early will you have access to the room?

Bar - Are you able to bring in your own liquor?  If so, what is the corkage fee? If you choose an open bar package, is a signature cocktail included or will it be available at an additional cost?  What are their house wines?

Candy Buffet, Popcorn Bar, Cookie Station, etc - What are the restrictions?  Are you allowed to bring in your own candy, popcorn, cookies, etc?

Dance Floor - Is a dance floor included?  If not, what is the cost of the dance floor rental? What is the size of the dance floor? 

Parking - Although parking is plentiful in Las Vegas and often free, this is still a valid question in the case of a country club, private mansions, and restaurants for example. Find out where guests will be parking and if there is a valet available.  If there is valet, what is the fee to you?

Number of Events - How many events do they host in one day? In a larger venue, multiple events and often times multiple weddings may take place in one day.  

Staff - What is the staff's dress code? What is the server to guest ratio?

Cake - Is there an in house pastry chef?  Is an outside cake allowed?  If so, what is the cake cutting fee, if any?

Noise Ordinance - Is there a noise ordinance?

Licenses and Insurance - Does the venue have a business license and liability insurance?  Is all of their paperwork up to date?  A venue in town has recently been shut down for not having the appropriate paperwork on file so don't be afraid to ask this question.

Preferred Vendor List - What is the screening process for vendors to get on the venue's list?  Is it a paid listing?

Happy planning!