Today we are joining in on your wedding venue search, so sit back and get ready to take notes! When it comes time to do your venue tour, it’s always good to come in with a list of questions to ask or things to have in mind. To ensure you make an informed decision, we turned to some of the top DC-area wedding venues to ask for their pro advice on what to ask during your meeting, and we’ve got it all covered! Here is what some of the coordinators at these local venues had to say… (And be sure to tag us in your wedding venue search on social media with the hashtag #loveunitedwithlove!)

Photo Credit: Sam Hurd Photography from Intimate Baltimore Wedding

What to ask before securing the venue…

What is your cancellation policy? What is your hold policy? What is your policy regarding wedding rehearsal the day prior? Do you offer off-peak discounts (seasonal or day of the week)? Do you have any décor or noise restrictions? —Danielle, director of special event at Arena Stage

Can you share photographs and/or floor plans of past events that have taken place in the venue? Do you have a list of preferred vendors that you can share, or would you be willing to share your experience with vendors that we are considering? —Heidi, event coordinator at National Cathedral School

What are the steps and timeline between signing the contract and having the event – when do the final numbers need to be given, when do you have to decide on your menu, how often should you meet with the event coordinator etc. —Roneeka, event manager at Sonoma Restaurant and Winebar

What to ask about the venue itself…

What furniture and amenities come with the venue? Are there in-house options for seating, tables, or other equipment that may save on delivery costs and load-in time? What does the venue space look like at the time of the event? Can you visit it during that time? If it is at night, is there enough lighting? Does it set the right mood? Does the venue offer lighting packages?  – Wyatt, manager at The Loft at 6oo F

If you have elderly guests or guests that have difficulties with stairs, ask about accessibility (especially in DC, where many places are not handicap accessible due to the age of the building). —Roneeka, event manager at Sonoma Restaurant and Winebar

If it is an outside facility, what is the bad weather back-up plan? What time can my vendors start setting-up on wedding day and can they set-up the day before? Do you offer on-site coordination? —Michelle from Belle Grove Plantation

Do you have ample complimentary parking? What additional fees are not listed here (ex: Corkage fee, cake cutting fee, linens, etc.)? What is the cancellation policy? What might cause me to lose my damage deposit? What are the rain backup options?  What are some negative comments you have received from brides in the past? —Chelsea, sales manager at Potomac Point Winery

What to ask about wedding vendor recommendations…

Ask the on-site event coordinator if they have any preferred vendors—a florist who has worked with the venue before will know the set up and decor so is more likely to have some good advice (and has come recommended). —Roneeka, event manager at Sonoma Restaurant and Winebar

Hiring a full-service wedding planner for these types of venues is very beneficial and allows you to easily coordinate all the moving pieces. Ask your venue if a wedding planner is required, and who they recommend for their particular venue. —Sarah, venue manger at The Market at Grelen

What to ask about other vendors…

Make sure to ask the on-site event coordinator about bringing items into the venue (cakes, wine, flowers, bands, favors, etc.). There are sometimes costs (and laws!) associated with little extras that could affect your budget and vision. And if you are planning to have a band and/or DJ, make sure the venue has a live music license.  —Roneeka, event manager at Sonoma Restaurant and Winebar

If off-site catering is required, do they provide a kitchen? It’s important to understand what power is available for your vendors. If you plan on having a live band, be sure to communicate to both vendor and venue how much power is needed. Full-service venues, like hotels, often provide many services beyond just catering. If you are just booking a space, you often have more opportunities to make your wedding unique by bringing in all your favorite, different vendors and stylists. —Sarah, venue manger at The Market at Grelen

What to ask about the wedding day timeline…

Do you have a private room for the bride with its own bathroom? Do you have a second private room for the groom with its own bathroom? —Antonio, manager at Rose Hill Manor

Ask about timing on the day of the event.  What time will vendors be able to get in to drop off or set up?  Are there any charges associated with early arrivals?  What happens at the end of the event?  Can guests still hang out or does the establishment close down? —Roneeka, event manager at Sonoma Restaurant and Winebar

Do you have time limits for the load-in, event, and load-out period and what are they? Is there on-site storage before, during, or after the event for vendors? —Danielle, director of special event at Arena Stage


Are you looking for more local wedding ideas? Be sure to look through our DC area wedding idea galleries and find wedding advice from local DC area pros. If that isn’t enough, check out our collection of local DMV weddings from the real world and the best DC area wedding vendors who make it all happen.

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