7 Essential Questions to Bring on Your DC Venue Tour

Ah, the venue tour: it’s like a first date with the place you’ll say “I do.” But unlike the butterflies-in-your-stomach, this date needs less hand-holding and more hard-hitting questions. After all, you’re not just picking a pretty backdrop for your selfies; you’re choosing the stage for one of the biggest days of your life. So, here are seven essential questions to tuck into your wedding binder before you tour those picture-perfect DC wedding venues.

1. What’s the Plan B for Rain? Because, Surprise—Mother Nature Doesn’t Care About Your Outdoor Wedding

Let’s start with the DMV’s weather mood swings, shall we? If you’re dreaming of an outdoor ceremony under the beaming sun, remember that the clouds might have other plans. Always ask about the venue’s contingency arrangements for bad weather. Is there an indoor space just as enchanting as the garden? Does it come with extra costs or a different capacity limit (see #3)? Loving your backup plan will save you a lot of heartache if hurricanes come calling. Hint hint: this is extremely important if you are planning to get married in September.

2. How Many Weddings a Day Are We Talking Here?

You want to feel like the main event, not part of a wedding assembly line. Find out if the venue hosts multiple weddings on the same day. If it does, inquire about how they ensure each event remains intimate and exclusive. You don’t want to compete for parking spots, photo ops, or the venue’s attention like it’s some twisted bridal version of The Hunger Games. While you’re at it, you may want to ask about your allowed rehearsal timing. Venues that host multiple weddings in a weekend may require weekday rehearsals (Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday morning). If your bridal party is flying in from out of town, you’ll want to talk about Plan B rehearsal spaces with your planner.

3. Let’s Talk Numbers—Guest Numbers and Hidden Costs

Every venue has its capacity cap. Get clear about how many guests you can invite before fire codes become an issue. BUT THEN ask about their recommended number for ultimate guest comfort. These numbers often differ by 20-30 guests, and it’s good to know when you’re actually squeezing people in like sardines at the cap. Also, ask about those sneaky additional costs that could pop up faster than an aunt with a camera. Service charges, overtime fees, corkage—get the lowdown so your budget doesn’t end up needing a life jacket.

4. Vendors: The VIP List or the Open-Invite Party?

Some venues are like an exclusive club—they have a list, and if your favorite caterer’s name isn’t on it, they’re not getting in. Others give you the freedom to bring whatever vendors you please. Clarify their policy upfront. If they require you to use their preferred vendors, make sure they’re worth RSVPing ‘yes’ to. If they let you bring in your own, make sure you’re aware of their insurance and license requirements, so you don’t tell your best friend she can make your cake and then have it turned away on the big day.

5. Setup and Breakdown Times—When Do We Get the Keys to the Castle?

Before you plan your epic entrance and sparkler send-off, you need to know when you can actually set foot in the venue. Ask about access times for both set-up and breakdown. You’ll want to ensure that you get at least three hours for set-up and an hour for breakdown. If your vision involves any structural pieces, such as draping, tenting, or hanging floral installations, you’ll need to purchase more time and/or extra days.

6. Any Quirky Rules We Should Be Aware Of?

Every venue comes with its own little rulebook, especially in DC. Are candles romantic mood-setters or fire hazards? Can your band rock out until the wee hours, or is there a bedtime curfew? Does the historic site forbid red wine to preserve their pristine marble floors? Do women need to wear heel caps in certain areas? It’s better to know now than to find out after you’ve signed on the dotted line.

7. Accessibility: Can Grandma Get Down Without Getting Stuck?

Remember, not all guests are going to be able to navigate a historic museum like they’re auditioning for ‘Ninja Warrior’. Ask about accessibility. Are there ramps, elevators, or at least some strong, willing ushers who can manage a wheelchair? Ensure everyone can enjoy the festivities, from your flower-toting niece to your dancefloor-loving grandpa.


And there you have it—a venue touring cheat sheet that’ll make sure you’re asking all the right questions, short of “Can I move in?” Take these queries with you as you explore the verdant vistas and historic haunts of DC, and you’ll be well on your way to securing a venue that’s as perfect as your Pinterest dreams. OR take us along with you, and we’ll ask them for you (wink wink).

Now go forth, my wedding warriors, and may the venue gods be ever in your favor!

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