@peterpotamus: I have a HUGE list!
– capacity (some places have minimum and maximum numbers. If there is a min, will you make it? If there is a mx, how firrm is the max? Will your numbers reach that high?)
-if you need outside licencing (noise, liquor, etc)
-price (hehe yeahhh that sucks)
-is a Day of Coordinator or wedding coordinater able to help you plan, set up, take down?
-what time can you be at the venue and what time do you have to leave
-what is included in their venue? Is it bare bones (literally just the room), is there rentals included (chairs? tables? linens? what about cutlery, etc), or is it inclusive (catering too!) The venue I am at can hold 200 people but has 125 chairs, so don’t forget to look into that as well.
-ask them about typical room set ups. Where would the dance floor be? What about the bar? Head table? Late night snack? Presents and favours?
-is there something your sister is SET on? I, for example, really wanted candles and my mom wanted confetti. Most venues have restrictions on these items. Find out what decor is a big no.
– parking. I went to a wedding once and we parked in the middle of a field because there were 300 people plus two other weddings and a parking lot for 150 cars. Frustrating.
-if you are doing the ceremony there as well, or plan on having the reception outside, what is the rain plan?
-who sets up the venue? Who cleans up the venue?
-do you HAVE TO use some of their vendors? Some places require you use their caterer, DJ, etc. Related: do they have a list of recommended vendors who know the venue well? (I am paying an extra $500 for my DJ because he has done my venue so many times that it is second-nature for set up, acoustics, etc).
-Pictures! If your photographer is taking pictures at the reception of the bride and groom, where would you take them? Again, if it rains, then where?
– what time do you need your guests to leave? Your clean up people to leave?
-what happens with garbage?
-where do vendors drop off items like cake, flowers, etc? Can they be dropped off the night before (if you are DIYing items this is much nicer!) or do they have to be dropped off the day of?
-how many weddings will be occuring at once? Some people don’t care, but do you want 3-4 weddings at once?
-will someone be on site if there is a problem (i.e. power goes off, something breaks, etc)? If not, can you contact someone and how long will it be to help them?
-is there someone the bride and groom can ‘escape’ if they need a moment away from the crowd?
Hope this helped a bit!