The colors, dress, food, band and other details are certainly important, but the reception venue you choose for your wedding really sets the tone for the entire event. To land the best possible venue, ask these questions before you make a decision.

Is there a day-of coordinator?

Weddings are full of details, from the place settings to the playlist. A day-of coordinator makes sure everything flows smoothly and that all the details fall in place throughout the day. You can hire an outside professional, but a coordinator provided by the venue will know the celebration space inside and out.

How many guests can the venue accommodate?

This number will dictate the size of your guest list and is usually based on comfort and fire codes. Some venues also have a minimum guest count that must be met. Select the venue that can comfortably accommodate all your special guests.

What does the site fee include?

What is included in site fees can vary widely. Some venues, for instance, charge thousands of dollars just for the space, while other include table linens, chairs and dishes. Never assume that something is included, and get a clear written list before signing on the dotted line.

How many events does the venue host each day?

Many venues plan two events on the same day. If you are planning a morning wedding, you may feel rushed to get out of the venue before an afternoon party begins. If your party is the second of the day, you may walk into a messy venue with a tired staff.

Does the venue have preferred vendors?

Venues commonly align themselves with preferred vendors, including coordinators, caterers, florists and DJs. Couples may be bound by contract to work only with these vendors or may receive a discount for enlisting their services. Before choosing a venue, investigate the vendors to determine if they are a good match for your needs, preferences and budget.

What types of decorations are permitted?

If you dream of walking down a candle-lit aisle, talk to your venue about your decoration plans before you buy hundreds of tea lights. Many venues have regulations meant to ensure the safety of your guests and the integrity of the building itself. Some prohibit candles, wall hangings or other decorations that may pose a hazard to either your guests or the venue.

How long can the party last?

Five hours is pretty standard for most weddings, accounting for a half-hour ceremony followed by four and a half hours of cocktails, dinner and dancing. If you want to stretch the party longer, your venue may charge a premium for the extra hours. Some venues may also need you to shut down at a certain time to make room for other parties or comply with local ordinances.

Jeremy is a Wedding Consultant working with Trippas White Group in Sydney, Australia. Jeremy has worked with some of the best wedding venues Sydney has to offer, and is always willing to share his top tips for finding the perfect venue for your big day.