If you haven’t picked up on it already, there is a lot (and I do mean A LOT) that goes into planning your dream wedding. And while many brides feel like they have a good handle on everything they need to ask and know about their vendors, many questions tend to slip through the cracks of their mind or get lost in navigating the fine print of all those long and tedious contracts. One of the most important vendors when it comes to asking questions about your event will, of course, be your venue! After all, your venue will hold the key to what you can and cannot for your big day. Because there is so much to remember when meeting with your venue contact, I spoke with Dana Hart, President of Knoxville’s elegant and unique venue the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, to find out some of the questions brides often forget to ask when attempting to read between the lines of their contract. Read on for Dana’s fantastic advice!

Couple's grand exit with sparklers at Knoxville venue the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

1. What will the sound level be like at the time of your wedding?

The question of sound level really brings up two potential issues. First, Dana suggests that a bride ask about the general noise level of the venue during the time of her event. This will especially be a factor if you are choosing a more public venue, an outdoor venue, or a venue that hosts multiple events in multiple locations on site. On the flip side, brides should ask if there are stipulations for noise levels to ensure that they do not exceed any specific noise limits. This can help avoid not only complaints, but also potential fines.Wedding guests dancing at Tennessee wedding reception


2. Do you have access to temperature controls?

No bride wants to be sweating through her wedding gown as she dances the night away at her reception. Nor does she want to be shivering and covered in goose bumps! That is why it is important for brides to inquire whether the specific spaces rented have separate temperature controls to help accommodate the number of people filling the space.


3. What does the lawn care look like?

If you are having an outdoor venue, this may seem like a no-brainer. However, it is a great question for indoor venues as well. Many brides will want to take outdoor pictures at their ceremony and/or reception site, so Dana encourages brides to check with their venue to see what the premises will look like during the season of the wedding.


4. Your venue may provide tables, chairs and/or linens, but what do they look like?

Utilizing your venue’s offerings is key to saving your budget and really taking full advantage of what you’re paying for, but just because they offer it doesn’t mean you have to use it. While it is a fabulous bonus if your venue provides tables, chairs and linens, Dana reminds brides to ask the venue to see these items prior to the wedding. This way, if what is provided does not match your vision, you still have time to pick some out from a local rental company.

Sparkler studded grand exit at a Tennessee wedding


5. What is included on the “Do Not Allow” list?

Like I said, essentially, your venue dictates many aspects of what you can and cannot do at your wedding. So, if you dreamed of a grand evening exit flanked with sparklers or an aisle lined with rose petals, you should check with your venue to see what is and is not allowed when it comes to specifics that could affect the venue.


6. Are taxes and gratuity included?

Brides, especially those that are budget conscious, always remember to find out what fees are included in their venue contract. No one wants to get slapped with fees they were unaware of. But Dana also reminds brides to check their contract for included taxes and gratuities. Otherwise, you could mistakenly pay these twice if you’re not careful!


7. Are there other events that will be taking place at the venue during your wedding?

I already mentioned the importance of noise levels if other events are taking place on location during your wedding. However, other events scheduled at your venue, not only during your wedding and/or reception, but really also on the day of or even weekend of, can affect your entire wedding-day schedule, when you can set up, and what areas your guests will have access to.


8. Do they charge for set up and break down?

One potential fee that brides do forget to consider depends on whether or not their venue charges for set up and break down. While this is a service that not every venue offers, it is definitely a convenient perk. But that perk will most likely come with a price (and not one that you will want to find out about after the fact!).

Newlywed couple posing in front of statue at Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee.

9. Can you bring items in early or pick them up after the wedding date?

The day of your wedding will be busy enough as it is! So, brides should check with their venue to find out if they can bring items before the wedding day in order to cut down on unloading time. Also, being able to pick up decor and rentals the following day allows the bride and her family to enjoy the end of the evening, rather than breaking a sweat as they hurry to pack everything up.


10. How accessible are parking, restrooms, etc.?

Brides need to make sure that their venue is easily accessible and highly functional in a variety of ways. Prior to the wedding, Dana advises brides to detail parking arrangements, available bathrooms, handicap access, etc. for the event. You will want to make sure that you have all the means to accommodate your guests.

Dana Hart, President of Knoxville's Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

Dana Hart has been with the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame for 11 years as Director of Sales, Vice-President and currently as President of the Organization. She has a B.S. Degree in Business Management with a minor in Fashion/Interior Design from Stephens College. Dana has worked in business development with an international company for 6 years and with a national retailer in management for 13 years. She has also worked on numerous events from weddings, proms, corporate events to national events with the Tip-Off Classic and WBHOF Induction Weekend. Most importantly, when working with her brides, she listens to what their vision is and how she can help create that vision for the bride’s special day.

For more of Dana’s fabulously helpful advice, check out these tips for making a large reception space seem intimate!


Dana and The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame would love to host your elegant Tennessee wedding. For more information, visit their website or connect with them on Facebook. To schedule a tour of the venue, call 865.633.9000. Tell Dana The Pink Bride sent you!


All images courtesy of The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Facebook page.