Every bride and groom would love to hear that theirs was the most beautiful, most unique, or most fun reception ever! With time spent on creativity and planning, you can easily have them saying all three. But behind those statements are the detail; food selection, service staff, seating charts, and more. There are countless options available and questions to ask. The key to serving up the ultimate reception is the organization of these options and questions; know what you are looking for, what you ultimately want, and what is available to you and from where.
Use these 20 questions to find the perfect venue for your wedding reception:
What is the approximate cost per guest for a seated dinner vs. buffet style dinner? What is the approximate cost for a cocktail reception for your guests? What is the approximate cost for an open bar for your guests? Be sure to get a clear explanation of what these costs include such as menu items, servers, bar tenders, etc.
Do they staff the event based on your number of guests, and what is the ratio of servers/staff to guests? Make sure they will provide adequate staffing, typically 1 server per 8-10 guests for a seated dinner.
Do they have a limited or previously set menu, or can you modify it to your liking? Be sure to tell them your ideas for the menu. If you are aware of guest menu restrictions and food allergies, be sure to ask about accommodations early.
How long prior to your wedding will they need a final head count? Make sure you are both clear of this deadline.
Do they offer menu tastings, or allow viewing of their work at a different event? Most offer tastings, make sure book an appointment to taste.
What services do they provide? What services should you secure elsewhere, and how do they coordinate with the services that they do not provide? For example, do they supply tables, linens, and place settings.
What is the rental charge for items such as linens and china, and can you see them and provide input on which ones they use at your reception? Ask if you can combine their rental supplies with your own decorations.
What are the drinks provided by the venue? Include questions about non-alcoholic beverages including water, soda, coffee, juices, and mixers for the bar, as well as if they provide the alcohol. Ask about any additional fees such as corkage fees for champagne.
Is it ok to supply outside items yourself, such as your wedding cake or pastries and treats? Be sure to discuss delivery, set-up and display of these items as well as cutting or service fees.
When and how will each food be served? Discuss the particulars of the serving of hors d’oeuvres, the meal, and your dessert or wedding cake.
Do they allow for the feeding of your service providers such as your photographer and DJ, and are you required to include them in your head count? Many venues offer vendor meal options for discounted meals for your providers?
Are there a minimum/maximum number of guests that you must have to secure the event? Ask if there are alternatives to having a specific number of guests. Some venues will allow you to meet a minimum dollar amount rather than guest count.
Can your venue provide you with a maximum price per guest on anticipated meal cost to account for fluctuation in food costs? Get this number in writing. Have your hall provide you with a list of any and all additional fees you should be prepared to pay. (For example, cake cutting, corkage, or administrative fees.)
What is there payment policy? What forms of payment do they request, such as cash, check, or credit cards? What is their policy on tipping the staff, and is it included in your price? Include all these numbers in your reception budget.
How many hours are included in your package price? Do they charge an overtime fee and what is it? What is their cancellation fee? Again, get these numbers in writing.
Is there a private room available for use as a dressing room? This is a great perk for your wedding party.
Is the hall is accessible to disabled or elderly guests. Make sure you venue accommodates for all your guests’ needs.
Is there an additional fee for a dance floor? What is the size and cost of the dance floor? Ask for advice for how your guests will fit on it.
Is it possible to have the ceremony at the hall? What is the cost? This could be a great way to save on your budget.
Are there any discounts for booking the hall on an alternative day such as a Friday or Sunday? Many brides are using this alternative.’