Reception Venue Questions

Having thought through your Reception Choices, you can start looking for the right venue for your wedding reception. I recently read a forum topic that had a collection of questions to ask your reception venue and thought that they made up a useful list of points to consider when you are talking to a venue. Some of these will be obvious but some you may not have thought of.

Booking questions

  • What is the minimum and maximum number of guests for the venue?
  • Is there an extra charge if the minimum number is not meet?
  • When do we need to provide final numbers?
  • What happens if more guests come after we provide final numbers?
  • What is your payment policy?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • Is there a surcharge for credit card payments?
  • What is the recommended finish time?
  • Is there a must finish time?
  • Is there an overtime charge?
  • What does the room rental include?
  • Can you tailor a package to suit our needs?
  • Is there a discount for items included in a package that we don’t require?
  • Is there a clean-up fee?
  • Is a damage deposit required and is it refundable?
  • Can more than one reception be on at the same time and will it effect our reception?
  • Are there any events going on the same time that could make parking difficult?
  • Will the function coordinator I meet with be handling my reception and will they be available for the entire function?
  • Are you able to pencil in our date now, how long will you hold a pencilled in date and will you contact us if someone is interested in our date?

Set-up questions

  • Do you have a set table arrangement or can we arrange the tables to meet our requirements?
  • What size and shape of tables are available?
  • Can we arrange someone from outside to provide decorations?
  • Do you set up the place-cards/centrepieces or do we arrange someone to do it?
  • Is there a certain time that decorations have to be removed by?
  • Where does the DJ/Band set up?
  • Is there any restriction on the size or type of equipment used?
  • Are there restrictions on the style and volume of music played?
  • What time can they enter the premises to set up their equipment?
  • Is a microphone provided for speeches?
  • Is the microphone attached to a lecture stand or is it cordless?
  • Is the gift table and cake table in a secure position?
  • Is there a dance floor and what size is it?
  • If we want to make the dance floor larger, is there a charge?
  • Is there a room set aside for the bridal party while guests are milling around?
  • If a room is provided, how large is the room and is it lockable?
  • Will our guests be directed to their seats or do they read a seating chart?
  • If a family member contacts the wedding co-ordinator to make some last minutes changes, will you make the changes, or do these changes need to be requested by the bride and groom? (There are two reasons for this question, the first is to stop meddling relatives from making changes that you don’t want, the second is it allows you to know if you can delegate tasks to other people.)

    Food and Beverage questions

    • Is the cost of food and drinks subject to price increases after we book?
    • If so, how often do prices increase and what is the likely increase?
    • Are we able to taste the menu?
    • Are canapes included during pre-dinner drinks or are they extra?
    • How flexible is the menu?
    • Can you cater for special dietary requirements and how?
    • Are the drinks table service or bar service?
    • Are children’s meals available?
    • Are meals provided for the photographer, videographer, or musicians at a discounted rate?
    • How long after the bridal party arrives does the food get served?
    • Can we have a certain type of drink package available to the bridal party and different type of drink package available to the other guests?
    • Do you provide complimentary tea and coffee after desert is served?
    • Is there a cake cutting fee?
    • We are looking at cupcakes. Does the cake cutting fee apply to cupcakes?
    • What happens to the leftover cake?
    • Is a knife provided to cut the cake or are we required to provide the knife?

    Other points to consider when looking at venues:

    • Is there access for the people with disabilities or elderly relatives?
    • Is there an area for guests  between the ceremony and reception?
    • Where would predinner drinks be served?
    • Does the venue and surrounds look attractive?
    • Does the venue have places to take photos?
    • How often are the gardens mowed and watered?
    • Will they be tended the day of or before my wedding?
    • Are the outdoor areas brightly lit?
    • Are there enough toilets and what do they look like?
    • Is there anything that could be dangerous for children? (eg. ponds)
    • Is there adequate parking near the venue?

    Some of these questions may not be relevant for you and they will vary depending on your guest list. The important point is to find out the answers and have all of the relevant points in writing, especially pricing and changes to standard booking forms. This gives you a solid footing if anything is not happening as you imagined.

    If you have a question you think that we have missed, please post it as a comment, you may help another bride.

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