Your reception site is the most influential in determining the overall mood, theme, and atmosphere of your wedding. You want to select a reception site that matches your individual style, taste, and budget. This is not an easy task and can certainly require a significant amount of time and effort.
Keep in mind that many popular reception sites book up a year or more in advance. So, if you have a particular reception site or certain date in mind, don’t wait!
LIST OF POTENTIAL SITES:
- Reception Hall or Banquet facility
- Art Gallery
- Country Club
- University or College Facility
- Botanical Garden
- Inn or Bed & Breakfast
- Historical Building or Mansion
- Private Home
- National Park
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR RECEPTION FACILITY:
- Size and particulars of the facility. Can the facility comfortably accommodate the size wedding and number of guests you are planning? If you’re planning a large wedding, inquire as to the largest reception the facility has handled. Does it have air conditioning? Is there a room available for the bride to use during the reception to change clothes or just freshen-up?
- Your Wedding Date. Is it available? Ask if there are any other events or weddings booked for that day. Some facilities will only book one wedding a day while others may book two weddings back to back. And of course, large hotels can have many weddings going on simultaneously. Just be sure you know all of the details for the day of your reception.
- The decor of the facility. If you haven’t seen it already, ask to see pictures of the facility as it would be set up for a wedding. Can you make any changes? Make sure that if there are certain decorations that you see now and like, that they will still be available on your wedding date.
- Number of hours. Most receptions last for four or five hours. Ask how many hours you will have for your reception. Some facilities will give you four hours and charge you additionally (sometimes another 10-15 thousands) for every additional hour. Be sure to ask when you must be out of the facility and if there is an additional charge for going over the allotted time.
- Fees and Extra Charges. How much is the total rental fee? And specifically, what does the price include? Ask about the deposit, how much and when is the balance due? If it’s a banquet hall or historic estate, do you have to rent chairs and tables? What about linens and glassware are they included? Is there a cake- cutting fee? What about a corking fee? (When you purchase your own alcohol for the reception, a corking fee is sometimes charged for each bottle of wine opened.)
- Wedding Packages. Ask if they have any “wedding packages”. Sometimes facilities will offer a wedding package including food, flowers, wedding cake and even a limo. Although you limit some of your choices, it can save you lots of time and money!
- Catering and Food Service. If the facility will be providing the food for the wedding, make sure that you’ve had an opportunity to sample the food and talk about menu choices. If you choose a location that requires an outside caterer, ask if you’re required to choose from their approved list or can you choose any caterer?
- Alcohol and Bar Service. Does the facility provide the alcohol and bar service or do you bring your own alcohol? What about bartenders? Are there any restrictions about the type or quantity of alcohol that can be served? Do they require a cash bar or is open bar an option? Ask about their liability insurance and if it is sufficient for your size wedding.
- Entertainment. Make sure the dance floor is big enough to accommodate your guests. Ask the facility manager to show you where the band or DJ would set up their equipment. Make sure the facility can accommodate them adequately.
- Restrictions. Ask if there are any restrictions in regards to using the facility. For instance, some historic estates have certain restrictions or rules regarding smoking, lit candles, live music and alcohol.
- Overnight accommodations. Ask if the facility has overnight accommodations for your out-of-town guests. If it is a hotel, can you reserve a block of rooms at a discounted rate?
- Wedding coordinator. Ask about a wedding coordinator. Some facilities will have a Wedding Day Coordinator on staff and at no extra charge. The Coordinator keeps the wedding on schedule and is “the person” for the caterer, DJ/band, florist, or even the bride to go to if they have questions.