The ceremony forms the core of your wedding day. It’s what you’ll remember years from now, when you look back. What about the reception, though?
While the reception isn’t the marquee event, it’s the kind of party that you can enjoy, rather than worry about. The anxiety of the ceremony is behind you, and it’s time to party. It doesn’t matter if everything doesn’t go like clockwork — it’ll still be great. The bride and groom get to go around together greeting guests, feeling like king and queen for a day, there are toasts, ceremonial dances, and a bunch of perfectly dressed kids getting into trouble. Receptions are special, and they need special venues.
Whatever your budget, there are a few questions that you need answered when you go out to vet wedding reception venues. When you’re armed with definitive answers to pointed questions, nothing can stop you from making the best choice ever. Here’s what you need to ask.
If you’re thinking of a luxury hotel ballroom, a grand banquet hall for dream weddings or other purpose built venues, you will usually get ready figures for how many guests the place has room for. With other multipurpose venues, though, you may find that no one actually knows the numbers. You need to hunt for them. Once you have a number, you need to ask about what kind of wiggle room you have — could you bring in 10 extra guests or so?
Will it be crowded?
It’s important to ask if the venue will be hosting any more events on the day. If it’s a complex with multiple venues, the parking lot and other common areas may have lots of traffic. It may take away from your event. If yours is a daytime reception, you need to find out if there is another event right after. You don’t want to be rushed out at the end.
Get money out of the way
Certainly, you’ll get to see the basic fee structure that every property publishes. Wedding venues are notorious for add-on costs, though. You need to make sure of the absolute figure that you’ll finally be a hook for. It won’t be enough to know what their basic fee is alone, then. You’ll need to ask about all the extras — furniture, table linen, staff, portable bathrooms (both regular and special access), sound equipment, coat check, air-conditioning and parking. Depending on the venue, these items could be extra.
The question of costs and add-ons is often not as simple as it seems. You may learn at a venue that the basic fee structure includes access to the bathrooms, for instance What they may not tell you is that they don’t have enough for the number of guests that you have planned, and you need to rent portable bathrooms.
There’s also the complication of special days and special times. Different venues tend to set out special, discounted days and discounted times. They may also have different policies when it comes to overtime. While some let a little over time slide, others impose costly fees.
Perhaps most important of all, you need to ask about the refund policy. While you wouldn’t dream of canceling, it’s still a huge chunk of money, and you want to be careful. If you cancel, you need to know how much money you get back.
Ask about the catering, the decorations and the wait staff
Some venues allow guests to rent everything on their own from whatever vendor they choose — sound system, decorations, furniture and so on. Others require that you source everything from them. You need to know what the policy is to make sure that you’re comfortable with it. If you need to use staff, DJ, photographer and other services from the venue, you need to make sure that you are satisfied with the quality.
How about the facilities?
You’d want your guests to have plenty of attractively set out space to mingle in. It’s also good idea to have comfortable those for the bride and groom to rest in and get ready and. If possible, rooms for guests coming in from out of town is are always a good idea It doesn’t hurt to ask if there are rooms to rent.
Whatever you learn about each of the wedding reception venues, you want to get it all down in writing. They can be so many details, you can easily forget something important. A written statement is even more important when you finally sign the contract. You do want make sure that no one shortchanges you on your special day.
GUEST BLOGGER: Delia Green has been working as a wedding planner for a number of years and enjoys sharing her ideas online. her insights can be found on a variety of relevant websites.