Wedding Reception Planning: Questions to Ask Before Booking

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Before booking your wedding reception, you should gather a list of questions to ask the site manager. Use these suggested questions to get you started:

Ala Carte Reception Costs

Reception sites have different ways of breaking down their costs. Avoid any confusion when comparing wedding reception sites by requesting an itemized list of fees you’ll use for your event. (Tip: Have an idea of your guest count beforehand since your count will influence the estimated costs.) Questions to ask:

  • What is the facility rental fee?
  • What is the food cost?
  • What is the beverage cost?
  • If you want to hold your ceremony at the site, what is the fee?
  • Is there a set-up and breakdown fee?
  • What is the staffing fee?
  • What is the fee for security personnel?
  • Is there a parking/valet fee?
  • What is the overtime fee?

Wedding Packages

Some locations offer wedding packages, which can be both cost-effective and convenient, but make sure to inquire about exactly what’s included and not included in the package. Questions to ask:

  • What basics are included in the wedding package?
  • Is the wedding cake also included? If so, can the design be customized?
  • Does the package include floral arrangements? Can they be customized?
  • Are linens included in the wedding package?

Booking Terms

Make sure that the site contract meets your needs by asking these questions:

  • What is the length of the facility rental?
  • Is there an overtime fee?
  • Will you have use of the entire reception site?
  • What is the deposit?
  • When is the remainder of the fee due?
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • Are there any music or noise restrictions?
  • Does the site have any decorating restrictions?
  • Will there be another party during, before or after yours? If so, how will this affect your event?

Essential Services

Determine which of these services the site provides and which you’ll need to contact on your own. Questions to ask:

  • Is there an in-house caterer? If not, can the site refer you to a caterer? Do they have caterers that are under exclusive contract to the site?
  • Does the reception site have a list of recommended vendors?
  • Can the ceremony be held on site? If not, are there suitable locations nearby?
  • Is an on-site staff available (coordinator, waiters, bartenders, etc.)?
  • Does the site provide tables, chairs, plates, silverware, glasses and other essentials?

Amenities

Some of these important extras may help you determine your perfect venue:

  • Are changing rooms available for the bridal party?
  • Does the site offer guests accommodations?
  • Are there hotels that are convenient to the reception site?
  • Are there on-site locations for photo opportunities?
  • Are there sufficient restroom facilities?
  • Is there a coatroom?
  • Is the facility in a desirable location?
  • Is there adequate parking available?