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Questions to ask your Reception Site

Come equipped with the questions you need answered before booking your wedding reception.

Here is what you will need to find out from your reception site manager:

What are the Costs to Host Your Wedding Reception?

First and foremost—you will need to determine the cost of holding your wedding reception at the site. Sounds like a given, right? You will discover that most reception sites break down their costs differently, and what may seem to be less expensive may wind up more costly once all of the figures are totaled. Avoid confusion by requesting an itemized list of fees—or take this one with you—and tally the costs of each fee and service you will most likely use for your event. (Have an idea of your guest count beforehand—this will influence the estimated costs) Then you can compare your lists to accurately determine which site is the most cost effective for your needs.

Already confused? Not to worry—we have compiled a complete list of typical costs and fees charged by wedding reception sites. If the facility does not provide one of these services, such as an onsite caterer, factor in the estimated cost of contracting the service from an outside vendor when tallying your total expenses (this guide to wedding rentals will help you manage and keep track of any items that you must supply on your own).

Questions to ask:
What is the facility rental fee?

What is the cost—for food? (sites typically offer more than one menu package; determine which menu package you will most likely utilize for your wedding reception—and use that amount in determining your estimate.)

What is the cost—for beverage? (save time by having an idea of what beverage package you would like to serve, whether a full bar, limited bar or non-alcoholic bar)

If you can hold your ceremony on site, what is the ceremony fee?

What is the set-up/break-down fee? (some sites charge per chair, others charge a lump sum)

What is the staffing fee? (including bartenders, waiters etc.)

What is the overtime fee?

Is there a fee for security personnel?

Is there a fee for parking or valets?

What Wedding Packages are Available?
Just when you think you’ve got a handle on the costs involved in renting a reception site, a facility offers a complete wedding package. Wedding packages can be both cost-effective and convenient, as long as you take care to inquire about exactly what is and what is not included in the package.

Also remember to inquire about the exact descriptions of the items included in the package. For instance—if you have your heart set on an elaborately adorned 5 tiered fondant cake and the package only offers your basic buttercream—the package may not be for you - no matter what the potential savings.

Ask the site manager:
What is included in the wedding package? Make sure all the basics are included:

Facility Rental?
Food and Beverage?
Ceremony on site?
Set up and Break down?
Other items that may or may not be included:

Cake? (if so, how many does it serve? Can you customize the design?)
Flowers? (does the package include all floral, or just buffet arrangements or bouquets? Can you customize the arrangements or do they only come in standard varieties?)
Linens? (what do they look like? How many?)
Is purchasing the wedding package a requirement? (Many facilities allow brides the option of purchasing the entire package, purchasing a partial package and eliminating specific items or foregoing the wedding package altogether.)

What Services Does the Wedding Venue Provide?

Determine what essential services the reception site provides and what you must contract from an outside vendor:

Is there an in-house caterer or a list of preferred caterers? If so, are they the exclusive caterers, or can you provide your own?

Are there on-site kitchen facilities? (off-site caterers will charge extra if they have to bring their own stoves and refrigerators)

Does the reception site have a list of recommended vendors? (Access to a list of vendors with working relationships and knowledge of the site will prove extremely beneficial during the planning process. All of the wedding reception sites on have a preferred vendor list!)

Can you hold your ceremony on site? If not, are there suitable locations nearby?

Does the reception site provide staff such as an on-site coordinator, waiters and bartenders?

Does the reception site provide items such as tables, chairs, plates and glasses? (remember, renting these things yourself can drive up costs)

Does the reception site provide adequate parking space or valets? What are the costs involved?

Does the reception site provide on-site security. What are the costs involved?

Does the Reception Site Offer any Added Amenities?

Some important extras that may help you determine the perfect venue for your wedding reception:

Are there changing rooms for the bridal party?

Does the facility provide guest accommodations or are their convenient locations nearby?

Is there a bar area or can one be set up?

Are there picturesque locations for photo opportunities? Both inside and out?

Is there a dance floor?

Are there sufficient restroom facilities?

Is there, or can you set up, a coat room?

Is the facility in a desirable location? Consider the view and any potential noise interruptions. Is it easy to get to? Is it close to any nearby attractions? (keep your guests entertained for the entire weekend!)

What Are The Terms in Booking Your Wedding Reception?

Don’t forget the conditions of the contract! Make sure it meets your needs.

What is the length of the facility rental? Is there an overtime fee if your wedding reception lasts longer?

Do you have use of the entire reception site? If not - what areas can your party use?

What is the deposit and when is the remainder due?

What is the cancellation policy?

Does the site have any music or noise restrictions?

Are there any decorating restrictions?

Will there be another party during, before or after yours? If so, how will this affect your event?