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18 Reception Site Questions to Ask Before Committing

What Questions Should You Ask Site Managers

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9 - 12 Months
Visit & Reserve Wedding & Reception Sites

      Find your location fast. Your choice will define your wedding style and dictate most of your planning decisions. Try to book at least a year in advance for the most popular places, a year and a half (or even two years) is not too early. Also, make sure you have a good idea of the headcount before you begin looking; a site for fifty is completely different from one to five hundred. If your caterer comes with your reception site, make sure you interview them before you make any final decisions. When to start looking at reception space

18 Questions To Ask Reception Site Managers

1. Is the site available on your date (or a date acceptable to you?)
2. How many hours will you have the site? Are there overtime fees and how will it be calculated?
3. Are outside vendors (caterers, florist, etc.) or must you use in-house staff? (Determine if food service is included in your locations contract)
4. Does the site have a liquor license? Can you BYOA
5. Can you see sample floor plans and/or visit when the room is set up for a wedding? Where does the band usually set up, buffet, and so on?
6. What’s the staff-guest ratio? (Use your common sense here - one or two waitstaff can’t manage a wedding of 200 guests)
7. How many people will space comfortably hold ( not just official capacity, which may not consider space for tables, musical equipment, and such?)
8. What will/can the facility provide?
  • Cooking facilities
  • Tables, chairs
  • Linens, dinnerware
  • Dance floor, tent
  • Additional lighting
9. Does the room have adequate outlets (and power) for food-preparation equipment, lighting, and audio needs?
10. Is there adequate lighting? Who will control the lighting during the reception?
11. Are there any restrictions or rules about entertainment, decorations, and such? What about dress code?
12. Are the bathrooms clean? Are there attendants? Do you need to tip them?
13. Is there ample parking? Are there attendants (and do you need to tip them)?
14. Will there be other weddings on the same day or at the same time?
15. Does the site have liability insurance?
16. Will the manager be present to oversee your reception to the end?
17. Ask yourself: Is the manager flexible and willing to accommodate you?
18. If necessary, is there good security (and do you need to tip security people, or vent bring them in yourselves)?

K’Mich Knowledge: Reception Site Tips

What it Costs -
Most sites include catering charge, depending on formality (of the party and the place), type of meal, and locale (city vs. rural area, East or West Coast vs. Midwest). Flat fee for sites you are renting purely as locations can be pretty pricey.

Ways to Save -
Marry in a month other than May/June, August, September, October. Stay away from Saturday night - opt for a Thursday, Friday, or Sunday. Take advantage of your country-club membership or alumni status, or choose a city- or state-run site such as a public park or historic building.

Beware of Home Wedding -
It sounds like a great way to save but renting everything that a hotel or banquet hall would supply can get costly. Also, be sure to consider essentials such as parking, restrooms, a foul-weather plan.

Take Your Time -
It’s critical that your other vendors have the information and access they need to get their job done. Make sure your site manager will let them view the space in advance, as well as give them access as early as they need it on your wedding day.

Weather the Storm -
If your site is outdoors, have an alternative location in mind in case of a blizzard or heat wave.

Ignore Know-It-Alls -
If you want to pass on being announced or doing the bouquet and garter toss, that’s your choice-don’t let a bouquet manager tell you that you must do things a certain way. On the other hand, if the site manager has overseen lots of weddings, he or she is a valuable source of information about timing and other aspects of the party.

Take Care Regarding Cancellation -
Your reception isn’t likely to get canceled, but you never know. Find out the exact date by which you’d have to cancel your reservation to get your money back.

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