Choosing a reception venue is a major undertaking and may well be one of the most time-consuming items on your to-do-list. Below are some tips and questions you should be asking when deciding what is best for your special day.
After some research or recommendations from friends, you should have a short list of receptions to consider. Don’t be surprised to finding yourself spending your next few weekends doing nothing but reception hunting!
Choosing a reception venue
Deciding what type of venue will suit your wedding best will be a very personal choice. Despite the obvious factors, what will probably play the biggest role in swaying your decision is the appearance of the venue. Do you like it? Can you see it happening with your wedding night? Is it in line with what you have in mind? Does it create the mood and ambience that you want for the night?
Other contributing factors will be the location of the venue. Is it convenient for you and your guests? How central is it? What are the parking facilities like? Is there off street parking?
If you already have your own theme or colour scheme, make sure the venue can compliment them. What is the décor like? Does it have that classical feel, that Victorian look, or a modern debonair? How many guests can the reception hold? Some places may tell you that they can hold certain numbers, but how comfortably they accommodate these numbers may be another question altogether. You don’t want to have to sacrifice precious dance floor space or cram tables together in order for you to squeeze in the required numbers.
Make sure you are clear on what is included in the package you have selected with the price that is quoted. What will the reception provide for you? What are the cutlery, crockery and glassware like? Is it in line with your own theme? Is this included in the price? Ask what will happen if your wedding runs overtime – are there any fees that might be involved? Are there clean up requirements imposed? What about sound restrictions? Most venues are quite flexible with these issues.
Are the people there easy to work with? Can you feel yourself developing a rapport with them? If possible, speak to those you know who had their wedding there or other industry contacts. They can provide a wealth of valuable information for you.
Of course, one of the most significant components in establishing your choice will be the price. What is the cost of hiring the venue? These days, the hiring of a reception can start from about three and a half thousand dollars to well over ten thousand dollars. This will depend largely on the location and reputation of the venue. What is included with the price? Are there hidden charges? Does the price include GST?
There are also some things you can do to try and cut your costs. The most popular night is also the most expensive night. Saturday will always be the most prevalent, so why not consider a Friday or a Sunday? These nights are usually offered at a discounted price. Also, some receptions have lower prices during their off peak periods. That is, during the traditionally non-busy wedding season prices may be reduced similarly to non-Saturday rates.
Now that you are armed with some knowledge, good luck in your search. Looking for a reception centre is like shopping for a house. Be patient, because with enough research and persistence you should be able to find your one night wedding home.
Booking a reception
You’ve got your heart set on the perfect venue. You’ve had a look around, you’re happy with the responses to your questions, so now it’s just a matter of making it yours.
Most reception centres will allow you to pencil in a date for a certain period of time before you have to confirm with them. You now have a tentative booking until you’ve decided to definitely take the day, pay the deposit, and sign the contract. Be careful not to hold a day for too long as other interested couples may be keen on that date as well, so lock in the date as soon as you find a venue that you like. Once the deposit has been paid and the contract has been signed, the venue for your desired date is now yours. Deposits for reception centres are variable and their payment methods may also differ. Find out what their requirements are. What is their refund policy? Do they have a cancellation policy? Do you need to settle with them prior to the day or can it be fixed up on the same night?
Make sure you know all the important things because even something seemingly small may result in extra charges. For example, is confetti allowed? Do you need to pay for kitchen staff? What happens if you run past your scheduled time? Remember to read all the terms and conditions and make sure you clarify anything that you may be unclear about.
If possible, request that the contract contain an itemised list of everything that is included in the package. Always get everything down in writing and ensure that your contract covers everything that you’ve discussed. Once you’ve booked your reception, it’s just smooth sailing from here onwards.
You can now breathe a sigh of relief and have fun planning the rest of your wedding!