Questions to ask when you’re on a site tour for a reception
While there is a lot to ask and consider, here are some of my top questions for a venue. Have questions, feel welcome to contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org
-Will you put out the items I bring in? (place cards, favors, menus, décor, etc.) If they won’t you’ll have to hire a day of coordinator or take a friend/family member out of the fun to take care of it.
-Am I allowed to bring in my own ______? (vendors, décor, alcohol, etc.) If you want to have a bottle of a specific liquor for mom for example. Do you have to use their vendors? Will they let you decorate how you want?
-What restrictions do they have? (Never know until you ask. Some places don’t allow candles, confetti, rose petals, etc.)
-What is the standard that is included with the package? (Do they include linens, chairs, plates, centerpieces, cake, staff, etc.) Can you see pictures of standard items/set ups?
-What additional costs can you expect? Tax and gratuity/service charge are a standard additional charge that most people forget and will add 25% plus onto your bill. Want a screen and projector? Often that’s additional. There may be other items, be sure to ask.
-What size tables do they have? 60” is a comfortable size for 10 guests, 72” is comfortable for 12 guests
-What is the server ratio? For a sit down dinner 1 server per 20 people is a general standard. Less leads to a slower dinner.
-What is the bartender ratio? 1 per 75 – 100 guests is good depending on the type of group you have.
-Is there a space to store items overnight or does everything need to be removed that night? If you have any rental items (glass for centerpieces) or DIY items that will be difficult to pack or move it is usually easier to have them stored overnight and pick them up in the morning. Florists charge a decent amount to come back at midnight to pick up rental items. Most of the time you, your family and/or friends won’t want to be worried about it at the end of the night and the next day is preferable.
-Is there special pricing for vendors, children and teenagers? Vendors with you for the day or during dinner (photographer, planner, videographer, dj, etc.) will usually require a meal. Most places have kids meals at a much lower price. Sometimes you can get a small discount for teens because they don’t have alcohol which is often included in packages.
-Are there any special offers going on? Sometimes you can get a complimentary hors d’oeuvre or linen upgrade – never hurts to ask!
*Be sure to get EVERYTHING in writing. Just because you book with someone doesn’t mean that person will be there for the event or remember everything you discussed.
*If you’re not happy with the standard options, price out what you want and see if your budget can accommodate it. If not, look at other locations or consider compromises.
*Getting an unexpected answer or one you perceive as negative to one of these questions is not necessarily a bad thing. It is just something to be aware of and plan for.