Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Interview Questions for your Wedding Reception Facility
When you set up a meeting with a wedding reception facility, bring along an eye witness with you, this could be your wedding planner, maid of honor, father or mother, sister or brother, or a bridesmaid or a close friend. You should try to meet with about 3 or 4 reception facilities before deciding on one. Also the wedding reception facility ideally is within fifteen minutes travel from your ceremony site, but no more than thirty minutes travel. The only exception to this rule if the reception facility place is really exceptional, like a resort and if it's a good drive you should consider some party buses or trolleys to get to it.
Before you meet with a wedding manager or wedding coordinator of a wedding reception facility, us should know what your ballpark budget is for the facility, you should know your target wedding date, and you should have a general idea of the amount of wedding guests you plan to have for your wedding. You also should have in the back of your head if you plan to have a wedding theme and/or color scheme for your wedding.
When you ask the question, how many people the space can hold, make sure you get an answer back that covers spaces for your wedding vendors, such as djs, wedding musicians, and a dance floor and also includes a space for a table for your wedding cake, gift tables, and other tables that you plan to have such as a coffee bar, candy buffet bar, etc.
You need to understand in detail of all the fees, administrative fees, setup fees, food and beverage fees, bartender fees, wait staff fees, valet fees, attendant fees, overtime fees, taxes, and gratuities. Make sure you understand all costs that you will and might incur and make sure there are no surprises. One thing you might really question with a wedding reception facility, can you bring your own bartender and alcohol for the wedding, if you can, very often you can save significant dollars, maybe half or more of what the wedding reception charges.
Check hotels and upscale restaurants or wedding vendors or wedding directories, or ask family or friends for a good bartender, wedding guests expect a top of the line bartender for a wedding and a top of the line bartender means one with a lot of experience. One that knows how to make alcoholic drinks to perfection. You can save a bundle on picking up liquor at a liquor store instead of letting a facility order the liquor. Also, much of the liquor can be returned if not opened or if partly used, make arrangements to provide left over liquor to a special relative. If the wedding reception facility has in house or orders alcoholic drinks for your wedding make sure you go through the list thoroughly to understand what drinks you are allowed to have for your wedding.
Some wedding reception facilities have in-house wedding vendors and require that you must use their "approved" vendors, because they have strict contracts with them. Using approved vendors is not all bad, for often for a vendor that's been approved, in order to get on a list that have shown superior service in the past. If you want a specific wedding vendor, ask the wedding reception facility if you can bring your own, if they aren't on the approved list, ask the venue, how your vendor can get on their list. You never know, you might help a vendor you want get their foot in the door of a valuable venue and help them to expand their business.
Some vendors that reception facilities might have a contract with being on an "approved" list include cake bakeries, florists, event decorators, entertainment companies, musicians, djs, photographers, and videographers. Some wedding venues also have permanent fixtures, such as nautical signs or business displays. You also may have to live with the color of their carpet, color of the wall and pictures on the wall. They may or may not allow special lighting, hanging fabrics, open flames, or other decorative choices.
It's a good idea to have a wedding manager or wedding coordinator that's a good communicator and that you are comfortable working with. You should fully understand exactly what you get for booking with the wedding reception facility, which spaces are under your control such as bathroom facilities, cocktail areas, patio spaces, and coatroom places. Be sure to fully review the contract and have your invited guest looks over the contract too and are a second set of eyes and is your eye witness. Review the reception's website and have the information with you when you are on your interview meeting.
Interview Questions for your Wedding Reception Facility
1-Get a brochure of the wedding reception facility, also get a business card, if not take the name, address, phone number, other contact information such as email or website address?
2-What is the name and phone number and email address of the contact person of the wedding reception facility? is this the same person you will coordinate the wedding with? if not get the contact information of that person as well?
3-Is the wedding reception facility available for your targeted wedding date? if not are you willing to change the wedding date that they can accommodate? if not the interview is over?
4-How many wedding guests can the wedding reception facility accommodate? (be sure to include the space needed for wedding vendors, wedding musicians, djs, dance floor, table for the wedding cake, table for wedding gifts, buffet tables for desserts, candy bar buffets, coffee bars, etc.)
5-How long has the wedding reception facility in business? how many wedding do they handle a year? a month? a week? on our targeted wedding day?
6-Does the wedding reception facility have all the necessary licenses, health permits and insurance?
7-Does the wedding reception offer their own catering? have an approved list of caterers? are we allowed to bring our own caterer?
8-If the wedding reception has their own catering, what type of food do they offer?
9-How is the wedding reception's kitchen setup, what equipment does it have? (stoves, refrigeration, storage, prep tables, sinks, preparation equipment, etc.)
10-Does the wedding reception facility include food consultations/food tastings? if so how do the food appointments work? who is allowed to come? are there fees for the tastings? (the dates and times)
11-How much staff does the wedding reception facility need for our wedding? do they need to hire additional staff for our wedding? what is their staff to wedding guest ratio? how much experience does each of them have?
12-What is the wedding reception facility dress code for the wedding? formal? casual? can we special order color schemed outfits for the staff for the wedding?
13-Do we have an option either a sit down dinner or buffet style seating? if buffet, are servers provided or will it be self served? is there an extra charge for buffet servers?
14-Does the wedding reception facility have a liquor license?
15-Are there any restrictions on liquor being served? what liquor can be served? what type of bar arrangements can there be? can specialty drinks be an option? is wine and beer only be an option? can non-alcohol be an option?
16-Does the wedding reception facility have their own bartender? do they used approved bartenders? can we hire our own bartender for the wedding?
17-Does the wedding reception facility supply their own alcohol? does the reception provide their own wine?beer? champagne? can we bring our own alcohol to the wedding? can we bring our own wine to the wedding? can we bring our own champagne to the wedding?
18-Who supports and prepares the bar with condiments? (ice, sliced fruits, olives, water, drink decorations, soda, bar glasses, drink toothpicks and straws, etc) working with the bartender, can we supply the condiments? does the bar have all the bar glasses needed? must bar glasses need to be rented?
19-How are tips handled at the wedding reception facility for bartenders and wait staff? (the rule at weddings, there should be no tipping allowed and a sign should state the fact in strategic places)
20-Does the wedding reception facility have a wedding cake table away from the wall? (for good picture taking purposes) is there a decorated cake knife available for cutting the cake? is there a cake cutting service provided? will it be part of a basic package? is there a champagne toasting service?
21-Is there a patio or veranda with views available at the wedding reception facility? are we allowed to use it?
22-Is there a ceremony site on premise would we like to use it?
23-What are the setup and breakdown arrangements at the wedding reception facility?
24-What total staffing is provided by the facility? (administrators, coordinators, managers, bartenders, wait staff, busboys, attendants, valets, other), what additional staff will be needed?
25-How long can a wedding reception be? is there a limitation on the hours? does it have to be finished at a certain time? is there a time the wedding reception must be closed? is there a noise restriction at the wedding facility? are there any restrictions?
26-Are there any other weddings happening the day of our wedding at the facility? during our wedding? before our wedding? after our wedding? are any other weddings causing restrictions?
27-How much parking is available for our wedding guests? how far must our wedding guests walk? is security needed? is there a fee for security? is valet services needed? is there a fee for valet? is there a bus stop, train depot, shuttle stop nearby? is there a charge for parking? is there an attendant needed? is there a fee for attendants? (wedding guests should not pay any fees what so ever, if there are fees the wedding couple should cover them beforehand, no tipping is allowed either, signs should be strategically placed stating no tipping allowed)
28-Is there a seating plan template available for the wedding reception facility, may we use it?
29-Does the wedding reception facility offer a wedding cake? if so what size (how many people)? can we see pictures of wedding cakes offered? can we design the wedding cake? can we bring our own wedding cake?
30-Does the wedding reception facility provide flowers or a decorator? can we decorate using a florist, event planner, or decorator? what are the restrictions on decorating? are there pictures of centerpieces that can be allowed? are open flames allowed? is Christmas lighting allowed? are flood light decorations allowed? are hanging fabrics allowed? are we allowed to design and bring in our own centerpieces?
31-How much setup time does the wedding reception facility allow? (night before, early in the morning. 2 hours before the reception)
32-What are the table and chair options for the facility? can we see them? might we need to rent more?
33-What linen options are there for the wedding reception? what colors are available? can we rent our own linens? might we need to rent more?
34-What are our china, dish, flatware, glassware options for the facility? can we see them? might we need to rent more?
35-What cups and saucers are available to serve coffee? what dessert dishes are available? what additional table needs are available (sugars, salt and pepper, butter plates, etc.
36-What additional buffet tables are needed? (coffee, dessert buffets, candy buffet bars, chocolate fountain, ice sculpture, etc.)
37-What are the options for a head (dais) table? will a special table or raised platform be needed?
38-What serving and preparation equipment is available? will we need more equipment, serving bowls, chafing dishes, serving utensils? (note: many of the serving equipment might not be known until after meeting with the caterer, it's a good idea to know though what the wedding reception facility has available if needed and what may need to be rented)
39-Does the wedding reception facility have and require you to use their own photographers? is there a pool of photographers to choose from? are the photographer from an "approved" list? can we bring our own?
40-Does the wedding reception facility have and require you to use their own videographers? is there a pool of videographers to choose from? are the videographers from an "approved" list? can we bring our own?
41-Does the wedding reception facility have and require you to use their own dj? are there djs to choose from? are djs from an "appoved" list? can we bring our own?
42-Does the wedding reception facility have and require you to use their own wedding musicians? are the wedding musicians from an "approved" list? can we bring our own?
43-Is there a good location for the dj to be setup? is there a good place for wedding musicians to be set up? how many musicians can the wedding reception facility handle? are dance bands and string quartets allowed at the facility? are there any types of wedding musicans allowed? is there a place for electrical outlets or additional ampage if wedding musicians need it? how many electrical outlets are available? is a sound engineer or an electrician available? how far in advance can djs and wedding musicians can start setting up before the wedding?
44-Where would the lighting controls be for the wedding reception facility? can we add flood lights or any special lighting? is there an electrician available?
45-Is there a dance floor available? how much square footage does it cover? can we bring our own dance floor?
46-Does the wedding reception facility have a list of recommended wedding vendors? may we use them still if we don't book with you?
47-Are there any other wedding vendors or services that have not been mentioned?
48-Is there a changing room for the bride? for other members of the bridal party?
49-How many restrooms are there? what are their condition?
50-Are there pictures of other weddings that we can take a look at?
51-Are there picturesque locations for photo ops? inside? outside?
52-Is there an outdoor location for wedding guests to talk with less noise? what about an inside location to talk with less noise?
53-Is smoking allowed at the wedding reception facility, if not is there a smoking area at the facility?
54-Is there a special location for a cocktail hour before the wedding? what hors d'oeuvres are allowed to be served? (may not know until meeting with caterer) what drinks are allowed in the cocktail area? what seating is allowed in the cocktail area? (high tables with stools? may need comfortable seating for seniors who may have a need to get off their feet)
55-Does the facility have a space for a receiving line? table and location for a wedding guest book sign-in? a place for a slideshow? a location for a photo booth and a prop table? a table to setup place cards? a table to place growing up pictures?
56-Is there, can there be a cloak room?
57-Does the wedding reception facility have heating? what type of heat? air conditioning? do we have control of the thermostat? are there fees for control?
58-Does the facility have/offer audio/visual equipment?
59-Can we get a walk-thru of the entire wedding reception facility that we have control during the wedding? (include kitchen, reception area, cocktail area, hall spaces, outdoor spaces, bathrooms, etc.) (take pictures if you are allowed to show family)
60-Can we stop by and see the facility right before it's used for another wedding to review spacing and for decoration ideas?
61-Is there a special plan to feed wedding guest children?
62-Is there a special plan to feed wedding vendors? (photographers, djs, musicians, officiants, etc)
63-Can the facility provide special meals for wedding guests on a restrictive diet?
64-Is the wedding reception facility setup to handle handicapped individuals?
65-If rentals are required does the wedding reception facility have a rental service company they recommend?
66-Any special things needed to be done for a dance band?
67-Are there wedding packages available? what are they? are they optional or required?
68-Can we get a breakdown of all fees? include food and liquor? every fee in detail? includes taxes? includes gratuities? includes potential overtime fees? includes cleanup? who cleans up? what time must the event be cleared? have we counted for all wedding vendors "approved" by the wedding reception facility?
69-Might there be hidden fees? what might they be?
70-How soon must we book to lock in our wedding date? how far in advance does the wedding facility book in advance for weddings?
71-If there is a bridal suite accommodation room, ask is a bridal suite included in the package?
72-If accommodations, are there discounts available to our wedding guests? how much are the rooms? what times are the rooms available to us and our guests?
73-When would the deposit be required to reserve the room? when would be the final deposit due? what name should the check be made out to? how much of a deposit is due? how much would the final deposit be? how would overtime be handled check wise?
74-Are we sure every expense has been covered? any additional charges not mentioned?
75-Can we review the contract and take it with us?
76-Do you have three referrals we can contact? (contact at least two, check communication, service, and timeliness)
Questions to ask yourselves?
77-Is the facility have a charming atmosphere, with lots of beauty, has great food and drinks available and can you create a romantic wedding atmosphere?
78-How were the communication skills of the wedding manager or wedding coordinator? is the person someone you feel would be comfortable dealing with?
79-How far from the bride's home?
80-How far from the wedding ceremony site?
81-How far from wedding guest's hotels?
82-Can the venue handle comfortably the amount of wedding guests? (You don't want the venue to be too crowded or too empty, the atmosphere needs to be perfect)
83-Can you decorate the facility in the way you would like?
84-Can the wedding facility handle the music you want?
85-Does the wedding reception facility within your budget (if the wedding reception offers a number of services such as wedding cake, catering, photographers, musicians, don't forget to bundle services in your budget)
86-Are there any restrictions that might cause a problem?
The questions are a starting point, use them to aid you, make adjustments to your interview questions list, add other questions if they aren't being covered or subtract ones that don't apply to your situation. If you have trouble deciding over a number of wedding reception facilities, you might want to score them, a post was written about scoring wedding venues a number of posts back. Don't let the wedding venue force your decision, review all wedding reception facilities you want to interview before making your final decision. A discount offered for today only, will likely still be there for about a week.
Review the contract thoroughly, make sure everything verbally agreed to is covered and don't forget to bring someone along to help you out and to serve as a witness. If there is food tasting, take advantage of the food tasting and make a party out of it and invite along close friends if allowed. Once you make a final decision on what wedding reception facility you are going to go with, after you book, contact the others to let them know of your decision. (you don't want to cause the venue to lose an opportunity to book another wedding slotted just for you).
Hope the questions are of help, have a wonderful wedding!
See you on the other side!