Choosing your wedding reception venue

Take your time looking for the ideal location for your special day and ask the right questions

Your wedding reception is an event where all the guests congregate to celebrate their new life as a married couple. This celebration should reflect and complement the formality of the ceremony. The selection of the reception site will depend on the availability, price, proximity to the ceremony venue, and the number of people you are going to invite.

There are two basic types of venues to choose from. The first charges a set price per person which includes the use of the venue, food, tableware, cutlery, etc. For example, hotels, restaurants, and boats. The second type of venue charges to hire the venue and you are responsible for providing food, drink, table linen, and perhaps even tables and chairs. For example, social clubs, church halls, parks, museums and private houses.

The advantage of the first type is that most of the work is not done by yourself, rather by the venue’s hospitality team. The disadvantage is that your choice of food, tableware, and table linen is more limited. In general, you are not allowed to contract an outside catering service and you have to choose from a predetermined menu.


Private houses, gardens, hotels, clubs, restaurants, halls, parks, museums, and yachts are some of the most popular reception venues.


When comparing the cost of different venues, think about the cost of renting the venue itself, food, drink, parking, gratuities, and renting equipment such as tables, chairs, cutlery, etc. If you are planning an open-air reception, make sure there is a covered space that you can use in the event of rain.


Some hotels are well-known for double bookings. Some brides have reserved the largest or most elegant room in a hotel for their reception, only to later discover that the hotel has taken the liberty of offering it to others who are perhaps willing to pay more, and the first bride ends up having her reception moved to a smaller or less elegant room.

Also beware of hotels that book events too close to one another. You don’t want to have your guests waiting outside while the previous wedding reception finishes. And you don’t want to be “booted out” before you finish your celebration because the hotel needs to clean up ready for the next reception.

Try to get a written document from the hotel which includes the exact times that the venue is available for your use and the name of the room you are going to be using.


• What is the name of the venue?
• What is the exact address?
• What is the name and telephone number of the contact person?
• On which date and times is the venue available?
• What is the maximum number of seated guests?
• What is the maximum number of guests for a cocktail party-type reception?
• What is the price to hire the venue?
• What is the price range for a seated lunch?
• What is the price range for a lunch buffet?
• What is the price range for a seated buffet?
• What is the price range for a buffet dinner?
• What is the corkage fee and/or cake-cutting fee?
• How much time will the venue be available?
• What music is available? Are there any restrictions?
champagne-and-cake• Are there any restrictions on alcohol?
• Are there restrictions on throwing rice or rose petals?
• Which rooms and table decorations are available?
• Is it possible to change rooms if guest numbers change?
• Is there disabled access?
• Is a dance floor included in the price?
• Are tables, chairs and table linen included in the price?
• Is an outside catering service permitted?
• Are there kitchen facilities for outside caterers?
• Is the venue insured?
• Are there any special gifts for the couple, like a free honeymoon suite?
• How many parking spaces are available for my wedding party and guests?
• What is the cost of parking, if any?
• What is the cost of hotel rooms, if they are available?
• What are the payment terms?
• What is the cancellation policy?
• Are credit cards accepted?
• What is the name of the catering service?
• What is the address of the catering service?
• What is the name and telephone number of the contact person?
• How many years has the company been operating?
• What percentage of the company is dedicated to weddings?
• Do you have civil responsibility insurance? Do you have an alcohol license?
• When do you need the final number of guests?
• What is the ratio of wait staff in relation to the guests?
• What do the wait staff wear for weddings?
• How much do you anticipate for gratuities?
• What is your rate for a bar service?
• Do you charge for cleaning after the reception?

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