Nov 30

Reception after the Ceremony Hotel Restaurant – Wedding Preparation

Reception after the Ceremony Hotel Restaurant – Wedding Preparation
Once all the formalities of the ceremony are over, the reception is your time to relax with your guests. Ideally, it should reflect the overall style or theme of your wedding. The two biggest decisions you will make when planning your wedding reception will involve the venue and the food and drink.
□ Decide how many people will attend
• bridal party
• attendants
• official guests
□ Decide whether it will be formal or informal
□ Consider whether you intend to have an evening reception
□ Decide on an appropriate venue
• hotel
• restaurant
• banqueting room
• hall or function room
• at home
• other (riverboat, canal barge, etc.)

Take the following into account:
• number of guests
• budget (set a maximum cost per head)
• theme
• proximity of venue where the ceremony is being held
• time of day
• type of food (sit down meal, fork or finger buffet, barbecue)
• license to consume alcohol
• Provision of entertainment

Hotel, Restaurant or Banqueting Room
This type of venue offers a one-stop solution to all your requirements – catering, service and facilities – thus reducing the amount of organization that is required.
Refer to Checklist 24 ‘Reception – Hotel, Restaurant, Banqueting Room’,

How to Choose a Venue
□ Identify several suitable ones
• personal experience • recommendation • reputation
• advertisement
□ Establish their availability on the date you require
□ Request brochures, sample menus and prices
□ Dine at one or two of them, if possible, looking at these points:
• decor
• atmosphere (formal or relaxed)
• Standard of food and service
• efficiency and friendliness of staff
• value for money
□ Determine what size room(s) you require
□ Establish what bar facilities are available
□ Ascertain the availability and quantity of car parking space
□ Telephone the banqueting or restaurant manager to confirm availability
• date
• time
• room(s) (depending on style of reception and number of guests)
□ Arrange a meeting with the banqueting or restaurant manager to discuss your requirements.

Number of Guests
• Reception
• evening reception
• Ascertain when the final numbers are required
• Enquire whether they offer a wedding package and, if so, what it includes

Hire Charges
• Discuss any hire charges for the room(s)
• Check whether there are any other weddings on the same day
• Enquire whether there is a Charge for exclusive use of the venue, if required Times
• Ascertain whether there will be any time restrictions
• Discuss the timings:
• arrival
• meal
• speeches
• cutting the cake
• evening reception
• buffet
• entertainment
• bar closes
• finish

• Discuss seating arrangements, room layout and position of the cake table
• Determine whether an evening reception will necessitate a different room layout
• Discuss arrangements for decorating the room (balloons, etc.)
• Discuss arrangements if you wish to display your wedding gifts
• Ask whether they can be kept in a safe place before and after the reception
• Advise your delivery and collection arrangements for the gifts
• Enquire about the Provision of a marquee, if required – see ‘Marquees’
• Ask whether a public address system is available for the speeches
• Enquire whether a changing room is available
• Check on cloakroom facilities
• Check whether there is adequate car parking space
• Ascertain whether a room could be available for children to have a rest or as a quiet room
• Check access for any elderly or disabled guests
• Check they have insurance cover for public liability
• Check on availability of overnight accommodation
• yourselves
• guests
• Enquire whether there is a special rate for accommodation

• Discuss whether they will provide the flowers or you will supply your own
• Specify type and color of flowers, if necessary
• Discuss where the flowers will be placed

• Decide on the Provision of canapés or nibbles on arrival
• Finger buffet
• fork buffet
• sit-down meal
• barbecue
• Discuss the menus
• reception
• evening reception
• Select from the set menus or make your own suggestions
• Advise any special dietary requirements, e.g. kosher, vegetarian or allergies
• Request special menu or small portions for children
• Confirm when the wedding cake will arrive and any special serving instructions

• Specify drinks to be served on arrival (Champagne, buck’s fizz, sherry, fruit juice, etc.)
• Select wine – ask if corkage is charged if you are permitted to provide your own wine
• Soft drinks, fruit juice and mineral water
• Champagne or sparkling wine served with the cake
• Liqueurs, brandy, port served with the coffee
• Specify when you would like drinks to be served and in what quantity
• Bar facilities – specify Provision of free drinks or pay bar

• Establish the proposed number of serving and bar staff to be provided
• Ascertain whether they can arrange a Master of Ceremonies or Toastmaster, if required (the Duty Manager may be able to perform this task)
• Discuss handing out of bridal favors, e.g. sugared almonds
• Check whether they provide cloakroom staff

• State preferred color of the tablecloths and napkins
• Request candelabra and specify the color of the candles, if required
• Enquire whether they can provide a cake-stand and knife

• Establish whether entertainment is permitted
• If so, discuss your plans for a disco, live band, entertainment – see ‘Entertainment’
• Check on lighting, power supply and changing facilities
• Discuss background music or musicians playing during the meal, if required
• Consider providing entertainment for any children, e.g. a clown, magician, puppet theatre or a video, and the availability of a room

• Discuss the estimated cost and ascertain whether VAT and service Charge have been included in the prices
• Request a detailed estimate in writing
• Confirm acceptance in writing and enclose the required deposit

Overnight Accommodation
• Reserve rooms, as appropriate • yourselves • guests

One week before
• Telephone or call round to check the final arrangements
• Confirm final numbers
• Provide seating plan and place name cards


Checklist 24 Reception –

Hotel, Restaurant or
Banqueting Hall
Telephone Fax
Email Website
No. of Guests
Day Adults Children Total
Evening Adults Children Total
Details of package
Hire Charges
Room(s) £
Exclusive use Cost £
Arrival Evening reception
Meal Entertainment
Speeches Bar closes
Cutting the cake Finish
Room layout
Seating arrangements
Display of gifts

Checklist 24 Reception – Hotel, Restaurant or Banqueting Hall (Cont.)


Public address System Changing room Cloakroom/toilets Car parking

Public liability insurance

Overnight accommodation No. of rooms

Cost £
Flowers Cost £

On arrival Menu selection

Cost per head £

Special dietary requirements

Special menu/small portions for children

Evening reception menu selection

Cost per head £ Serving the cake
Total cost £ Cost per head £
Deposit £ Date paid
Balance £ Date paid
Date of confirmation (sent/received)

Checklist 24 Reception – Hotel, Restaurant or
Banqueting Hall (Cont.)
On arrival
Served with the meal Wines
Served with the cake Served with coffee Bar facilities Prices £
Color of tablecloths and napkins

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