Wedding Planning: Questions to Ask a Banquet Hall
B efore I became a Banquet Hall Manager at The Allure in LaPorte, I was an independent wedding consultant. Over the years, I’ve seen couples make a host of mistakes when choosing a venue for their wedding reception. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, here is a list of questions to ask a banquet hall when searching for the perfect venue. We always encourage our potential clients to talk the managers at the different facilities you visit to get all the information you need to make informed decisions. It’s an important event!
DO THEY OFFER A TASTING?
Most halls cannot offer a tasting until after you’ve booked. This is fine, as most places reserve tastings for couples who have already booked as part of the planning process. The bride and groom should absolutely have the opportunity to sample a variety of foods as they plan their day, in order to reassure themselves and their families that the quality of the food both in taste and in presentation is what you think it will be! If the facility you are considering does not offer a chance for you to do that I would ask why not.
DO THEY HAVE PACKAGES?
Pricing can be deceiving! Things that are sometimes “added on” include, but are not limited to:
- sales tax
- security guard
- cake cutting fees
- bartender fees
- set up and tear down
- room rental
- linen rentals (especially white vs. color)
- refundable and non-refundable deposits
Some halls offer all of this in their packages, some do not. Ask!
Some key questions to ask are:
- Is the bar open 4 hours or 5 hours?
- Do you get to choose how many bartenders?
- How many servers?
- How will your food come out of the kitchen?
- Does it cost extra if you want to change something?
IS THERE AN ON-SITE COORDINATOR?
All banquet halls have someone in charge. Not all banquet halls have someone in charge that helps you plan your event and is then there for the event. Find out the extent of their planning in advance, so you know who is responsible for what. Some places have an event designer on staff who can do everything from helping with your candles to hooking you up with the area’s best DJ or nail salon. But these services vary greatly from place to place! In short, having your mom need your wedding binder that day is fine if you know that up front. Having her need it and not know it is not. Find out who’s doing what.
IS THERE CEREMONY SPACE?
Many reception venues also have a place for your ceremony, which is very convenient for out-of-town guests and travelers who are perhaps unfamiliar with the area. Consider having your wedding and your party in the same place. Some facilities offer indoor and outdoor areas, so even if you don’t see a gazebo outside ask if they have a space you can use.
IS THERE A PRIVATE ROOM FOR THE BRIDAL PARTY?
It’s becoming more and more popular for either the bride and groom or even the bridal party to request a separate space for their belongings. Many venues are catching on, offering everything from a side room to full-on bridal suites for the bridal party to take advantage of. Some places even throw in a bottle of champagne or an appetizer with the rental of the room…so again if you don’t see it, just ask!
Your wedding reception is the place to let your personality and taste really shine. When your guests arrive they should be walking into a “wow factor…” whether that means a cozy dinner for family and friends or a gala for everyone you know! The size and budget are NOT important…having the food and décor match your expectations IS. So don’t be afraid to ask questions…and happy planning!