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Wedding Reception Venues Expectations vs Reality

Posted in: Wedding Planning
Wedding Reception Venues Expectations vs Reality

When comparing venues to host your wedding reception, there are some things you should be able to count on, right? Well, that depends. To make sure your expectations for you wedding reception match the reality of what the venue provides and what you need for the size of the party, here’s what you need to know.

When choosing a reception venue, start with the number of people expected to attend the reception (remember, this can vary from the number who will attend the wedding). The church where you are planning to say your vows may be perfect for the wedding ceremony, but is there enough seating in the fellowship hall for all of your guests? Are the restrooms adequate for the number of people? Can you serve alcohol if you choose? How about the perfect outdoor wedding? It’s a beautiful day, but can you rig enough lights for the reception when it get’s dark outside?

Many brides and grooms choose to host the reception at a separate venue from the wedding itself. This option has some benefits and drawbacks. Guests will feel more comfortable leaving after the wedding ceremony if the reception is at a separate location than if the reception is immediately following the ceremony in the same location. Also, don’t be surprised if some guests show up to the reception without having attended the ceremony.  So, at your reception venue, plan for some unnamed seating. In short, don’t assume everyone at the ceremony will show up, and don’t assume that if they weren’t there to see you walk down the aisle they won’t be there for the dancing (or food and drinks).

Some wedding venues are all inclusive; others are more do-it-yourself. Plan not only for how much a venue and it’s amenities will cost, but also plan for the amount of time and help you will have to pull it together. And don’t assume that the venue will provide anything-ask about everything, including tables, chairs, linens, silverware, etc. If they do provide the basics, make sure they provide enough for your guests plus a few. If they have enough silverware for 200 guests and you’re expecting 201, don’t be caught short.

Also, if your venue is already decorated, don’t assume you can re-decorate for your reception. Ask if items can be removed for the reception, or coordinate your decor with theirs, but never rearrange without permission.

Clarify the amount of time you have to set up and the amount of time you have to clean up. Make sure at the front end that the time allowance is adequate for your needs. Also, ask if you will be charged extra if you go over. The reality is that this is how they make money-based on the time that their venue is in use. Don’t be surprised if you are charged for coming back the next day to pick up that tree you placed in the corner for effect, or something accidentally left behind. And don’t be surprised if you receive a charge for any cleanup that wasn’t done according to their written standards. If it’s a popular venue, they have to be prepared for the next event. If you make that difficult for them to do, you will most likely pay for their inconvenience.

If you choose an all-inclusive reception venue, be sure to itemize the costs, even if they offer packaged prices, to be sure you stay within budget with all of your wedding expenses. Make sure you choose all of the amenities you need, and none that you don’t. Don’t assume they know what you want or need–be clear about your expectations.

And no matter what route you go, get it all in writing. I’m not saying they all aren’t wonderful people; however, your wedding is bound to be an exciting, emotional time, which may make you more vulnerable and an easy person to take advantage of. If it’s not in writing, they have you over a barrel when the bill comes.

Expect to have a glorious time, but be prepared for the reality of it all. It’s a big ordeal, and things are bound to happen that you didn’t plan for. But, you can be proactive in the planning stages to try to prevent as much of the unexpected as possible.

For more about wedding planning and some great wedding resources, visit our blog. For an amenities inclusive, suited to your preferences, dream-come-true wedding reception, you won’t be disappointed when you hold your wedding and reception at The Roof Garden on The Strand in Galveston.

About Roof Garden

The Roof Garden is a charming, vintage wedding venue and sophisticated corporate/private event facility located in the heart of The Strand overlooking Galveston’s Historic National Landmark District. Our elegant, signature Galveston architecture creates a warm, inviting atmosphere your guests are sure to enjoy. Learn more about our venue and view facility photos to understand the true essence of the Roof Garden.