One of the most worrying things is the reception. The food, the drinks, the wedding cake. Then theres the photographer, the florist and the music. All together, this will give the atmosphere and uniqueness you wish for on your wedding day.
WHAT TO DO FIRST
The first step is to look for a caterer, someone you know or who was recommended to you, who will help you choose the type of banquet you wish. Before confirming the menu make sure that all is as you have required. Make sure about the variety of the food and what you will be paying for. Make the necessary arrangements for any special diet that might be needed by any of your guests. How long can you have the hall for. Do not forget to choose the type of drinks you wish included in the banquet or if it should be a cash bar. Make sure you sign a contract listing everything you have agreed upon, do not forget details such as cutlery, wine glasses (will you have to pay if any are broken?) the number of persons serving the food etc. All this with the respective prices, taxes and tips. It is best to take whatever time is needed to ensure all the details are agreed upon, written up in a contract and signed. Keep a copy for yourself. Try to avoid any unpleasant surprises when it comes time to pay the bill.
THE BANQUET HALL
Before deciding on one visit several, halls to check what each one has to offer you and then make you choice.
If the banquet hall you choose provides catering facilities all the above should be discussed with the manager. Most banquet halls have pictures to give a better idea of what is being discussed. Before you decide, think about what impression each manager had on you. This is important - if you felt welcomed and comfortable with the way he first approached you, it is only natural to think that you guests will feel the same way or even better. Have in mind the kind of food the majority of your guests might enjoy. Get an estimate of the cost so that when the time comes to pay there wont be any discrepancies.
THE DECORATION OF THE HALL
If you decide to contract a decorator or a florist to prepare the decorations, do not forget to mention it to the manager of the hall. In this case it is advisable that the hall manager and the decorator agree in collaborating with each other. Write down all the decorating details on a contract and have it signed by the decorator and give a copy to the hall manager to avoid confusions (eg tablecloths missing on the wedding day, bad colour coordination, no candles etc.) To avoid problems and unpleasant surprises, it is advisable that all the companies working on the preparations can work together and co-operate.
There are several types of wedding receptions you can choose from:
Buffet reception; dinner reception; lunch reception; stand-up reception.
Buffet reception: This type of reception will give your guests the possibility of choosing from the different types of food. It also reduces the number of waiters needed thus reducing the cost in this area.
Dinner reception: Some caterers divide this type of reception in three phases.
For openers they serve some appetizers placing them on small plates which are distributed over the tables or, should you prefer would be served by the waiters as the guests arrive and begin to mingle. They then serve either the soup or the salad, followed by the main course.
Lunch reception: For this type of reception only one type of appetizer is chosen. Then the meal is served, followed by desert and the wedding cake. With this type of service you will be saving almost one third of the cost you would pay for a dinner reception.
Stand-up reception: It is very economical and it is considered very elegant. From 3 to 5/6 p.m. The traditional 5o clock tea is served and there is a table with several types of small appetizers, small sandwiches, cakes, biscuits and the wedding cake.
SETTLING ON THE NUMBER OF GUESTS
When talking to the hall manager it is important to find out the capacity of people the hall will accommodate. Some halls have a set number. For example the hall you are interested on has a sitting arrangement for 200 persons and your guest list shows 175. Some halls might want you to pay for the set number. It is important to clarify this matter.
DETAILS ARE VERY IMPORTANT
When renting the hall, there are small details that must be discussed.
Some halls will be able to offer many different extras, other will not. Plates, cutlery, tablecloths, most halls include these articles in the contract. If you would like extra decorating articles such as artificial water fountain, plants, etc. these are extras the hall might not provide, therefore you would have to rent them from another company. Most halls have catalogs with pictures depicting various table settings and decorating styles, from which you can get an idea of how it would look and the price range. With regards to the drinks, if you are thinking of bringing them yourself, be careful, some halls will charge rent for the bar and you might find out that its not such a good idea. If you are planning on having your wedding reception outdoors make sure the caterer has all the necessary equipment for keeping the food warm. If not choose to have the appetizers served outside and have the main meal indoors.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER AND THE MUSICIANS / DISC JOCKEY
Do not forget to make sure that there will be food for the photographer and the musicians or disc jockey. It should be served during one of their breaks.
Before signing the contract read it over carefully. Some companies will ask you to pay half of the total amount upon closure of the contract. Others will ask for a down payment. Be prepared with cash, cheque or a certified cheque. When reading the contract and before signing, find out what your obligations are such as: Notice of cancellation. Parking (is it included?). Insurance. If you guests drink a bit too much, find out who would be responsible should anything happen.
THE WEDDING CAR
The wedding car, the vehicle in which the bride will be taken to and from the church is a very important detail. Most brides want a classic, well decorated unique vehicle. A special car for a special and unique day. The most commonly chosen is the limousine with all the beauty it has to offer. When dealing with a company which rents cars for weddings, explain in detail what kind of vehicle you would like. If you choose a carriage, make sure they guarantee that you will get one. Lastly, deal with one representative, and let he/she thoroughly understand what you want. This will avoid disappointment. When dealing with a company which rents cars for weddings explain what kind of vehicle you wish. If your choice fall upon a carriage ask for a guarantee that you would get one. If the person you are dealing with seems to be somewhat evasive... look for another company.
NETWORK - WHAT IS IT?
It is a net of car rentals spread out all over the country, which acts as an intermediary with big car rental companies such as the limousine. It means that if the car rental company you are dealing with is a member, they can get you the car you wish through the network if they themselves do not have that specific model. The good name of the Network is directly connected with the honesty of its members. So that all goes well, when booking the limousine make sure you write down in detail the size and the colour you wish and if possible ask them to show you the limousine. Make sure there is a paragraph stating that if on the wedding day a different car than the one you requested is sent you will not pay for the rental. Sign that paragraph. Otherwise... imagine that you signed the contract but left this paragraph unsigned. The car rental company books your limousine through the Network. In the meantime there is another company asking for the same limousine for the same day but offering more money. You guessed it... your limousine would go to the other bride and you would get something else. The company would give some kind of last minute excuse and you would end up having to pay for a car you did not want or even liked. If the paragraph is signed... at least you would not have to pay... The best thing to do is ask the company you are dealing with to show you the car. If they refuse to... Go to another company. Do not leave more than $100 as down payment - if you rent two or more cars leave a $250 down payment. Pay the remaining amount on the wedding day. One of the drivers duty is to keep the car clean. If the driver does a good job it would be very graceful on your part to give a tip.
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