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Wedding Planning 101: Your Reception

French Quarter courtyard reception. Photo: Jessica The Photographer
Photo: Jessica The Photographer

This will be one of the most elaborate parties you will ever host. Before making your final choice, ask yourself if this location fits your wedding style. Is it within your established budget? If not, are you willing to compromise your budget to secure the location?

When planning an event of any kind, always remember to read contracts carefully before signing and ask lots of questions to make sure you’re clear about your vendors’ policies and contract terms. Always make sure that all details are in writing, signed by both parties.



1. May we see references and photographs of other receptions held here?

2. May we tour the area? Are there any specific restrictions?

3. How far in advance must reservations be made? When do you need the final guest count?

4. Are there specific minimums we must meet?

5. What area/rooms are available? How early can we set up? How late can we stay?

6. What is the maximum capacity, both seated and standing?

7. Is there a dressing room our wedding party will have access to?

8. Are there enough electrical outlets for our entertainers? Do you provide any type of sound system? Are there any lighting or sound restrictions?

9. How large is the dance floor? Can you provide a stage or raised platform?

10. Do you provide tables, chairs, linens and/or table settings?

11. Do you have a caterer on site? Bar service? Are we required to use the on-site caterer or is an off-site caterer permitted? Will they have access to your kitchen?

12. Who will be the main contact for our baker, florist, caterer, event planner, etc.?

13. Will you provide the serving staff? How many and in what capacity?

14. Can you provide parking valets, coat check and/or door attendants?

15. Do you have any other events scheduled on the day of our wedding?

16. Are you insured for liability? Will you provide security, including the parking lot?

17. What is your rental fee? For how long? Does that include service, catering and/or clean-up?

18. What ADA accommodations are available?

19. What safety precautions are you using to help keep us and our guests safe?

20. What are your payment terms?

21. What is your cancellation policy?

22. Do you have a force majeure clause in your contract? If we are unable to move forward with our original date due to government restrictions or act of God preventing our event, may we move the deposit to a new date? Is there a limit to the number of times we may reschedule/move our deposit? Will there be any fees to move to a new date in these circumstances? What is your policy if we are able to hold the event in some capacity but choose to reschedule due to guest count restrictions? Will your minimum adjust if gathering size restrictions are in place at the time of our event?


Disclaimer: We are not attorneys and don’t claim to be. We have presented the above questions as a guide to help you ask informed questions when planning your event. This list is not comprehensive. Always consult with a licensed attorney for guidance regarding your specific circumstances/individual contracts.

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