How to choose your wedding venue: Tips from an expert

JohnWhat are some of the things couples should consider when they’re searching for a reception venue?

Location, how far is it for people to travel to get there and will you provide transport for venues out of town? What setting do they want, ie. bush setting, waterside, garden, etc. Also the capacity of the venue is important along with flexibility – that is, will the venue be flexible enough to ensure the reception is exactly what the couple want, rather than just what the venue always provides?

How can a bride and groom maximise their time spent when meeting with their reception venue coordinator/caterer?

If the venue has a website or Facebook page look at that first. Make notes and write down any questions you may have. Couples need to have a rough idea of guest numbers and the style of reception they want, ie. three course sit down dinner, cocktail, casual or formal. All couples are different; some want very specific things, while others want to leave most of it up to the venue. If you are wanting very specific things, write these down and communicate these at the first meeting. This allows the venue to be upfront straight away about whether they can accommodate your requirements.

What are some trends you are seeing when it comes to wedding receptions and/or catering?

Cocktail receptions are becoming more popular, making it more of a relaxed event for all parties concerned. Although the three course traditional receptions are still in demand.

How did you get started in the industry?

I love food and wine; it brings people together for all sorts of reasons. I always wanted to have a restaurant so I finally bought one in North Hobart nearly 20 years ago. It was a family-style Italian restaurant that I ran for 16 years as a chef/manager. I then had a couple of years off resting, and now I’m front-of-house and function manager of Cornelian Bay Boathouse so I can experience first-hand customer reaction and feedback.

What is your favourite part about your job?

Firstly the great food and wine we have to experience weekly if not daily. Pleasing people, whether it’s the food, our wine, service and of course, our view. It’s great seeing people enjoy themselves and smiling. That is our main goal; if customers enjoy themselves and the food, they will be back, and when they come back, they are treated as friends.

What is something unique to your service that you are especially proud of?

We offer a la carte service for all our dining packages, not alternative drop as most establishments do. I’ve been to weddings and when food comes out people start swapping meals. We also cater for all dietary needs, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or religious requirements.

What tips would you give to brides and grooms to make their wedding day run more smoothly?

Ensure everyone who has a part in the wedding knows their schedule and what’s required on the day. This includes your MC, photographer, your entertainment, photo booth operators, decorator, florist, etc. Provide your venue with a list of contact names and numbers for all of these people and a schedule/running sheet well ahead of the day. Your MC and entertainment should have a copy of this too. This means that everyone involved knows exactly what the couple expects on the day and that any necessary adjustments can be made beforehand. It’s important for the venue and the MC to communicate during the reception so the bride and groom aren’t bothered about any trivial details.

Most importantly, relax! Is it really the end of the world if your main course is served 10 minutes late, or your speeches run over by five minutes? It’s supposed to be an enjoyable day for the bride and groom, so don’t stress. Trust that everyone involved will do a great job and just make the most of every minute on your wedding day.

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