Saturday, January 2, 2010

How to select a Banquet Venue

I realised that after doing so many reviews on the banquet venue, there is nothing written on how to select a dream banquet location.

As this is my experience and feedback gained from previous negotiations, this guide is more appropriate for bride searching for a hotel banquet. That said, I would expect no difference between a wedding lunch or night except for differences in the pricing (cheaper for lunch) and menu. Though, i must qualify i did no such comparision.

Hotel Grading

The grading of the hotel also determine the price of the banquet. 5 star hotels generally cost over >$1,000 or more per table for weekends.

Date of Wedding

This applies on auspicious days as well and unique wedding dates (101010). Prices for banquet is generally increased and less room is available for negotiation be it for more perks or the minimum number of tables.

- no of attendees to the wedding.
This is important as it determines your location. The hotel that suits your seating capacity. And this also assist you on the shortlist of hotels for selection.

The perks and the bargain area

(1) Food and Beverage
- Pre-event cocktail or mocktails

- Pre-event fondant or canapes?

- Free flow of beer and/or wine?
If this is limited? Is it one bottle per table for wine etc?

Beer usually come in 30 litre or 60 litre. If its not free flow, what is the number of x-litre barrels for beer?

- Free flow of soft drinks/mixers
This is normally included in the standard package.

- Dinner food tasting
No of person for food tasting. Always try to bargain for more

- Wine / Hard Liquer corkage charges if limited wine is given on the package.
Bargain for waiver of corkage charges. Or you can purchase the hotel's house wine and there will not be any corkage charge for that.

- Option of Dessert buffet or other alternatives for dessesrt(Western style canape, hotel's signature cakes)

- Free change of dishes on menu.

- Pre-dinner snacks for the wedding couple

(2) Decoration

- Cake (if the cake a faux model cake or real tiered wedding cake)
Some faux cakes i've encountered are actually full of dust or totally fake looking that really screams that i need some upgrading. Or maybe its just me being me.

- Champagne toasting
Is it just sparkling wine or champagne?

- Wedding decorations provided for stage, VIP tables, guest tables and reception area?
Will you mind if the guest tables are only covered by white table and seat covers.

- Is LCD projector included free of charge. If not, what are the charges.

- Live feed for ballroom

(3) Ballroom
- shape of the ballroom

- pillarless or with pillar ballroom

- Do you mind not having a chandelier ballroom?
Yes, that's me. I love chandeliers. The ballroom i chose did not have chandeliars but its crystals lighting illuminating the ballroom.

- Type of march in you want
Do you want a red carpet treatment? I was told that this is passe but i still be including it for my march in.

- Dry ice effect or bubble effect for march in?

Do note that some ballrooms are made up of a few function rooms with the partitions removed.

(4) Bridal Suite

- Sufficient space to hold last minute meeting arrangements

- Bridal suite is nicely furbished for comfortable stay

Miscellaneous perks to note
- additional night complimentary stay at bridal suite

- function room for ROM with decorations
Though it best to get this FOC, some do include charges for decoration. So do seek clarifications.

- wedding favours

- % wedding invitation cards

- Ang Pow box provided

- Anniversary night stay

- % of carpark passes

- complimentary breakfast for couple

- day room for helpers

- Halal / Vegetarian charges (usually this is on top of the 10 pax seating arrangement)

Solitaire Bride Considerations in choosing her banquet
For me, my main considerations is size of ballroom that meets my maximum number of guest. Mine will be a small wedding event of less that 250 guests.

As my date is considered a hot date, most of the hotels have already been booked. So a hotel that is within my budget and pillarless and nice ballroom and have a nice bridal suite seals the deal. Every other thing is nice to have.

Now i'm a happy bride waiting for the big day to arrive.

Tip: Be prepared and thick-skinned in asking for perks. You never know if you will get until you asked.

If you don't like bargaining, the alternative is to attend wedding shows and get the more extensive perks. This is the industry worst kept secret.

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