For foodie couples, throwing a wedding reception at a restaurant is a perfect idea. Put the typical wedding food fare to the side – why not celebrate your nuptials over delicious food from your favorite restaurant? For many couples, a restaurant wedding reception is an obvious choice, but there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when looking for your foodie-friendly venue.
Choosing Delicious Food
This is probably a pretty obvious one – you’ll want to pick a restaurant that has great food! When looking at restaurants, be sure to go over their menu to decide if they serve the type of food you’d want at your wedding. It gives you a great excuse to schedule in a few dinner dates! You can also talk with the coordinator about what menu they can curate specifically for your celebration, as well as what serving style makes the most sense (such as plated dinners, buffet, or family-style). One important thing to note: some restaurants that have in-house pastry chefs might not allow you to bring in your own cake. This might make matters simpler for some couples, but those who are set on a wedding cake from an outside bakery should discuss the rules with the coordinator.
Decor That Matches Your Style
You may be limited to what you are able to do with a restaurant space in terms of decor, but that could be a major plus: if the restaurant already has beautiful design elements, you’ll save a lot on decor. You’ll want to make sure the restaurant has a style that fits with your wedding design dream. Talk to the coordinator about any limitations they might set, and see if it aligns with how you want your wedding to look. You’ll likely be able to add decorative accents, like centerpieces or linens. Be sure to also note any major focal pieces (such as a fireplace or a sculpture), and see how you can use them to your advantage for your wedding design.
Keeping It in Budget
Restaurants can be less pricey than traditional wedding venues, but don’t absolutely rely on that being the case. Depending on the place and whether you are doing a full buyout or just partial buyout, the price can get up there. Keep in mind that popular restaurants can serve a lot of people in one night (especially on the weekend), so it needs to make financial sense for them to shut down a part of the space – or the entire venue. Discuss the different options with the coordinator so you know what makes the most sense for your wedding style and your budget.
Getting Down to the Logistics
There are a few logistical matters that you’ll need to keep in mind when choosing a restaurant for your wedding. This includes:
- Adequate Space: Since restaurants typically don’t have extra-large gathering spaces, it is important that the space available can appropriately fit your guest list. Talk to the restaurant coordinator about how many people can comfortably fit in the event spaces. You’ll also want to check in about privacy – if you aren’t renting out the entire space for your celebration, you’ll want to make sure other dining guests aren’t encroaching on your wedding. Another thing to keep in mind is space for dancing. If you are working with a smaller space, see if it is possible to move tables out of the way after dinner to make a dance floor.
- Busy Season: While more traditional wedding venues get busy during the spring and summer, restaurants typically get busier during the holidays, around November and December. If you are hosting your wedding during this time, you’ll need to start planning early to make sure you can get in.
- Parking: There is a chance that the restaurant might not have adequate parking for you and your guests. If you are throwing a restaurant wedding reception, you may need to arrange for transportation from another lot.
- Noise Limitations: Planning on having a DJ or a live band? Make sure it is okay with the restaurant you are interested in. They may have certain noise restrictions, especially if you are only doing a partial buyout of the space.
- Restroom: The last thing you want is to have your guests waiting in long bathroom lines when they should be celebrating with you. Be sure there are enough restrooms on-site for your guest count, and that they aren’t located in an awkward spot of the restaurant. Guests will feel uncomfortable pushing themselves through other restaurant patrons to get to the restroom on the other side of the space!
If you are in the process of planning your wedding, come to the next Georgia Bridal Show near you. You will have the chance to meet with professional wedding vendors of all talents from Georgia and the Southeast who can help bring your vision to life!