Choosing a reception venue

A large portion of your budget will be allocated to your reception so the choice of venue needs careful consideration. You'll have an idea of your theme by now, which might help decide where to hold the reception. Other factors to think about will be the time of year and season, which in turn will dictate an indoor or outdoor function. Consider the proximity of the reception venue to the ceremony, the time of day, type of food and entertainment arrangements you want. Would you like a formal sit down meal with table service or a buffet which might be less expensive or will you hire caterers?

We are fortunate in Hawke's Bay to have a great selection of wineries, hotels, restaurants, lodges and historic homesteads alongside function centres, gardens, clubs, halls for hire and marquee hire.

This is wine country and therefore vineyards are extremely popular for weddings and receptions. Conveniently close to town our wineries offer indoor and outdoor options, award winning wines and first rate cuisine with fresh produce.

You'll want to visit places you've shortlisted. Check what is included in the price per head. The functions team should give advice on how much alcohol to order per head for toasts, during meals etc. If you're on a tight budget ask if you are able to take your own alcohol.

Decide on whether there will be a cash bar and make the arrangements clear to your guests in the invitation to save embarrassment.

Include in your budget the total menu, drinks, venue hire fees and return transport for your guests. If you are hiring a marquee you'll need to factor in hire of wedding furniture, crockery, glassware, table linen and toilets, lighting, heating, flooring, tables, and chairs. There are local hire companies offering everything from vases to chair covers, candelabras and more.

Creating a seating plan can be hard work and it might be best to decide if you need formal seating arrangements. If it's a large wedding with a formal meal you'll need a seating plan. Traditionally the bride and groom and close family generally sit at the top table.

Try and group people on tables according to whether they are friends or relatives and take into account any family feuds. You don't want to waste much time having people find their seats so you could number the tables or give them names somehow related to your theme. Post a plan at the entrance to the reception so guests can check where they are sitting beforehand. You'll need name tags on the table too.

Don't forget to include people such as photographer/videographer, musicians in the catering and seating plan if they will be at the reception for any length of time.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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