Key reminders for a beautiful wedding reception (Part 1)
Advice from some of the best wedding reception venues in Toronto
Of course, everyone wants to have a beautiful wedding reception. We asked staff from some of the best wedding reception venues in Toronto what couples often overlooked or forgot to consider when planning their wedding reception. Here’s what they had to share:
“You and your partner need to decide what is most important to you, and then budget accordingly from that decision. That being said, I have observed hundreds of weddings where guests are more likely to remember the great food you served, or the amazing band they danced to all evening. And of course, you need a good photographer to capture these memories for a lifetime.”
Heather Jonasson, Catering Sales Manager
The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto
“Take a few minutes to yourselves after the ceremony to reflect on the joyous moment of being joined in marriage. Make sure you get a chance to eat – everyone will be coming to congratulate you and want to talk – but take some time to rest and eat dinner, or you will be starving later on. I also recommend that you arrange for your photographer to stay at the reception throughout the evening to capture shots of people having fun dancing and socializing with one another. You may not have had a chance to interact with your friends until the reception, so you will want the photographer to capture these special moments.
Lastly, do not stress too much about the little details. On the day of the wedding, these little details will not matter in the grand scheme of things, and your guests will not notice if your uplights are not the right shade of blue.”
Danielle Oliver, Event Logistics Coordinator
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
“One thing that is easy to overlook is added costs that may come with additional wedding elements. An example of this may be that you want to have a slideshow of your lives together. In many venues, adding AV to the space does increase the overall cost. Or perhaps for your menu, you know you want to serve a beef entrée and a chicken entrée. Any of these elements that you know up front, you should definitely communicate to your venue. This will ensure that all of your event details are captured in a quote that is provided to you. This comes back to your original sit-down as a couple and deciding what you want to have at your wedding.
Another consideration is that though DIY is a really great option, you don’t want to be decorating your venue on your wedding day! I think a lot of couples start with this notion but end up hiring someone in the end. Not all venues will be available the day prior for setup, so you’ll need to have a backup plan if you want to do your own décor. Perhaps you can enlist a friend that is wanting to contribute.
Finally, this is FUN! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the stresses of wedding planning, but we always want our couples to remember that it’s going to be an amazing day – because it’s your special day. The details are important, but so is having fun, and relishing in the moments. Once the day comes, it’s all about letting go and enjoying it.”
Natalie Ho, Event Sales Manager
Oliver & Bonacini Events and Catering
“One of the most common oversights that we see are couples who overestimate the number of people who will actually rsvp and be able to attend their wedding reception. Typically the actual final guest attendance tends to be 5%-15% less than what the couple was estimating when they were searching for a venue.
Another important consideration, which many overlook in their venue selection, is the ability to set a tradition where their future children could potentially walk in their steps and be married in the same venue. Selecting a venue with a rich history and one you are confident will be there for the next generation is important for building that family tradition.”
Nick Di Donato, President and CEO
Liberty Entertainment Group
“Many clients are not aware of the costs of audio-visual for their event. The difference in cost for a/v equipment will vary widely when comparing the cost of a single DJ against the cost of a 14 piece band.
The costs behind equipment rental and labour for technicians is not a cost couples are prepared for in their initial budgets. We incorporate a line item to start the budget for our clients when preparing our initial estimates to start the conversation about this cost to avoid budget constraints later in the planning.”
Beth Bruno, Sales & Events Manager
AGO – Art Gallery of Ontario
“One commonly overlooked consideration couples should remember when planning their wedding reception is to keep the food service running when speeches are taking place. Weddings can be emotional for everyone and important guests usually go over time when giving speeches and reminiscing, which is perfectly natural. However, stopping food service during speeches will slow down the catering kitchen, the servers, delay the upcoming courses and delay the rest of your wedding.”
Kristy Dennison, Events & Sales Manager
“Couples should know that their suppliers have a lot of knowledge and are happy to share it by providing tips and advice that will make their wedding planning stress-free. From the venue perspective, I would recommend confirming timing for deliveries and pick-up with your venue coordinator. I would also recommend requesting approval for decorations, as the venue can then confirm safety and technical requirements.”
Carole Choucoutou, Wedding and Special Event Coordinator
Ontario Heritage Trusts
“Couples need to consider guest downtime and out-of-town guests. If a ceremony is during the day and reception in the evening, have a fun itinerary or suggestion list of what to do in between. If the reception is at a hotel, reserve rooms for out of town guests well in advance to ensure they have a place to stay!
When it comes to food offerings, be aware of dietary restrictions, but don’t let it dictate your menu. Couples also need to do what’s right for them. Regardless of what’s trendy, do what is comfortable for you!”
Kathleen Johanson, Wedding Coordinator
Drake Hotel Properties