Wedding Reception Checklist

Save Your Sanity and Your Budget


The wedding reception checklist is a super helpful tool considering this part of the wedding planning process requires not only attention to detail, but attention to the obvious.
When speaking and negotiating with vendors, it’s vital you have all these questions answered for you before signing on the dotted line.

Wedding Reception Checklist Questions

1. What is the minimum number of guests required? 
If you’re planning on an intimate event for 50 but they charge for 150 regardless of how many show, this is a giant budget buster.

2. Is there a minimum fee? Some venues will charge you for the whole facility. Even though you might only be using the Garden Room and the back patio, they might charge you for the whole house/country club, etc. Same goes for ballrooms in hotels – make sure there isn’t a side room that you don’t plan on using that they will charge you for anyway.

3. What are the broken down costs? 
Request itemized break down of every single dollar from taxes to tables to the facility rental (see #2) to booking fees. There might be elements included in your “package” that you don’t need. This might be the most important question on the entire wedding reception checklist.

4. Are there additional costs for the use of equipment and items such as chairs and utensils? (See #3)

5. Is insurance included in the price? Is your insurance up to date? May I see a copy of it?
This is important because anyone can TELL you that their insurance is up to date.

6. What is the deposit? Is all of it or part of it refundable? How much and what are the deadline dates for booking as well as cancellation?
One of the most important wedding reception checklist questions. It’s one thing to spend more money than you wanted to on something, but to pay for something you don’t use in the first place, OUCH.

7. What are the outside vendor rules? Am I allowed to bring in my own caterer, florist, baker, DJ, etc? If so, are there any extra fees for doing that? What are they?
The savings you might find with an outside wedding vendor might be cancelled out by the fees you will be charged by your venue. Make sure you do a line item comparison.

8. May I sample the catering options?
If the answer is no, run for the hills.

9. Am I allowed to bring in my own alcohol? If so, what is the corkage fee?

10. Will I have exclusivity at the venue, or will there be any other events taking place that might distract from or overflow into my reception?
This is very important. You certainly don’t want to be bride #1 out of 5!

11. How many hours do we get, and what is the overtime fee if we go over?
This can be a very hefty charge girls, so it’s wise to have a designated personto start rounding guests up and head them off to the post-reception party.

12. What are the charges for setting up before, and cleaning up after? (See #3)

13. Is parking free? If not, how much will my guests be charged? Is there an option to self park and not valet?

14. Will there be an onsite manager the day of? May I have their name? 
Don’t book any venue that won’t have a manager onsite the day of. This goes for caterers as well.

15. Is there a curfew time on the music?
If your reception ends at 11pm but there is a noise ordinance that requires the music to be turned off at 10, you essentially lose an hour of your reception.

16. Is there an overflow space (balcony, smaller side room, etc.) available to us? If so, is there a fee to use it?

17. May I come back and visit the next time the venue is set up for a reception or other similar event?
It’s important to see how your wedding reception place prepares for and sets for their events.

You may think of important wedding reception checklist questions of your own to ask your wedding vendors, but these are all “must asks” and most of them are “must asks and get in writing.” Don’t be the bride who finds out 2 days after her invites go out that they charge a 20% “because it’s Friday” fee or something else ridiculous like that.