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Bridal Tips on Selecting Wedding Reception Sites,
Banquet Halls and Banquet Facilities in Southeat Michigan
Congratulations on your engagement. Below are some helpful suggestions and tips on how to make choosing from among
numerous Michigan Wedding Reception Sites in the southeast Michigan area a more enjoyable experience.
The wedding reception is usually the most expensive part of the total budget for your wedding.
Here are some important questions you must consider before choosing your reception site.
1. What is the maximum number of events or wedding parties that can take place on the same day at your reception site?
TIP: The banquet facility may be historical or unique; however, if yours is one of six
weddings at that facility, receiving the special attention your wedding deserves becomes more of a gamble than a certainty. Assume your wedding is quite
large at 225 guests; however the wedding down the corridor is for 400 guests. The bride in the next room is spending nearly twice as much on
her wedding as you are. Who do you think will receive the special attention from the banquet facility? Private wedding reception facilities
are able to focus all their efforts on just one high quality event.
2. How will you know if the food and service is exceptional?
TIP: Look for professionals with extensive restaurant and banquet experience, preferably with a vested (ownership)
interest in the banquet facility and ask to see their references.
3. Before you sign your contract, start by asking your friends and relatives about your final three candidates. Have any of them attended a wedding there recently?
TIP: The experience of one hundred weddings is a good bench mark; however 500 or more is ideal.
4. What kind of credentials does the chef have?
TIP: Look for a banquet facility with a culinary arts graduate chef who will
have the proper training in preparing exceptional meals for large groups.
5. How much liquor liability insurance does the hall have?
TIP: Although the State of Michigan only requires banquet halls with a liquor license to have $50,000 of
liquor liability insurance, you will want your Michigan banquet facility to have $1,000,000 or more in coverage.
6. How many servers will be on staff for my wedding?
TIP: There should be a minimum of one server for every three tables.
7.Will the bar be open during dinner? Will guests be upset they can't
have a beverage to go with their meal? Will there be long lines at the
bar once it re-opens?
TIP: Avoid halls that charge a hidden extra fee to keep the bar open during dinner. If your reception
is six hours in length, the bar should be open five to five and a half hours to match your guest's needs.
8. Does your reception site offer unique photo opportunities if the weather is inclement?
TIP: Look for wedding reception banquet facilities that have intimate settings such as a fireplace, fountain, spiral staircase or grand piano.
9. Where and how large is your dance floor going to be?
TIP: Look for banquet facilities that have a permanent dance floor where you can verify its size. Portable dance
floor sections that are screwed together and framed with a ramp are rarely large enough for larger parties and are a tripping hazard.
10.How should the time at the reception be allocated?
TIP: Devote an hour for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by
dinner lasting one and a half to two hours, followed by two to three hours of dancing.
Reception site location: Choose your banquet facilities’ location so that it is within a 45
minute drive of the ceremony site as well as the majority of your family and your fiancées family’s homes. In other words the
ceremony and reception sites should be centrally located. For instance, Plymouth is centrally located if the majority of your family is from
the Ann Arbor area and your fiancées family lives in the Northville, Novi, Canton, Farmington, Dearborn, Westland and Livonia area.
Choosing the date for your wedding is first and foremost.
The more flexible you are with your prospective dates the better.
TIP: Friday vs. Saturday...Discounts, Discounts and
more Discounts! Most brides and grooms automatically choose a Saturday
because they feel a Friday wedding and reception will be inconvenient
for their guests. This is true if you have several friends and family
that will be flying into the south east Detroit Michigan
metro area for the wedding. Guests that live locally, consider leaving
work a couple of hours early on a Friday a “PERK”. Who hasn’t
cut the work week short for a variety of reasons, they will certainly
do so for your wedding! Banquet halls have tremendous
incentives for Friday and Sunday wedding receptions as do most other
professionals you will hire. The savings can be enough to pay
for a large portion of the honeymoon.
Create a list of preferred banquet halls and banquet facilities that you would like to tour. You are likely to visit six to twelve halls before making your decision.
Making appointments for your tours will be greatly appreciated. Banquet facilities are busy, especially on Saturdays, when some halls may cater
five or six weddings later that day. Ask the banquet facilities to mail you a brochure in advance so you can become familiar with their menus, prices and policies.
Check the banquet hall’s dates for availability, and the minimum and maximum number of guests they can accommodate with a dance floor and bridal party head table.
TIP: Schedule no more than four tours of your preferred banquet facilities in a single day. The process can be overwhelming and
confusing so it is best to schedule two reception hall tours before lunch and two reception facilities after.
Although there is a convenience factor having the wedding reception at a hotel, their banquet facilities are usually very corporate in nature
(a contemporary box with no windows and plenty of those moving divider walls). This type of venue has been designed as a
conference center for business meetings and corporate events. Wedding reception banquet halls near hotels in Ann Arbor, Plymouth, Canton,
Livonia, Northville, Novi and Dearborn are plentiful. Wedding reception banquet facilities near four star hotels in Milford and Westland are quite some distance away.
TIP: Look for reception halls that work with hotels offering
free hotel shuttle service. Some hotels have dedicated
shuttles for the convenience of your wedding reception guests. Some
hotel shuttles travel a loop going from Laurel Manor to the Italian
American club banquet center, then to Fox Hills Country Club followed
by the Inn at Saint Johns banquet and conference center and then to
the hotel. Some shuttle services like the Livonia Marriott Courtyard
offer a dedicated shuttle for your wedding reception only, two hours
at the beginning of the evening and two hours at the end. A block
of rooms, typically 10 to 20 is required to qualify for free
shuttle service. Visit all the hotels offering free shuttle service
and then choose just one to recommend to your guests.
This way you won't end up with eight rooms in one hotel and nine in
another and not qualify for free shuttle service.
halls with divider walls that partition rooms into various sizes are
the unpleasant norm these days. Be sure to view the room with the divider
wall(s) in place before you sign the contract. You will want
to see what it looks like and if you will be cramped in the amount of
space the banquet facility is willing to allocate for your wedding reception.
You will most likely need additional decorations to compensate for "the
wall". Guests that can not see the bridal party because they are
seated in adjacent rooms will feel like second class guests.
TIP: Look for reception sites that have high ceilings. A luxuriously spacious
ballroom adds significant ambiance to your wedding reception. Having ample room to mingle and
still have a large dance floor sufficient to accommodate group dances is essential. Some banquet facilities
place the head table on a riser which allows everyone to see the bride and groom and their bridal party.
Know who will be in charge of overseeing your wedding reception.
Insist on meeting your ballroom captain well in advance of your wedding
date allowing you to coordinate every detail. The last thing you want
is to be meeting the person who is in charge of your wedding for the
first time, on the night of your wedding! Dotting every
i and crossing every t must be done
a week or more in advance. Don't allow any of your wedding professionals
to plan your wedding during the wedding!
TIP: Look for wedding reception banquet facilities that give you one primary go-to person
for all the detailed planning of your reception. This person must also be in attendance at your reception, making certain every
detail takes place exactly as you have planned. Provide phonetic pronunciations of the names of the bride and
groom as well as the bridal party to anyone who will make public introductions on your behalf.
You will find comparing prices at banquet halls very confusing, very much like comparing apples to oranges.
No two halls price things in the exact same way. Hopefully you or someone you know is good with a spreadsheet program. It is absolutely
essential that you have a complete understanding of all the banquet facilities extra charges. Some banquet halls have hidden
extra charges for cake cutting, coat check, set-up/clean-up etc.
TIP: Know what is included (and what is not). Take a copy of
the contract and the banquet hall's policies home with you, and take
your time to read and understand them. You must have a price guarantee.
Never sign a contract with any banquet facility that contains the phrase
prices subject to change, without there being some
type of price cap or not to exceed limitation.
Your wedding reception banquet facility rental time is limited, usually to five or six hours. When the party is
over at the wedding reception hall, the celebration often continues for your closest friends and out of town guests.
TIP: Look for wedding reception banquet halls in a city with some night life. Ideally for your
guest’s after-glow celebration, some pubs and martini bars should be within walking distance. In the event your guests miss the last hotel shuttle,
obtaining a taxi from these establishments is a service they will be able to assist you with.
TIP: Avoid high pressure sales people and their banquet facilities. You will
hear all sorts of reasons why you should put your deposit down before
you leave. Don't do it! Remember most banquet hall's sales staff work
on commission. Always sleep on your decision; you will be glad you did.
Planning a Winter Wedding?
TIP: Airline Flights If the honeymoon flight requires a connecting flight, avoid delays by staying clear of
weather afflicted hubs like Chicago O'hare.
TIP: Photographs Lighting is critical, and the sun will set earlier on your outdoor photos.
Don't be afraid to start the ceremony and wedding reception an hour earlier than you would in the spring or fall.
With the reception ending before midnight, you will want to delegate the job of planning the reception afterglow
to the best man with perhaps a pub crawl or have him stock a hospitality suite back at the primary hotel with some adult beverages.
TIP: Deals Don't plan your wedding between December 6th and the 15th as this is prime time for Corporate
Holiday Parties. Venues will be reluctant to offer any type of discounts. For your greatest savings, aim instead
for the Friday after Thanksgiving or the weekend before Christmas. Friends and family will already be in town so
they won't have to purchase another flight to attend the wedding. The reception sites will still be decorated for
the holidays which will trim your decorating budget. January is usually very slow for venues, when touring wedding
reception sites, bring your best negotiator.
Our recipes featured on FOX 2 News Morning!
Meeting House Mango Mojito
For a bride and groom's specialty cocktail, this wedding reception venue makes a really great tropical beverage that can be
enjoyed with or without alcohol. We call it the Meeting House Mango Mojito, and the ingredients are shown below. You can
purchase the mango nectar at warehouse stores in the non-refrigerated juice section, and the Ginger
Honey Crystal packet is available in health food stores.
Ingredients, shaken or stirred over ice:
- 5 oz Mango Nectar
- 5 oz Pineapple Juice
- Juice of one Freshly Squeezed Lime
- 1 Ginger Honey Crystal Packet, dissolves in cold liquid!
- 2 oz Coconut Rum
- 2 oz Vodka
- 1 Small Bunch of Fresh Mint
Separate the mint leaves from the stems and tear leaves into small pieces.
Mull only the stems of the mint (not the leaves) along with the sugar and the lime juice in a drink shaker.
Add remaining ingredients, shake well and serve over ice. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
Meeting House Baked Apple & Brie
(makes approx 50 - ½ ounce servings)
- 1 c Raisins
- 6 Apples peeled and diced (mix of granny smith and golden delicious)
- 1 ¼ Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
- ½ c White Sugar
- ½ c Brown Sugar
- 1 ½ Tbsp Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp of each Kosher Salt, Ground Ginger & Ground Nutmeg
- 1 Pound Brie Cheese
Combine all ingredients except for Brie cheese and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover.
Simmer for 5 to 8 minutes until apples are tender, stirring often. Remove from heat and cool. Scoop
bite-size amount of apple mixture onto cocktail spoons. Remove rind from brie and slice. Top each
spoon with a slice of Brie cheese. Place in a warm oven for 5 minutes to melt cheese.
Tip: Apple mixture can be made the day before. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
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