All these items should be discussed with the venue vendor way in advance. To avoid miscommunications, here is a list of things that your coordinator should run through with the banquet manager ideally few days prior to the actual day. Ideally, your coordinator and banquet manage would meet few hour prior to the reception, this will then be followed by a sound rehearsal.
#01 Table Arrangements and Numbering
Make sure all the tables and their numbers have been arranged the way it was given in your final floor plan.
#02 Special Requests
The banquet manager should have a copy of the floor plan with all the special requests required, that is baby chairs and guests who opt for the vegetarian meals. If you have a designated table where all or most of the guests seated are involved in the coordination of the reception, make sure this detail is noted by the banquet manager as well. That way, their food will be left at the table if it was untouched, to be eaten later.
#03 Signages to Point Guests to the Right Hall
Make sure there are clear signages complete with the couple’s names, especially if the venue is bound to host more than one wedding on the same day.
#04 Foyer Table Setup
Make sure all the tables requested are on site and available, that is tables for registration and if necessary; dessert, photobooth props, guestbook, displays etc.
#05 Additional Assistance
If you need any help from the venue – such as placing your wedding favours, for example – you can also inform the banquet manager, who will then direct the staff.
#06 Alcoholic Beverages
Remind the banquet manager of the alcohol arrangements. If you need the empty bottles kept to keep an account of how much alcohol was consumed remember to mention and remind the bartender as well. Some coordinators go as far as to sign off each bottle as well. Let the banquet manager know when you would like to start serving alcoholic beverages, this could be during the cocktail hour or after the food is served (which is common practice to prevent the alcohol from running out too early)
#07 Run Through the Programme
Print out a few copies of the dinner reception itinerary for the staff. Indicate when you would like the reception to start. (it is common practice to start a reception either at the time indicated or when there is at least 70% of guests present to avoid too much movements in the hall when the bride and groom are about to march in) Note when food service should be paused to avoid distracting from speeches, march-ins, entertainment etc. The same brief should be given to sound and lightings department as well.
#08 Standby Time
The starting time is unpredictable yet crucial. Set a rendezvous time and have the banquet manager come to check with you on the starting time. Once you are ready, the banquet department would still need 15 minutes to heat up the food before they can kick things off. At that time, y if the couple is ready and 70% of the guests have arrived, give them the green light.
#09 Keep The Champagne Tower at A Moderate Height
Remind the banquet manager keep the champagne tower at a moderate height to ensure that the bridal couple will be able to reach the top without much effort, considering the bride’s dress can sometimes be restrictive. Leave extra champagne glasses at the side if the staff cannot fit all the glasses into the glass tower.
#10 Loosen the Cork on The Champagne Bottle
We’ve all attended weddings where guests sits in awkward silence as the groom struggles to pop the cork off the champagne bottle. To avoid this embarrassment, remind staff to loosed the cork before passing the bottle to the groom.
More often than not, banquet managers are very helpful and accommodating. Whilst you might be high strung from all the adrenaline, the banquet team may be completely sang-froid. After all, they are the experts, having handled so many weddings. Remember to heed their advice and ask for recommendations if you have specific requests that are out of the norm. Most service industry vendors promote their staff based on guest reviews, so do remember to give credit where it is due as well.