Post # 1
Hi All! I got engaged in Jan. 2008 in Hawaii! I’m really excited with all the planning. Buthere is so much I don’t know. I hope all of you can help me. We decided to go with a traditional Chinese reception (hopefully, at Capital Seafood in Monterey Park). Chinese restaurant wedding package seem to vary depending on what you negotiate. If anyone has any experience with what can be negotiated at a Chinese restaurant, please let me know. I want to book my reception venue soon, but I don’t know how to handle negotiation. We want to book the whole restaurant so I hope that gives us some negotiation power. What can I negotiate at a Chinese restaurant? Thanks! Cali*Girl
Post # 3
If you speak the language, it def makes negotiations easier….I dunno about Cali, but here in NY, if you don’t speak the language, they suck the blood outta you! So if you’re not fluent in the language, you may want to bring someone who is to "translate" for you.
And EVERYTHING is negotiable, right down to the gratuities. Be sure that you include in the contract, the right to readress service gratuities after the wedding. My sister ran into a hiccup when she was asked to pay everything up front, but thank goodness she refused cuz the service that night was awful!
They also usually charge a corking fee if you bring your own alcohol and a cake cutting fee (usually by the slice) so be prepared to talk that down if you don’t want to pay it.
Oh and be weary of them overpromising and underdelivering. EVERYTHING MUST BE IN WRITING for your own protection. I’m Chinese, but I’ll be the first to admit that Chinese people will promise you the moon and stars to get you to pay, but once you do, it’s all out the door! So be weary of verbal promises.
That’s all I can think of for now…if I come up with more, I’ll let you know! Good Luck!
Post # 4
Thanks MissBlueBear! Unfortunately, I don’t speak the language. Cali*Boy and I were able to converse with them in English. I’ll note service gratuities and your advice of the written on contract part.
From our preliminary talks, they offered us:
- No Corkage fee
- No Cake Cutting fee
- Unlimited Soda
- Seat Covers (without sash) for $1 ea.
Total cost for seat covers without sash will be $400 since they require 400 guests to book the entire restaurant.
- Bar & Bartender for $150
Initially when I solicited information, they said bar & bartender is free and now they are charging for it.
I don’t know if this is already a good deal?! What do you think?
Post # 5
Hmmmm…how long is the bar going to be open for? And is it just one bartender for 400 guests? That’s a lot of drinks for one person to handle, and prob a very long waiting time for your guests to get their drinks, hence less consuming of alcohol and less value for the money you’ve already paid for his services. I would def get at least 4-5 bartenders for a party your size, plus the option of ordering drinks from waiters/busboys so your guests don’t have to crowd the bar. I would also find out is it top shelf liquor meaning all is fair game or do they charge extra for the good stuff.
As for the chair covers, I would ask to see a sample before you agree to it only because I had been considering it for my own wedding, but found the chairs to be nice alone and it wasn’t necessary.
Finally, you don’t have to tell me, but I would take into consideration for a party your size at a Chinese restaurant. Including all the bells and whistles I would not expect to pay more than $75-$80 per person. And that would be much considering the number of guests you are anticipating. Oh you didn’t mention how much are they charging for gratuities and whether or not gratuities are taxed. Some places think they are smart by taxing the gratuities, but if you’re paying in cash I would definitely negotiate the taxes, after all, it’s up to them how they report their earnings.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to get everything in writing, even if you feel silly asking, because at the end of the day, if it’s not written anywhere, they are not obligated to do it. So protect your own interests first. If they say, the head tables will get a free platter (I’m just making it up), be sure to get specific details about it. And don’t be afraid to question anything. My sister was not shy about voicing her thoughts and wants and it helped in the negotiation process. Be nice, but firm. If they see you budge, they’ll take that as an open invitation. So ask about all "hidden" charges up front and the advantages of paying in cash versus credit card. Generally a chinese place will only ask for a couple of hundred dollars for deposit, but depending on how close your are to your wedding date, they may want more. The plus to all this is be sure you have the right to clear the remaining balance the night of the wedding. They generally want you to pay beforehand, but I warn against taht for a Chinese place because it’s easy for them to take your money…but so hard for you to get it back.
Post # 6
Thank you soo much for your advice! I will be sure to keep in mine all that you wrote when doing my final negotiation.