(Closed) Anyone having their reception at a restaurant?

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
5891 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

I had my wedding (50 ppl) and reception at a restaurant. The restaurant had a beautiful outdoor patio, so we had the wedding and cocktail hours out there.Then we had the reception in one of their banquet rooms. It was a lunch reception, so no dancing. But they do have evening wedding, so there is dancing there if they want to. 

We loved it. It was the best food in a great location. The only rental fees we had was $200 for the patio and renting chairs and audio system for the patio. 

Post # 3
3846 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - City, State

One of the venues we’re looking at is a restaurant. It has a very nice banquet room, a courtyard, and another great indoor space as well. The pros are that the food options are endless and there’s no outside caterer to worry about. I can go there and have as many “tastings” as I want by just going to the restaurant.

The con is that unless I rent out the entire venue, certain parts open back up to the public after things get swinging in the banquet room. So that’s less than ideal, but renting out the place fixes that issue.

Post # 4
112 posts
Blushing bee

Pros – usually offers packaged deal with food, alcohol, linens, silverware, dishes, tables, chairs, staff at one price. On a limited budget and limited planning time, this was a huge bonus to have everything taken care of together. Plus, restaurants are in the business of food so you know everyone will be well fed. Most usually have a food and beverage minimum only so you don’t have to pay extra for room rental. 

Cons-space (some may not accommodate a dance floor, band, DJ, etc if that is what you’re looking for, possible awkward ceremony setup), possible weird rental times/have to share space with other restaurant patrons, and honestly, I got a lot of negative comments about a restaurant being a “low rent” venue, because they are untraditional. But see pros again to be reminded by why they are an awesome deal 🙂 Especially when compared to the more traditional hotel ballroom, which in my area, charged nearly double for similar packages.

Post # 5
755 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

We are having a restaurant reception in November. Pros for us are the amazing food, no caterer or rental company to worry with, a gorgeous space requiring minimal decor, and generally less stress than the traditional route. It is also more affordable at least in my area than renting a venue, hiring a caterer, and renting tables/chairs/linens etc.

Cons are that buying out the entire restaurant would blow our budget, so the front room where the bar is will be open to the public, so less privacy than we’d prefer but we have accepted that. Also our restaurant does not do a lot of weddings as large as ours (75 people) so while I’m all bridezilla over here wanting to get the contract done and the menus finalized, it’s not even really on their radar yet since it’s 8 months away.

Edited to add…we are not having dancing except for clearing a small space for a first dance, so that is not an issue for us. We are also having our ceremony at another location, so no worries about finding space for that.

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by  kkkatieB12.
Post # 6
1285 posts
Bumble bee

We are, in July.  Con is that it costs a lot to buy out on a Saturday, so we settled on Sunday.  Everything else is a pro though- gorgeous indoor and outdoor spaces, minimal decoration needed, on-site ceremony ame wedding coordinator for free, and awesome food.  Win win win!

Post # 7
534 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

Yes, we bought out a whole restaurant on a Thursday evening. They did not do buy outs on the weekends. It’s even got a little bocce court! 

Pros- great bay views, fire pit, delicious food and wood-fired pizzas, we have control over the sound system and the decor, easy to deal with! cocktail party atmosphere. I’m lazy lol

cons- Haven’t encountered any yet. Our ceremony is somewhere else. 

I definitely recommend this option! 


Post # 8
145 posts
Blushing bee

Mine is going to be! I just don’t want it to be too big of a production. We are laid back so… picking out colors, wedding party, all of that- we just don’t want to deal. It’s just going to be a nice family dinner for about 60. With lots of wine 😀

Post # 9
220 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I got married in at a restaurant on a wine farm. Was amazing! Had the cermemony on the lawn outside, followed by drinks/canapes outside and a reception with dancing inside. The only draw backs were that I couldn’t get ready onsite and there was no accomodation onsite. But I got dressed  at a nearby lavender farm which made for stunning pics and most people found places to stay very nearby. 

Post # 10
4697 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I got married at a restaurant and I didn’t experience any cons with my venue. It was expensive but, weddings in my city generally are. 

We rented out the top floor, there was room for a ceremony (50 ppl), dance floor, DJ, and there were a number of seating areas (a seat for every guest). The food was unreal, and the drinks were perfect. The most important part of our wedding was the food and drink so a restaurant was the obvious choice.

It took a lot of viewings to find the right spot but, everything was perfect. It was exactly what we pictured. 

Post # 11
329 posts
Helper bee

We’re having a Chinese wedding reception and those are typically done at restaurants. I had to visit around 15 different Chinese restaurants before settling on the one we saw first. >.>


  • Their food is their thing. I’ve looked into renting a hotel space and have catering, but then there’s the question of where they’ll cook their food, will it be brought in instead of cooked at the site, etc. 
  • I don’t have to deal with a catering vendor so that’s one less vendor in my life. 
  • You can save on decorations. The venue I picked in the end had super high ceilings and this Victorian feel to it which is reflected in their decor and tablewear (cups, teapots, etc). They will also include chair covers and table covers. So it does save you money on that. (Although I suppose a hotel space would have some for you.)
  • For an additional fee, they will also provide alcohol/drinks or we can bring our own. 
  • Not sure if non-Chinese restaurants will do this, but mine offered a slight discount if we paid in cash. 
  • They will clean up everything that I didn’t bring in. No need to gather up rented linens or whatever. 
  • In the end, it works out to be cheaper than a hotel+cater for me. 


  • You have to be careful that you pick a space that fits your needs. Some of the other restaurants we went to wanted our business, but didn’t really want to give us the complete space. We wanted a dance floor too so too many tables would mean a very small dance floor. 
  • Less customization: Chinese restaurants typically have a set menu. You can choose from maybe 3 set menus, but at the end of the day it’s the same type of food. Although we were able to change one of the courses for an additional fee, but I would imagine you can’t change their whole menu. 
  • No hotel super nearby. My friend had her wedding at a hotel and it was super convenient to just go “hey guys, I’m tired”, ride an elevator, and head straight to my room. The restaurant we picked though have three hotels within walking distance and I made arrangements with the one that doesn’t require us to walk across the street. 
Post # 12
668 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

We had a restaurant reception in Santa Barbara after getting married at the courthouse. We rented out the courtyard which needed minimal decorating. They had string lights set up across the patio, a beautiful fountain and heaters for our use. The chairs and linens were perfect for the space and it was something I didnt even have to worry about. I think the rental for the courtyard was $200 and that was included in our $2000 food and beverage minimum. Guests got to order off of a set menu which included a choice of 3 appetizers, 5 mains, and 4 choices of desert. We also had a killer cheese platter and passed appetizers(ahi tar tar, and crab cakes). One of the big pluses for us for having the reception at a restaurant was the quality of food served. Every one had a great meal, and we got a few comments saying it was the best wedding they had ever been to. 

One of the reasons why we chose to do a restaurant reception verus renting a venue is the last few weddings my husband and I have felt like hearded sheep. Cermony is done, now okay go over there for some drinks while we flip the place, okay now go back over there, dinner served, okay dancing, and 10pm cut off. you know?  This was so much more laid back and organic. 

The only con I can think of is there was another party somewhere in the restaurant(I think they rented the back room or something) and they were lining up at our bar trying to get drinks. I didnt even see that but my sweet grandma shooed them away told me afterwards. 



Post # 13
1594 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

View original reply
socalgirl1689:  We had our at a restaurant attached to a fancy hotel. I loved it. We had our own little area sectioned off away from other diners and it was perfect for what we wanted.  


Customized menu – we were able to go through their menu and pick what we wanted to serve everyone. We were able to get options like scallops, shirmp, greek salad, filet mingon and lobster tail. 

The food was insanely good 

Restaurant decor was beautiful already so no extra decor needed

Included lots of things in price like chairs and linens, 3 tier cake, plenty of bartenders and servers, access to a private bar, tables and surrounding area set up, clean up. 

Everyone’s hotel was across the street, so no need to drive home.


Photographer wasn’t allowed (not really a big issue for me since we had used our hours already

No dancing/dance floor (didn’t care)

No slide shows or screens (didn’t care)

No excessive speeches (totally fine with me!)

Post # 14
381 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

We’re having our ceremony and reception at a restaurant, but we’re also only having twelve guests. Some of the pros and cons remain the same, though.


1. Price. We have no separate venue cost, just have to meet a minimum on food.

2. The food is legit good restaurant food, not just reception chicken. It’s hot, prepared on site. Our guests can get anything off the menu, and it was cheaper to do that than come up with our own special limited menu. Everyone can accommodate their own tastes and restrictions.

3. Decor. It’s in a converted 1890 pipe factory, with exposed brick, huge farm table, massive glass doors that open onto a patio, and eclectic design pieces. Flowers are still crazy pricey, but no other decor needed.

4. Rentals. Tables, chairs, plates, glasses, etc. are provided, and often linen as well. No coordination of drop off and pick up and corresponding fees.


1. This encompasses a lot, but this is NOT their main business for the most part. There is some additional coordination that you will have to handle on your own, and since it’s a working restaurant, you often won’t have access to the space in advance. Our space is a cafe until 5:30 PM, then our florist will have to quickly flip the space for our event. We have an event coordinator through the restaurant, but they primarily handle booking it, not making arrangements with your vendors, etc. For us, for example, that meant that DIY flowers were really not an option, because of time constraints. Or if we had, we would have had to hire someone else to put them out. We also have to have everything down that night, because it opens again for business the next morning. Etc.

2. Other customers. We have an entire level to ourselves, but the bathrooms for the whole restaurant are on our floor. We considered putting up curtains or a screen, but with (see above) limited time and resources, there’s probably just going to be some randoms wandering around in the back.

Post # 15
949 posts
Busy bee

View original reply
socalgirl1689:  We had our reception at a restaurant local to us in January 2015.

We had separate venues for the ceremony and the reception (as have most of the wedding we’ve been to in our lives), so finding a restaurant that could accomodate the ceremony was less problematic.However, where we hit a few snags was finding a restaurant venue that could potentially relatively high guest numbers (we invited about 165 people which is more than the average wedding in our area). This made our choice of reception venues a little limited, but then again we knew we’d have to take this into consideration anyway.

We chose a restaurant venue as we knew we had neither the time, nor the patience to faff about with a non-restaurant venue, despite the fact that the price of a restaurant reception was going to push up the total cost of our wedding a bit. If we had wanted to go for a lower total cost, we would probably have gone for a more DIY, hands on venue, that would have allowed us to bring in our own alcohol (which tends to have a higher than normal premium in restaurants where we live). Instead, because our situation allowed for it, we chose a restaurant venue that was large enough, gave us the option of having the entire venue for ourselves, required minimal decoration and catered to our little quirks too.

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