Post # 1
My FI and I are having our reception at a restaurant and they have said that in order to do a tasting we must sign the contract and leave a deposit of 10% first. Is this normal? It’s a 5 star restaurant and I’ve attended another reception there before, so I’m not really worried about the food, but it just seems strange that I have to “commit” before trying. What do you think?
Post # 3
None of the venues I checked out did tastings before you booked! We booked over a year out and only did our tasting 4 months prior to the wedding!
Post # 4
We had to do the same. These days, venues shell out alot of money for prospects and even worse, couples who KNOW they’re not booking there so I can’t say I blame them. Since it’s a restaurant, can you go in and have the meal you’re considering?
Post # 5
I have to give a $600 deposit just to reserve a date with my caterer. Then before we can do any tastings we have to give another $1000. However, we are allowed to infinitely try more choices before we make our final decision and she made us dinner when we first met with her for our initial consultation.
I think a lot goes into doing a tasting – like they aren’t just giving you one thing to try, instead it is a bunch of different entrees and sides and everything, so it makes sense they want a committment.
And if they didn’t require that people could just use them for the free food!
Post # 6
I wouldn’t buy something before I tried it. Isn’t the point of a tasting for you to TRY it out so you can decide if you want to go with them? Can you pay for a small tasting instead?
Post # 7
Our venue was the same, we signed the contract first and then had our tasting a few months later. You could always just go there for dinner one night before signing anything and see what you get then.
Post # 8
The caterers we’re looking at all do tastings only after you book also. But, one of them also runs two restaurants, so we made sure to eat dinner at one and lunch at the other to check them out. I think what you’re experiencing is fairly common. If you really want to do the tasting prior to booking, maybe you could ask them to put one together and charge you the cost of a meal(?)
Post # 9
Maybe they’ve been burned in the past, or like MandaMack said, it’s a way to prevent people who aren’t seriously considering the venue to get a free meal. Now that I think about it, all of the venues that I looked at wouldn’t do a tasting unless you were definitely having your event with them.
Post # 10
Yeah, we know that we definitely want to have the reception there and we know that the food is great. It just seems odd to me to make the commitment before trying the food. After all, since its a restaurant this is our entire reception we’re talking about (half the budget)!
Oh well, I’m very confident about the overall location and their food, so I have a meeting on Wednesday to sign the contract and leave the deposit.
Thanks for everyone’s insight! It’s nice to know that this is fairly common. 🙂
Post # 11
That seems strange to me, but I guess not… The good thing about it being a restaurant is you can always just go have dinner there. That’s what we did for our “tasting” 🙂
Post # 12
No that is not normal, nor is it ethical. Especially if you are having it at a restaurant, you should not have to book the venue before you get a tasting since you should be able to go in anytime. If anyone requires you to book the venue before you get a tasting, run fast. NEVER book any caterer or venue without getting a tasting first, and many do not have such restrictions at all, because once you sign the contract, you are stuck regardless of the quality of the food and service.
Post # 13
It was mixed when we were looking. Some gave us a tasting, others didn’t. For us, we refused to book a venue that wouldn’t even let us try their food. I don’t care how good they claim they are, if we can’t try it first we’re not buying! In some cases this was eating in the restaurant rather than a full tasting but the venue we eventually booked with was very accomodating and gave us a full tasting before booking anything– which is one of the reasons we went with them because the food was so amazing!
Post # 14
At our venue, we went for dinner first, (which we paid for)- they gave us some special attention, split some dishes for us, bought us wiine. So, we got to taste what the restaurant offers and we got to talk to the chef a bit.
When we sign the contract, we will have an official tasting of what is being served at the wedding and tweak it if we want to. I don’t think we have to pay extra for that tasting, and I do think we have to pay a deposit first.
Post # 15
I work for a wedding venue and that’s extremely common. Speaking as a gal also getting married in three months, I can understand both sides. Can you imagine all of the brides we see each and every day and the money we would spend on food not to mention the amount of time for each tasting? It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours for each tasting. You have to go on reputation, reviews and feel confident they are a trusted culinary expert in their field. We typically do tastings about a month before the wedding and offer suggestions and then allow the bride to choose two to taste and decide.
Post # 16
@menobride: My situation sounds very similar to yours. We have the official tasting after we sign the contract at which point we will leave a 10% deposit. I’ve been to another wedding there last September and the food was great, but my FI and I plan to make a reservation for dinner there as well.
@macgal06: I agree. It must be pretty time consuming to prepare for the tasting and as someone who loves to cook myself, I can’t imagine doing all that hard work for someone who isn’t truly interested or who isn’t serious about booking the venue. In the end, it is a 5 star restaurant, and the reputation, as well as the fact that I’ve been to another wedding there before, has me feeling pretty confident!