Food & Drink
17th October 2017
10 Tips for Your Restaurant Wedding Reception
If you’re bored of the usual reception halls, you might want to consider hosting your celebration in one of Malta or Gozo’s fine (or casual) eateries! The island’s your oyster. Here are our top ten tips!
1. YES, SIZE DOES MATTER
The first thing you might want to consider is the size of your wedding. Restaurant weddings tend to be smaller, in terms of number of guests, than the usual reception-dos. But, if you do want a big event, make sure the restaurant of your choice can fit all your loved ones in comfortably. Don’t choose a venue which is too small or there won’t be enough space to mingle. If your venue is too large, the celebration will lose the intimacy you deserve.
2. DIFFERENT SPACES
Just as your wedding will have different phases, so the restaurant of your choice should have different spaces to cater for your various needs. There should be an area where people can mingle during cocktail hour, a restaurant set-up (if you’re having a sit-down dinner) and a dancefloor, for you and your guests to boogie the night away.
3. INSIDE AND OUTSIDE
We are blessed with (mostly) great weather during wedding season, which can extend from spring right through autumn. Try and choose a restaurant which has both an inside and outside area, whatever season you decide to get married. If it’s spring or summer, this will give your guests the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine while giving you the option to move inside should the weather become schizophrenic. If your wedding is planned for autumn or winter, an outside space will add a breath of fresh air to the proceedings. Either way, you’ll get the best of both worlds.
4. A WELL STOCKED BAR
A great restaurant will always have a great bar! Food and drink go together like love and marriage, so speak to the management before you confirm your venue and make sure they stock the drinks you love the most, or the capability to make them. Aperol Spritzer’s, Mojitos or Caipirinha’s anyone?
5. FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
Of course, THE most important aspect of all this is the food itself. Love sushi? Consider hosting your celebration in a Japanese restaurant. Have to have steak? Malta boasts an impressive number of steakhouses! Match your food preferences to the venue and you’re guaranteed and fun (and filling) time. And, don’t forget to request a food tasting session, so you can choose your favourites.
Before you confirm the venue, we suggest you try the place out ‘in cognito’. Go for date night at your top three choices and choose the one which impresses you the most, especially in terms of service. The way they treat you will be the way they treat your guests. Note the sense of courtesy, the speed at which they bring the food out and whether there is a head waiter managing proceedings, aided by a group of experienced staff.
The bare bones of the venue will set the tone for the style of your wedding. You will not be able to rip out carpets and repaint the walls so make sure that the place of your choice reflects the look of your choice. You can add decorative elements to it, such as flowers and lights, but make sure there’s nothing drastic you would change.
If you’ve decided to have a sit-down meal, make sure the venue uses linen. It may seem like a small thing but this can make a huge difference to the style and look of your day. Paper napkins can make the whole thing look very cheap, very easily. This should be included in the price, so don’t accept any overheads.
Ah yes, the source of perennial Maltese angst. Do not underestimate the need for car spaces for your guests. Calculate one car per invitation (though you can always recommend carpooling on your invites!). Many restaurants provide free parking to patrons. Even if they don’t, ask the management for recommendations especially if the venue is in a busy area of Sliema or St Julian’s.
We all know weddings don’t come cheap. But, there seems to be a common misperception that a restaurant venue is a more expensive alternative to a hall, but this is not always the case. Hosting your wedding in a smaller venue is always going to be cheaper, and more value for money since a lot of the expenses can go into making sure the food is top-notch. Also, you can choose to close off part of the restaurant, especially if you’re a smaller group.