Of all the places you could have your wedding reception, do you want to choose to have it at a restaurant? There are definitely pros and cons.
Of course, first, whether or not this is a good idea depends on what restaurant you choose. There are some that are very good at this caliber of event. There are some that don’t have the first idea what is required.
It also depends on your expectations. If you are having a quiet luncheon for 15 close family members, many restaurants are capable. If you want a full-blown wedding reception for 150 with a DJ and a dance floor, there are many fewer places that can handle that level of service.
One of the advantages of having your wedding reception at a restaurant is the possibility of saving money. Restaurants are often a less expensive way to cater a large party. They rarely have a room charge, or, if they do, it is nominal. They also provide tables, chairs, linens, dishes, glassware, and silver as part of their package. Because they own all the furniture and serving pieces, you don’t pay a separate rental rate for them.
What you often give up for the price is the high level of service that most wedding caterers provide. In my experience, wedding caterers are more responsive than restaurants. They can also be more flexible. They are accustomed to working with very demanding clients. A restaurant may or may not have those qualities. If you are thinking of having your reception at a restaurant, this would be a good thing to find out before you decide.
I worked on a wedding reception once where the bride didn’t receive any kind of contract or receipt from the restaurant after she made her payment. It was worrisome because she had specific contracts with all the rest of her vendors. The restaurant was completely above board and the reception went off without a hitch. They were just treating her wedding reception the same way they treated all of their reservations. They didn’t see the need for any more paperwork. That is not what you’ll find with a full-service caterer.
So, is it a good idea to have your reception at a restaurant? That’s up to you. I’ve worked at some wonderful restaurant receptions. I’ve also seen some of the drawbacks. Just be sure you know what you’re getting into before you make a commitment.