Indian wedding at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, in the Rose Garden.

Wedding Venue Vocab Decoded

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Header Photo: Courtesy of Lin and Jirsa

Attrition Rate:
¬† the percentage of the number of ¬†rooms in a hotel room contract that you’re financially obligated for. It usually varies between 80-90%.

a. the contract is for 100 rooms
b. the attrition rate is 80%
c. only 75 were occupied

You’ll be responsible to pay for 5 more rooms, even though they were never occupied.

Banquet Seating: When catering managers say “banquet” style seating they’re referring to what you and I call a reception – tables and chairs in a ballroom or space, with 1 chair for each person. The reason this is important is because they refer to reception as what we would call cocktail hour -mostly standing room with high cocktail tables. (scroll down to theater style seating to see seating t a ceremony).

Indian wedding reception ballroom at Hotel Irvine
Photo: Global Photography

Bar Packages; 2 types:
a. consumption –
pay for the consumed drinks
b. per person unlimited – pay an upfront set price per person and everyone enjoys unlimited drinks throughout the event.
Venues offer different package grades, usually: standard, deluxe, and premium. As you can imagine each package comes with a selection of beers, wines, and spirits.

The majority of South Asians select consumption bars because there’s a significant enough number of people who don’t drink or won’t drink enough to justify the per person fee.
The rule of thumb is 7; if each person has 7 or more drinks, it’s worth it to pay the per person fee. Otherwise go with consumption.


Photo: Aaron Eye Photography

Chafing Dishes – a metal pan with an outer pan of hot water, used to keep food dishes warm. Most venues provide chafing dishes, so that caterers don’t have to lug all that equipment with them. But not all do, so clarify.

chafing dishes setup for a wedding reception
Photo: Lin and Jirsa

Charger Plates: Decorative plates on which no food is actually served. Serving plates are stacked on top.

gold charger plates and purple napkins at Indian wedding reception
Photo: Lin and Jirsa

Chiavari Chairs – popular decorative chairs. Most venues do not include these in their package. Instead the package includes the venue’s standard banquet chairs and standard garden chairs used for ceremonies. Check our chiavari chair guide.

Chiavari chairs setup for an Indian, Hindu, wedding ceremony outsoors
Photo: Wedding Documentary Photo + Cinema

Courtesy Room Block – the hotel sets aside rooms and offers them to wedding guests at a discounted rate for a certain amount of time. Most hotels set aside 10 at a time. Guests call or book online, using the unique booking code the hotel provides. There’s no financial obligation to fill any of the rooms. Rooms booked after the booking deadline may not get the special rate.
If you need more rooms, once a majority have been booked the hotel may release more, based on availability.

FYI, room sales aren’t handled by the catering department. Your catering manager can intro you to their sales rep to help you.

Indian wedding at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, in the Rose Garden.
Photo: Lin and Jirsa

Food and Beverage Minimum (F&B min)- the minimum revenue a venue expects to make when selling their function space for an event. Assume the F&B min is $30,000, dinner is $45 per person and there are 300 guests.
($45)(300) = $13,500 applies towards reaching the $30,000 minimum with $16,500 left to go.

Typically, the¬†per person meal fees and anything one can eat and drink, applies towards the minimum. So the bar and cake (but not cake cutting). Parking and hotel rooms do not apply. some venues allow the per person lunch fee to apply and some don’t.
The food and beverage minimum must be met, before service charge and tax are applied.

Photos below: VEK Photo

In & Out Privileges Рrefers to the ability to park-leave-return to the venue without paying for parking upon each entry. Most venues only allow this for cars in valet. Some exceptions may be made for weddings/events Рdiscuss with your catering manager.

Indian wedding baraat. Girls getting bosted into the convertible
Photo: Wedding Documentary Photo + Cinema

King’s Tables: long, rectangular tables, often used for family and bridal party seating at receptions. Sizes vary. Usually they seat 12 or more. We’ve seen some for 32!

The ballroom with purple lighting, setup for an Indian wedding reception.
Photo: VEK Photo

Overlay – a decorative accessory linen. It’s smaller than the table linen and is a layer on top of the table linen. Most venues include a couple options of table linens with their package (usually basic colors like white, ivory and black). Overlays are considered an upgrade and can be acquired through a decorator. Instead of using overlays, most people just get an upgraded table linen from their decorator that matches the color theme.

Porte Cochere-a covered entrance large enough for cars to pass through. Typically this is at the front of the hotel or wherever the valet is. The reason it’s important to know is because often the baraat will start or end there.

Cocktail hour at an Indian wedding reception
Photo: Aaron Eye Photography

Reception: When catering managers say ‘reception style’ what they’re referring to is what you and I call cocktail hour – most people are standing, a few high tables scattered and very few seats.

Room Block Contract–¬†Anytime a large volume of hotel sleeping rooms are needed, the hotel will set up a contract vs. a courtesy room block. A contract guarantees you have the rooms and locks in a rate. It also comes with a financial obligation. Most hotels’ attrition rate is between 80-90%. That is, 80-90% of the rooms in the contract must be filled in order to not pay a penalty. A courtesy block only gives you about 10 rooms at a time. The hotel may or may not release more than 10 rooms, depending on availability, so there’s no guarantee your guests can stay at the hotel. Additionally the rate in a courtesy block is subject to change.

archway for milni
Photo: Global Photography

Service Charge and Tax: When you see this ++, next to dollar figures, ¬†it refers to service charge and tax. It applies to almost everything on the wedding day: ceremony fee, lunch, the bar, outside catering fee, food and beverage minimum. Most venues don’t include these charges when they quote pricing. Make sure to ask whether fees are $X ++ or inclusive.
outside catering fee for the reception = $45++ per person
service charge = 23%
tax = 8%
The per person reception comes out to: $59.78 when service charge and tax are taken into consideration.  
($45×1.23)(1.08) = $59.78
Service charge and tax add thousands of dollars to the final bill – so don’t get blindsided!

Service charge rates vary across venues, from 12%-24%.
Tax rates are based on the current rate at the time of the event.

Photos below: Randery Imagery

Sleeping room = what you and I call a hotel room. Hotel people don’t say hotel room because for them it could mean a lot of different things – ballroom, meeting room, hospitality room etc. They’ll understand what you mean if you say ‘hotel room’ but you’ll often find they say ‘sleeping room’.

Staging – the stage for the couple’s sweetheart table and a mandap/archway. Most hotel venues set up the stage and the “skirting” for it. Your decorator will handle the rest. If you don’t need a stage let the catering manager know, as more people can be seated when there’s no stage. Plus they take time to set up, so if it’s not needed that’s less labor for the venue and your decorator.

Photo: Aaron Eye Photography
Pink and Purple mandap setup on a beach for an outdoor Hindu wedding ceremony
Photo: Randery Imagery

Standard Dance Floor vs. upgraded dance floor – most venues include their standard wooden dance floor (left) in their package. White and other specialty dance floors (right) are upgrades that can be sourced through decorators.

Photos below:
Global Photography
Greycard Photography

Standard Linen-Most venues provide table linens in their packages. Most venues have a limited color selection typically, white, ivory and black (left). Other colors can be sourced through decorators (right). Some people use the standard linens and dress up the table with charger plates.

Photos below: 
Aaron Eye Photography
Greycard Photography

Sweetheart Table – Traditionally this is a decorated table set up for the bride and groom for dinner and to enjoy the reception program.
Indian wedding photography and decor
Photo: Greycard Photography

For most South Asians the term is used to refer to the stage that’s set up for the bride and groom at their reception. Venues need to know whether you’re going to have a stage because it occupies space and impacts the number of people that can be seated in the ballroom and because it takes time to set up. The venue sets up the stage and your decorator does the rest.

An Indian bride and groom posing for a photo at their sweetheart table at their wedding reception.
Photo: Greycard Photography

Theater Style Seating: this refers to chairs arranged next to each other, in rows . Usually theater style seating applies to wedding ceremonies.

Photo: Global Photography

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