A facility director is like the man behind the curtain at the reception. Because he often works for the facility, he is your go-to person should anything go awry while you're enjoying your celebration. Be sure to get a list of his responsibilities and confirm his attendance at your wedding before you sign the contract. If the facility itself pays him, you should not have to pay extra for this service.
Generally speaking, there's always a service charge for the food and beverages. The average is usually 20 percent of the food and beverage bill. Ask your contact at the reception hall about tipping on top of the service charge. Typically, if the bar is hosted, the bartenders won't accept tips. If it's a cash bar, ask about the standard tipping protocol.
Some venues will expect you to use their caterers and florists. Know that you can sometimes avoid this, but at a hefty cost. Normally, you have to pay a fee to the house caterer for not using it, in addition to paying your own caterer.
Many museums have restrictions about the types of alcohol that can be brought in. Red wine might be a no-no, as might mixers with serious staining potential. Also ask about having candles. Flames are not always a welcome element in places containing storied art.
No matter where your wedding is, find out if you need to hire an extra person to take care of constructing and deconstructing the wedding set. Sites will normally cover this portion of the program for a fee. If your wedding is in a backyard, offer to pay the florist and the caterer extra to help out.
Reception halls generally allow you ample time for this. But with museums, galleries, theaters, and stadiums, inquire early and often about how much time you have. Occasionally they won't permit a setup until the public hours of operation are over. For instance, if a gallery closes at 5p.m. on a Saturday and your reception begins at 7 p.m., that will pose a severe time crunch.
If you've booked the reception at your favorite art museum, only to be told that flashing camera lights are prohibited near the painting where your fiancé first kissed you, you might want to rethink that location.
If you are using an alternative wedding venue, there may not be sufficient parking. You may have to ask your caterer to arrange for valets for you. Another option is to find a convenient parking lot and ask if you can use it for your wedding reception. You would then have to provide shuttles back and forth to the reception. If your wedding is taking place at a hotel or restaurant, there should be plenty of parking, but there may be a fee.