Why You Should Have a Bistro-Style Wedding
By Raashka Mannie

03 August 2021

Your wedding on a silver platter? It's not just possible, it's preferred.

Bistro weddings are all about being chic. With the right venue, ambience and styling, they turn into flawless affairs that make your big day as dreamy as you'd first envisioned. Typically, it's the wedding reception that takes place at the bistro - but don't let that deter you. You can plan your bistro wedding however you please if the restaurant and time permit.

A bistro wedding is a wedding held in a restaurant. Drawing inspiration from Europe, they're typically warm, elegant gatherings with the added convenience of on-site catering options, seasoned staff and a setting that you adore. With the upward trend of micro weddings throughout the country and globe, bistro weddings are growing more favoured due to how relaxing they are. The easier to plan and execute, the easier it is for everyone involved - including you.

One of the most important things when it comes to weddings, of course, is the food. Bistro weddings grant you the great privilege of a special day with a professional kitchen adjacent, ensuring that everything served is one heavenly mouthful after the other. If you're considering hosting a bistro wedding, then you've come to the right place.

Image by Chasewild Photography


It's easy-peasy to cater

So the nitty-gritty of wedding planning comes down to the details, we all know that. It's not just your menu or the guests to think about, but the cake, the pastries, the beverage list, the non-alcoholic options, the passed hors d'oeuvres - everything. When you put together a checklist for the whole shebang, it can seem daunting. That's the beauty of a bistro wedding: so much is already taken care of.

With bistro weddings, you're choosing from pre-set menus or, in some cases, talking to the talented in-house chefs about something bespoke. You can even mix and match what you want if you're really keen on it. If your wedding venue already has an in-house pastry chef, they may be able to take care of the wedding cake for you, too. If not, however, check with them to find out about something as important as the slicing fee, so you're not taken by surprise when all is said and done. You can also go with something less traditional than a wedding cake, such as flan, malva pudding, tiramisu or any other delights that the restaurant specialises in. Who said a wedding cake has to be a cake?

As many restaurants already have liquor licences and their own selection of drinks, taking care of this will also be a cinch. That said, as we've mentioned, the devils in the details: inquire about corkage fees, beverage packages and more. There are the options of a buyout, open bar, bar tab and dedicated servers. Whatever you choose, it's essential you're crystal clear with your wedding venue about the beverages. They will have plenty of options for you.

Image by On The Times Photography


It's got style, it's got flair

It can be the entire wedding or just the reception you're holding, but it's all got to be done to reflect you as a couple. Luckily, restaurants are well-established when it comes to ambience and décor. It ends up being a massive money and time saver because you're spending less effort and cash on piecing together an entire look for your big day.

Restaurants come with a set space, furniture, décor and more. You won't have to worry about rentals, from transporting them to setting them up, as it'll be done and dusted. Now, this 'ready-to-wear' nature may put some off when they tend to see it as impersonal or boring - but that couldn't be less true. You can make your bistro wedding venue your own. You can still bring your own sense of style to the whole day. It is your wedding after all.

Chat to the venue manager about what they allow. Maybe you can add a hanging installation that you love, or maybe you want to add bows to the chairs. String up twinkle lights if you're permitted, or have flowers bursting from every corner. Whatever your dream is for your bistro wedding, all you have to do is ask. You can make the space your own within limits, which is a helpful way to save money, time and energy. As a definite plus for some, it also stops you from going overboard.

Image by Jennifer van Son Photography


It's meaningful

Now, this may not apply to everyone, but it can certainly apply to very many. One reason bistro weddings grew in popularity to begin with was because of the nostalgia factor. Did you have your first date at this restaurant? Is this where your partner proposed? Did you pass it by one afternoon and stop by for the most incredible meal of your life? Maybe this restaurant is the only place that makes your favourite dish just the way you like, or maybe you've been dreaming of dining there since you first set eyes on it. No matter what it is, there can be something significant about having your wedding at a venue that holds a special place in your heart for whatever reason.

Sentimentality plays a considerable part in wedding planning, so don't pass up on the idea of a bistro wedding just because it's not the most traditional idea in the book. Some restaurants have private dining options, whereas others allow exclusive hire for special celebrations. You can have a day that feels entirely yours in a venue that means the world to you. Trust us, your guests will love it.

Image by Zahn


It's easier on your budget

Your wedding planning and wedding budget go hand in hand. It's almost like they're married themselves. Bistro weddings are not the type of wedding day to break the bank. As we've covered, there's less strain due to the décor, furniture hire, catering and drinks. Still, that doesn't mean you should look at bistro weddings as a way to cut corners or grab an unrealistic deal.

Given that many restaurants have a turnover of at least three tables per evening, your wedding will have to cover the amount that the restaurant owner is giving up by not having those tables available. This is especially true of restaurants that are allowing exclusive hire of their space. You can find out if the restaurant has private rooms for your reception or ceremony or if they allow partial hire.

As with most wedding planning, timing also matters. If you choose to have your bistro wedding on a weekday during a slower time, you could be looking at a reduced price for the venue - but this all depends on the restaurant. There will be clear cut things to iron out with the coordinator, such as a minimum spend, deposits and more, so factor this in as you plan your bistro wedding.

Image by Pilkingtons


It's (usually) got parking and the works sorted

This may seem like something most people don't consider - because it probably is. At the end of the day, the guests you're inviting have to park somewhere, don't they? Restaurants tend to have dedicated parking on-site for everyone to use as they toast to your love, which is one less thing to worry about. However, while restaurants outside bustling metropolitan areas generally have this dedicated parking, there is always the risk that they don't. And what about restaurants in the previously mentioned bustling metropolitan area?

In that case, there could be nearby lots, street parking or parking centres for you to look at. The important thing is that you inform your guests, so they aren't slapped with a sudden fee for the day. Alternately, so you're not slapped with a sudden fee, ensure that your venue doesn't charge extra for any on-site parking. 

Additionally, another thing to keep in mind is restroom availability. It's vital to make sure the amount the restaurant has is proportionate to your guest list. While restaurants are usually pretty on the ball with this, you could be holding your bistro wedding at some cute, kitschy space and forget to check on the bathroom situation until it's too late. You don't want to be in the middle of thanking all your loved ones as they wait in line in a dimly lit hallway with their phones out. A neat pro tip from wedding coordinators is that having one stall for every twenty-five guests is ideal.

Image by Teller of Tales Photography