Now that I’ve said I do, I can reflect!

Being an event coordinator for 5 years, I have learned the ins and the outs of the event industry. From prices of staffing, decorations, liquor, linens and food, I know it all, have been quoted on it all and have seen it all! That being said, although my advice to ALL brides has been to cut corners, for it is only one day, I still managed to spend more on my perfect day than I ever thought I would. Do I regret it? Not one bit. Could I have cut more corners? Probably not.

It isn’t about what you get, it is about negotiating prices and knowing that the hall you are looking at usually wants you more than you want them! Just remember they have their minimums too! Here are the top 5 ways you can cut corners at your wedding and ideas that saved me thousands.

1) Let the hall choose your date. As funny as that sounds, when I went to look at and found the hall of my dreams, they had 2 dates open in 2014…..being a new venue in MN they were quite popular, quite expensive and quite, well, perfect. It was Oct 2013 when I decided that I had to have the hall. I asked for open dates and they spit out 1/4/14 and 12/27/14. That was the only two dates they had open. Once again, knowing how hard it is for a hall to book an event 2 months prior to a wedding (especially with 5 digit rental rates) and just opening in the summer, I told them I would take 1/4/14 if I got a promotional rate. They negotiated one in which I was happy with. Although getting finances in order in 2 months was hard, I just happened to book the right place at the right time and was flexible. They are now booked every Saturday until Jan 2016……. Letting the hall choose your date allows them to pick a harder date for them to book and for you to get a better deal.

2) Skip the cake. Although the cake may make a wonderful picture, skip it and save hundreds. We went with a candy bar (which may have been just as expensive as a cake), but then we went with cupcakes. After 10 compliments on the cupcakes I came clean and said we got them from Walmart. .50 a piece, you can’t go wrong! I did look at a much more expensive place, with cupcakes to die for, but at $3 a piece, I was talking about a $500 increase just for the expensive ones!

3) Find out the catering prices first. Although the hall may seem cheap, get a quote for the food and staff FIRST. I wish I would’ve taken my own advice again on this one. At Maple Tavern (where I coordinate weddings), we don’t charge for staff (except $75 for a bartender). Just like serving staff, my staff makes minimum wage and relies on tips. Sometimes given and other times not, just like they would get serving. Don’t go to a place that is going to charge you insane prices for staff. Try to negotiate BEFORE putting any money on the hall.

4) Don’t rent your decorations unless you don’t have time. Don’t go to a decoration specialist. The most reasonable place to get décor is usually the hall itself. At Maple Tavern, we have reasonable decorations that we don’t charge an arm and a leg for. I look at some decoration places and it is UNREAL what they charge. I understand they have a business and need to make money, but know that unless you are renting something large, you can usually get a deal on décor elsewhere (for example, I listed my décor on craigslist). I am selling it for 1/4 of what I bought it for! I wish I could have found what I wanted on craigslist, but I did get coupon after coupon and make 100 trips before getting them all! (I also had many crafting nights) So I probably saved hundreds by not renting.

5)  Don’t go to a big box place. Completely opposite of where you want to shop, when it comes to picking a hall, don’t go to a big box spot unless you have the money to do so. If you choose a corporate company, they are going to have more rules and regulations to tie you down. They have their own corporate rules and can’t bend too far to help you out. Find the hidden spots. Pick a spot no one has been to or heard of. You may not want your local legion, but MANY spots are found by looking and asking around. Most companies who can afford to advertise on the major wedding websites, spend too much money on advertising and can’t afford or are too busy to give discounts! Don’t look on the huge sites, google like crazy and find a local place!

So how much of my own advice did I take? I took 3 out of 5 of these items into heart and saved a TON. Am I still sticker shocked from all of the expenses? YES (hall, food, dj, photo, limo, cupcakes, decorations, hair). However, it was perfect, a dream and every bride should get to say this after their h

My perfect wedding

My perfect wedding

uge day.

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Where can I find sports and entertainment in Maple Grove?

Here at the Maple Tavern you have multiple options for your sports and entertainment fix. At the Maple Tavern there are 11 tv’s to watch all your favorite sports teams. Bring the family in to watch the game of your choice and Kids Eat Free all day, everyday. We have a Beer Pong league on Monday nights as well as beach volleyball courts coming next spring. Get your beach clothes ready and get ready for some outside entertainment! There are also on going specials for your Minnesota sports teams such as a free hot dog and chili station at half time of the Vikings games, buy a Wild pint for $6 with a beer poured for your taste buds and receive $3 beers with that pint glass throughout the whole game plus more! Check out the Maple Tavern off of County Road 81 and Country Road 30 and take a look at www.mapletavern.com for upcoming events and specials.

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4 Reasons to Try a New Restaurant

Although there are many perks to visiting a restaurant numerous times a month, there are just as many, if not more, reasons to try out something new! Although it is nice to always get your same seat in your normal restaurant and saying hi to your favorite server, it can be rewarding to try a new place and meet a new group of people and staff. Here are just 4 of the hundreds of reasons why tonight you should get out and try a new spot.

1) Different spot, different specials! Although you may know that your favorite chain restaurant has 1/2 price this and that on this and that day, you may not know that another restaurant is offering you a FREE item or that their special is just better tasting than your normal spot. For example at Maple Tavern in Maple Grove, kids eat FREE ALL DAY EVERY DAY!! Even if it is just once a month, trying a new spot will show you specials that other restaurants are offering that you might not know about.

2) Meet new people, make connections! Whether your job requires new connections or not, meeting new people is always rewarding and beneficial for personal growth. Going to new places means that you are sure to meet a new server, new management and even new guests. Meeting new people in your community will help you learn what other things are going on that you might not know about! Be sure that if you try out a new place, you attempt to make conversation with your server or host. Find out who usually frequents the establishment and what they do to help out your community!

3) Try something new for variety! Alright so you have made the leap to try a new place out, now be even more bold and try something new! The best person to ask what the restaurants most popular item is your server! For example, at Maple Tavern our most popular item is our boneless wings, but our server might suggest our signature peanut butter burger, which is the talk of Maple Grove and Osseo! Most places have an item that they are happy to show off to new guests and you may be surprised at what you are missing out on!

4) Future planning! Making new connections and trying a new place is sure to help you in your future outings and adventures. When someone asks you, for example, if you have been to Maple Tavern, you can be quick to reply, yes they are located on County Road 81 and County Road 30. They have amazing burgers and kids eat free all day every day. Being knowledgeable about places in your community makes you seem more community oriented. This also allows you to really gauge whether your chain go to spot is really that special!

So whether you decide tonight to go to your local restaurant or try something new, just keep this blog in the back of your head. Be bold, be adventurous and get out! If you would like to be adventurous but have questions about Maple Tavern in Maple Grove, please email us at info@mapletavern.com and see what we can do to make your first outing here special!

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5 Tips to a Successful Sports Banquet

Sports banquets are very meaningful to not only the individual athletes, but the team as a whole. Having an end of the year wrap up/celebration really is important to show the team what they accomplished and learned over the course of the season. It is also the time where you highlight the growth and accomplishments the team has achieved, as well as set new goals for the next year. Whether you believe in giving out awards for everyone, or awards to just those deserving, it is a great time to make the athletes feel like they spent the year accomplishing something important as a team. While planning a sports banquet, it isn’t about the money or even the food, it is about being together as a team one last time. These five tips help make your sports banquet one to remember.

1) Make it feel like your team. Sounds like an easy thing to do, but going to a pizza joint won’t accomplish this. You really need a private room with pictures of your team and team colors surrounding you. For example, at Maple Tavern in Maple Grove, they match their napkin linens with your school colors. If you are the Maple Grove Crimson Softball Team, they will have crimson and gold napkin linens on each table, making it really feel like your team’s event. If you are the Osseo Orioles, the room will be filled with orange and black napkin linens. All year you preach about teamwork and being a team, why not have the room feel like a team.

2) Don’t make it expensive. Although many athletes may have been able to pay their season dues and buy equipment to make it through the season, doesn’t mean they can afford caviar for their end of the season banquet. Most parents do all they can to attempt to put their children through sports, but paying $100 per family to attend an end of the year banquet may not be in their budget. Try sticking to under $20 per person or less, including tax and gratuity. Many sports even pay for the athletes to attend with fundraising throughout the year.

3) Go to a place that appreciates the athletes as much as you do. Don’t attend a place that you are going to be in a room with 50 people you don’t know. Have a private space with private servers. Go to a place that supports your team (through program sponsors, etc.). Show them that if you support them, they will support you. For example, at Maple Tavern they sponsor through sports banners, programs, booklets and donations. They also give all of the athletes free pop at their banquet. Choose a place that supports you and support them!

4) Make sure you go all out. By going all out, doesn’t mean you have to have tons of awards. However, take the time to put together little things. For example, put together a team slideshow highlighting the team. I caution however to try to keep it under 15 minutes. Feel free to put in individual pictures (especially on individual sports), but try to keep it feeling like a team and keep it short. Also, have the seniors (or if it is a younger team have the coaches) put together fun recognitions; hardest worker, always on time award, always makes you laugh award, etc. This allows those important team players to really feel like they made a difference.

5) Celebrate. Celebrate the accomplishments and the season! Try to encourage those who had a rough year to come out again and make the next year even better! Encourage off season practice by handing out things that athletes can do for fun! Don’t stress on anything that went wrong during the season for you can’t go back and fix it. Just celebrate what went right, whether it be big or small!

With these 5 tips, you are sure to have a successful sports banquet! If you have any more questions about a sports banquet or would like to book one at Maple Tavern send an email to banquet@mapletavern.com.

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Live Entertainment

We here at Maple Tavern have all kinds of live entertainment. Our Maple Grove restaurant has live bands every Friday, and patio music Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday evening during the summer. Our deck is the place to be during the summer. We have ample seating, and the outdoor music is wonderful! Inside in Saturday nights we have a DJ spinning all of your favorite music. We clear out a dance floor for those dancing fools. Vingo is another fun event that we do at our Maple Grove bar on Tuesday nights. It is music video bingo hosted by DJ Bob with Party Unit. It is a great time with drink specials and prizes. Oh and I almost forgot, it is FREE to play!

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7 Tips for Planning an Amazing Class Reunion

As the summer approaches, so does the time for class reunions! Whether it be your 5, 10 or 50th class reunion this is the time to show off (or attempt to show off). Whether it be to catch up with old friends or make peace with the class bully, class reunions can be fun and exciting! They can also be hard to plan! Whether you are the class president, or take it upon yourself to plan one, the reward will pay off, I promise! Follow these 10 tips, to help you along!

1. Pick the date. Although this seems like an easy task, this may be the most important. Summers are the most popular, but can be difficult for many to come. I have found that many class reunions we hold, are around the time of city events. Maple Grove Days, etc. This is really helpful, for many people enjoy coming to town on this day and there are many activities for those with children to come and attend! Some suggestions include: Don’t pick a holiday, be sure to pick a Friday night or Saturday (for Sundays aren’t always accommodating) and decide whether you want a one day affair or two!

2. Keep it affordable. You may have a dream job, the perfect family, etc., but some of your classmates may not. Although many people would love to have a hotel class reunion where all of the guests pay $50 to eat, party and then pay $150 a night to stay, many people (and families) may not be able to afford that. If you keep the cost $25 or under, this will bring in more people and allow more room for fun activities! In order to do this, you will need to really price out your location. For example, at Maple Tavern we have a $500 minimum for a Friday night. This means you only have to spend $500 on food to have the room for free! So do the math, if you have 100 people, you could charge as little as $5 per person and have a private room and bar to yourself!

3. Check your connections! At Maple Tavern we have a full stage for a band. Reach out to your classmates and see what they do for a living and for a hobby. You would be surprised at all the connections they have! For example, there is probably one of your classmates who has a band or has a family member in a band. Most will play for free or a small amount! Don’t spend a $1,000 on a dj or band. Reach out on facebook and ask for suggestions on entertainment!

4. Plan something out of the ordinary! Plan something that people want to come back for! Have a hypnotist, photo booth, etc. Your venue should have suggestions and connections to some amazing entertainment. Even planning some sort of contest will be sure to bring more people out! (Recreate your senior awards or see if they line up with where people are now!)

5. Presell tickets. Preselling tickets allows you to get an accurate count and to make sure that you can plan for food and activities. It is somewhat difficult to get money at  the start of the event and this will cause less of a headache the day of! It will also allow you to book the room and book entertainment, for both usually require a deposit.

6. Plan for families. A really cool class reunion we had actually had a daycare booked for an event! This allowed those with children to go out and have a good time and not worry about what they will do with their children!

7. Plan ahead. Although your 10 year might not be until next year, start to plan it now! At Maple Tavern in Maple Grove, we only require a $150 deposit to hold a date (and you can even change the date)! Holding the perfect date, means planning ahead!

With these 7 tips, hopefully your planning is a little less stressful and more exciting! If you have questions or would like to book your class reunion with Maple Tavern send us an email at banquet@mapletavern.com!

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5 Tips on Hosting a Successful Benefit

Maple Tavern has had the pleasure and opportunity to host many benefits, also known sometimes as fundraisers, that have helped numerous people and numerous causes. The difference between making $50 and making $50,000 is the way you plan, organize and run the event! Here are 5 tips that have seemed to help those planning a benefit at Maple Tavern be successful!

1) Have the benefit on a Sunday. The majority of our successful benefits have been on a Sunday. This seems to bring in the largest crowd of people, for many people have obligations on a Saturday and weeknights are hard on families. Also, on Sundays people seem to be more generous and willing to help a cause they support.

2) Feed your benefit guests. Your guests are obviously not at the benefit to eat, but charging them admission and giving them a meal is the best way to make them comfortable. This will keep them content and hopefully have them spend more money and stay longer. This is especially true for families! You can also make money on this meal. For example, at Maple Tavern we charge $8 for our pasta feed. If you charge $20 and sell 200 tickets, you will make $2,400 in tickets alone!

3) Check around for what pricing will be. Make sure when you are booking that there is not a room fee, bartender fee, linen fee, etc. Make sure you know all the commitments and prices before you put a deposit down. Also, be sure to check the bar prices. Maple Tavern has always had all day happy hour on Sunday, so make sure before booking any benefit you check the prices of drinks. For places with good drink prices, we have found, will keep people staying longer and spending more money on silent auctions and raffles.

4) Presell Tickets. If you presell tickets, it will allow those who can’t attend to be able to still buy a ticket. This also helps if the weather turns out to be crappy that day (darn Minnesota). It will be very helpful as well when it comes to giving a head count for food.

5) Plan, plan, plan. Make sure you have people help you collect silent auction or raffle items. This can be a hard task for one person and can be rewarding for other people to help out! Plus, you would be amazed at who your connections have connections with. Make sure to check with corporations about donations! Major companies LOVE helping out and many are willing to donate, whether it be cookies or gift cards!

Maple Tavern would love to help you plan a benefit, whether it be for a charity or a personal family member. For more information, please email banquet@mapletavern.com!

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6 Ways to a More Affordable Wedding

The average American wedding seems to be on the rise every year. If you are like me, you can’t imagine or afford for that matter, a $25,000 wedding. Even if I could afford a $25,000 wedding, I don’t think I would want it. To me, spending that kind of money, for one day, is a lot. I’d rather have a car. There are ways to cut back on the “big day”, even though when shopping around, it may seem impossible.

1) Wedding Dress

According to Wikipedia (yes I am sourcing Wikipedia), the average wedding dress costs a whopping $1,075! $1,075 for a dress? I know you will get hundreds of pictures in that amazing dress, but then what? Could you imagine spending $1,075 on any outfit that you will wear for one day? Once you get sucked into a bridal shop though, $1,075 seems like a steal after looking at the other prices. My advice? Pick the dress of your dreams at a chain store, and then shop around on-line. You can save over 60% on a used dress. If you don’t feel like wearing someone else’s dress, don’t worry. There are many brides out there that can afford to purchase 3 dresses and they typically just wear one! There are also brides that have canceled their wedding, but are stuck with their $1,075 dress, that you can get for $400. There are also the thrifty shoppers out there that find their dress for $20 at Goodwill…I’m not that thrifty, but that would be amazing.

2) Ceremony

Your ceremony itself can cost $2,600. For those (like my Catholic self) that would like to get married in a church, things add up quickly. The church may be affordable, but items like decorations, musicians, flowers, etc. adds up fast. If you don’t desire to get married at a church. Look at having your ceremony at your reception hall. They may charge you $200 for a room flip, but in the long run it is a lot cheaper and it is already decorated.

If you decide to have your ceremony at a church, don’t spend money on the little things (bows, flowers, singers, etc.). A church is beautiful on it’s own. If you are getting married at a church, you must realize that and the only focus should be you and your significant other.

3) Reception

If you want to feed everyone a full meal, but can’t afford it, scale back your dinner guests. I deal with brides weekly that want to invite everyone, but can’t afford to. Invite your closest family to the intimate meal and your friends to the after party. Don’t attempt to feed everyone on your small budget. If you only have $2,000 for your reception, you can choose to do a small intimate dinner, or appetizers or dessert for everyone.

Make sure to check with your reception hall to see what their minimum is. At Maple Tavern in Maple Grove www.mapletavern.com/banquets/ we have a $1,500 minimum. That means that you have to spend at least $1,500 on food (or decorations) to have your wedding on a Saturday. Most places have a $5,000 or even $10,000 minimum.

Be careful though, because that doesn’t mean you can feed everyone at their venue for just $5,000. Look at their prices and check all of their fees. Make sure you aren’t being charged for items you don’t know about (plates, room fees, water glasses, service charges). It is always smart to ask for an estimate bill before booking a room. This will include all charges for X amount of guests.

A lot of community centers will have outside caterers. These caterers have to usually pay the community center a fee or percentage to have other food brought in (and alcohol). For this reason, their fees are a lot higher (for it costs the catering company more time and more money usually). It also costs you a room charge to hold your event at their communtiy center. Keep all of these in mind, before putting a deposit down. It will usually save you money to have your reception at a hall where the food is catered in house.

4) Decorations

It is amazing how quickly things can add up for decorations (chair covers, centerpieces, etc.). There are many decoration rental places out there, but be careful, for it may be cheaper to buy them yourself online or at a consignment shop. A lot of venues, like Maple Tavern, will buy those decorations back from you to save you the time and money. This can save you hundreds, maybe thousands on decorations. There are many venues that can also do the decorating for you. Check their prices and decide if the money and your time is worth purchasing them from the venue. Many brides prefer it, for it is one less thing they have to do on the big day.

5) Dessert

We all want the big wedding cake that can probably feed 500 people, but make sure to once again figure out if it is money well spent. If your wedding is at a banquet hall, like Maple Tavern, they will allow you to bring in an outside bakery certified cake for no fee. There are many places that you can get amazing cupcakes that are more reasonable than buying plates, forks, napkins, a knife or paying a “cake cutting fee” to have. If you are set on a gorgeous cake, just take a step back and see how much it will cost you in the end. Divide it by the number of guests you have, and see how much per person it is costing you. It may or may not be worth it. Many couples also are doing a mini cake for themselves and cupcakes or sheet cakes for their guests. Also ask yourself, the last wedding you were at…what kind of cake did they have?

6) Bar

For many different couples, the conversation about a bar at their wedding can be a big fight. Some feel the need to purchase all their guests alcohol, others do not want any at their reception because of family drinking or beliefs. Obviously it is a big money saver to just have a cash bar at your wedding. Check to see if the bar offers “happy hour” pricing during certain hours. Maple Tavern for example has happy hour all day Sundays (which many guests are having weddings on Sundays because everything seems to be more reasonable) as well as 3-6pm everyday. Having a “cocktail” hour would be very reasonable from say 5pm-6pm in those cases. $2 drinks with 200 guests would only cost you about $400 if everyone had a drink.

Many places though have very high fees for kegs, alcohol, etc. This is where many venues make a bulk of their money. Just be sure to check with your reception hall about all of these fees before making your deposit.

 

At Maple Tavern we strive to make your wedding the day of your dreams, at a price that won’t haunt you for the rest of your life. If you have any questions on how to make your wedding more affordable, or would like to see how reasonable your wedding at Maple Tavern could be email me at banquet@mapletavern.com!

Host the Event Everyone Talks About!

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Maple Tavern Weddings

Maple Tavern is busy booking weddings for 2013 and 2014! Maple Tavern currently has 26 upcoming weddings. Maple Tavern is located in Maple Grove, MN and is a gorgeous place to hold your wedding reception and/or ceremony! Maple Tavern’s reception venue holds 235 people and has a private entrance for all of your guests. You can find us on The Knot as well as many wedding venue websites. You can also see many wedding photos at www.mapletavern.com under our banquet section. We have reasonable prices to have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank. For more information, please email banquet@mapletavern.com!

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Summer is here!

Come on out and enjoy this beautiful summer we are having at Maple Tavern.

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