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Wedding Advisor

What is the responsibility of a Ritz-Carlton Special Event Manager?

  • Make recommendations for event professionals to include wedding coordination, entertainment, floral, photography, ceremony officiant and amenities
  • Act as a menu consultant for all food and beverage selections
  • Detail your banquet event orders and wedding resume outlining your event
  • Create an estimate of charges outlining your financial commitments and deposit schedule
  • Create a floor plan of your function space in order for you to provide seating arrangements
  • Personally oversee the details of the bride and groom’s room reservations (if applicable)
  • Oversee the ceremony and reception room(s) setup, food preparation and other hotel operations
  • Be the on-site liaison between your wedding coordinator and hotel operations ladies and gentlemen
  • Ensure a seamless transition to the hotel’s banquet manager
  • Review your banquet checks for accuracy prior to the completion of the final bill

Can The Ritz-Carlton Special Event Manager recommend an officiant, photographer or florist?
Conveniently located near the San Francisco Bay area, Half Moon Bay has access to a wealth of stylists, makeup artists, photographers, florists, designers and officiants. Your wedding coordinator can facilitate and coordinate arrangements with your vendors.

If you prefer to make arrangements with vendors on your own, you will contact, contract and pay the vendors direct. Vendors must maintain a business license and liability coverage (subject to vary), and must receive approval from the property. All vendors must be certified and licensed.

Any vendors you choose to work with must sign The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay Vendor Policies and Code of Conduct, thus agreeing to adhere to all of the policies and procedures listed. The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay is not held liable for any vendors contracted through this list or through recommendations.

What are the responsibilities of a contracted and certified Wedding Coordinator/Planner?

  • Assist with etiquette and protocol for invitations, family matters, ceremony and toasts
  • Create a timeline for your entire wedding day including the ceremony and reception
  • Work with you to organize and coordinate your ceremony rehearsal
  • Remind bridal party of all pertinent “call times” and “don’t forgets” on the wedding day
  • Be the liaison with your family, bridal party, band/DJ, florist, photographer and other vendors to create seamless operation
  • Assist the bride and bridal party with dressing
  • Ensure the ladies have the corsages and bouquets etc., and assist with the pinning of boutonnieres
  • Deliver and arrange ceremony programs, escort cards, place cards, favors and any personal items
  • Coordinate your actual ceremony (line up bridal party, assist bride with dress)
  • Coordinate your reception (grand entrance, first dance, toasts, cake cutting, etc.)
  • Collect any personal items you may have brought at the conclusion of the reception
  • Assist you with full-service coordinating from engagement to your honeymoon

What other services can The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay provide for my event?
The Ritz-Carlton can also provide a wide spectrum of specialty items and enhancements to help personalize your day to include but not limited to: Chiavari chairs, specialty linens, specialty china and menu cards.

Our ladies and gentlemen can also assist you with welcome baskets, amenities and bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts to add a personal touch to your wedding celebration.

What is the average cost per person for food & beverage?
Based on current banquet menus, on average you may expect to spend approximately $300-$400 USD per person for lunch and $400-$500 USD per person for dinner, exclusive of current taxable service charge and current sales tax. These averages would encompass hors d’oeuvres during your welcome cocktail reception, plated or buffet meal, cake-cutting fees, wine service with meal and an open hosted bar service based on a moderate drinking group.

Please be aware that our menu items and pricing are subject to change and your final expenditure will depend on your final guest attendance, menu selections and food and beverage financial commitment.

Can food or beverage be brought in from the outside?
The Ritz-Carlton must provide all food and beverage items for your event. The sales and service of beverages is regulated by the California State Liquor Commission, and The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay is responsible for administration of these regulations. It is our policy that all beverages are to be provided by the resort excluding wine or champagne, which is subject to a $65 USD/per 750ml bottle corkage fee in addition to applicable service charge and tax. The wedding cake is the only food product permitted by an outside vendor.

Who provides the wedding cake?
We understand that the wedding cake is very special and unique to our couples, and we have designated cake vendors for your reference upon request. Cake cutting will incur an $18 USD per plate fee and is subject to applicable service charge and tax. Cake is presented and served to guests on custom decorated plates.

Can you please clarify the food and beverage minimum?
The food and beverage minimum is the least amount of money that you are required to spend in a combination of food and beverage, excluding service charge and sales tax, based on the venue you are utilizing for your event. Please keep in mind that is not all you can anticipate to spend. The food and beverage minimum is reached by selecting individually priced, a la carte menu items to equal or exceed the required dollar figure.

The following are examples of items that would apply toward the food and beverage minimum:

Butler-passed and displayed hors d’oeuvres, carving stations, plated or buffet meal, cake-cutting fees, dessert stations, specialty martini bars, dinner wine service, champagne toast, bar service and non-alcoholic beverage items.

Upgraded linens, china, silverware, specialty lighting and décor, bartender and/or chef fees, parking, guest room accommodations and in-room dining do not apply toward the food and beverage minimum.

How late can alcohol be served?
We recommend that alcohol service be discontinued approximately one hour prior to the end of your function. By California State Law, no alcohol may be served after 1:30 a.m.

When do I need to finalize my menu?
Food and beverage selections must be finalized and confirmed with your Ritz-Carlton Special Event Manager 4-to-6 weeks prior to the date of your wedding. Your final guest count or guarantee is due four business days prior to the wedding or one week with choice entrée selections. This will be considered a guarantee, for which you will be charged even if fewer guests attend the event.

Do you provide children’s and vendor meals?
Complimentary curated menus are available for children ages infant through three years old. Children ages four to twelve can enjoy smaller portions of the contracted guest menu at 50% of the price, or our wedding specialist is happy to work with you to create a custom menu for children ages four to twelve. Attendees ages thirteen and older are considered adults. Chef’s choice of plated vendor meals starts at $85 USD per person and up.

Do you provide a tasting of the food we select? When may I come and what is included?
We are pleased to offer a sample menu tasting for weddings with a food and beverage minimum of $35,000 USD or more. Tastings are offered on a first come, first served basis Tuesday to Thursday 1 to 4 p.m. for up to five people including the wedding coordinator. Any additional guests will be charged at $250 USD per person.

How do I secure my wedding date and venue?
Your initial visit will be conducted by a Catering Sales Manager. They will conduct a thorough inspection of a designated venue and will check dates, space and locations. Upon selection of your wedding date, a Catering Agreement will be prepared and your date will be confirmed upon receipt of your deposit. Your details are then turned over to a Ritz-Carlton Special Event Manager to begin the planning process of your wedding.

Can I host my ceremony only at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay?
Our indoor and outdoor ceremony sites are reserved exclusively for those couples hosting their lunch or dinner reception at the resort.

How late can I play music?

  • The Ritz-Carlton Ballroom: 12 a.m.
  • Miramontes Room/Terrace/Observatory: 10 p.m.
  • Outdoor locations, including North Bluff, Ocean Lawn and Mar Vista Lawn: 10 p.m. 

What are the deposits based on and when are they due?
Deposits are based on anywhere from 25% to 100% of the combined food and beverage minimum, taxable service charge, applicable taxes and rental fees for the event space reserved. Deposits are non-refundable and non-date transferable. The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay requires full pre-payment and a credit card on file for all events.

How do my guests reserve rooms?
A special rate will be contracted for 10 or more rooms. The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay strongly recommends that a room block be arranged for all wedding celebrations. A room block guarantees a certain number of rooms exclusively for your guests.

Can we do a rehearsal for the wedding ceremony?
Your Ritz-Carlton Special Event Manager is happy to arrange a ceremony rehearsal for you and your wedding party. Rehearsal times are confirmed up to three weeks prior to your wedding and set at a time that does not interfere with other booked events. Please contact your manager in advance to arrange. Ceremony rehearsals are normally one hour in length and there is no additional fee.

Where does the bridal party get ready before the wedding?
Many of our brides choose to stay with us the evening before their wedding and therefore have the use of their room for changing. Your florist, bridesmaids and family members may bring any flowers, dresses and makeup into your room.

What are the fees for parking? Can I pay for all guests parking?
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay offers only valet parking. Day and overnight valet parking charges are available (please inquire with a wedding specialist regarding current rates). You may choose to host your guests parking charges by applying the charges to your master bill. Alternatively, they may pay individually.

What is there to do at The Ritz-Carlton and in Half Moon Bay?
Our concierge, resort reservations and recreation departments can provide information on exciting things for your wedding party, family and friends to do. Please call the concierge to make any of the following arrangements:

  • Walk along the coastal trail or a sunset hike
  • Explore the tide pools at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
  • Complimentary bicycles for guests (18 and older)
  • Limited collection of putters for putting green
  • Santa Cruz and Napa tours 
  • Visit to Ano Nuevo State Reserve: A guided three-mile walk to view the elephant seal breeding area. Offered December 15 to March 31, rain or shine
  • Visit to Filoli: Built in 1915 with world-famous gardens, the house and gardens were donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Events for children five years and older may be booked with Ritz-Kids® through our concierge with 24 hours’ notice
  • List of babysitters
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