Planning a Wedding Social Fundraiser

Saturday, February 28

Dj Soundboard

DID YOU KNOW… Manitoba is the only province that has Wedding Socials.  Ontario does have something similar, which they call Stag and Doe or Buck and Doe.  Ideally, socials should be organized by the wedding party, but typically it is the bride and groom and their families that end up doing all the planning.  The goal is to raise money through the sale of social tickets, drink tickets and silent auction. These funds go towards paying for the bride and grooms wedding.  Planning a wedding social can be quite time consuming.   The following is a list to help reduce the stress you may be feeling, or about to feel,  and reduce the time spent in planning, while making sure you have thought of all the little details and asked all the right questions. Let’s get started!



  • What capacity can the venue can hold?
    You want to make sure you have enough space for the amount of people you think will be attending.  But you also want to make sure it’s not too large of a venue where it doesn’t provide that ‘social’ atmosphere.
  • Do they provide a bartender?  Some venues will provide you with the option, while some will insist on having their own bartenders, or won’t have a bartender at all.  Typically they charge by the hour, so if they are providing a bartender, you will need to know how many bartenders you will be paying for.  If they don’t provide a bartender, ask if the venue requires your bartenders to be “Serving it Safe” certified.
  • Is there a corkage fee?  If the venue is providing a bartender and the alcohol, there will most likely be a corkage fee they will be charging per drink or per social ticket sold. Find out if this includes the cost of pre-mix, juice, cups and ice.  If there is a corkage fee, most likely they are providing the alcohol and liquor permit, but be sure to confirm this.  Confirm if you are able to make money on liquor sales.
  • Is insurance required?  Some venues will require you to get a ‘Party Alcohol Liability’ insurance, while others will have their own or may not require it at all. This is an additional expense that you will have to account for, which can start at around $270 in Manitoba. For further information visit the PAL Canada website.
  • What is the deposit?  Most venues will require a deposit for any potential damage or to reserve the date.  Of course, if there is no damage and you have followed their cleaning guidelines, you should expect to get the deposit back.  Confirm when you need to submit this fee by.
  • Can you bring your own food?  Confirm that you can bring your own food for your guests.  Some venues, such as a hotel, will most likely require you to use their own catering service.
  • Other requirements?  There may be other requirements made by the venue, such as security, someone to check the bathrooms regularly, etc.  Be sure to ask if there are any additional requirements.
  • Any extra fees?  Be sure to ask if there are any additional fees. Are the prices you are given including tax, or is that additional?  If you don’t live in the community, they may charge additional fees.  There may also be a Commissioner fee, where they have a Commissioner count alcohol at the beginning and end of the night.
  • Can you have a Silent Auction?  If you are thinking of selling tickets for prizes, be sure to confirm this is okay with the venue.  Keep in mind that some venues may charge extra for having a silent auction.
  • Clean-up – Find out what cleaning guidelines are to ensure you complete those tasks, allowing you to get your damage deposit back.


  • Book the DJ and venue at the same time to reduce reservation conflicts. When hiring a DJ be sure to ask what equipment will be provided, confirm the time they will be there to set up, and ensure the DJ won’t be drinking during the event.


  • If the venue doesn’t provide bartenders, you will need to select the right people bartend.  This is someone you know you can trust, understands the logistics of serving alcohol (mix-alcohol ratio) and won’t be drinking at your social. If the venue requires your bartenders to be Serving it Safe certified, you will need to ensure that they have this certification.


  • You can save money by creating your own social tickets online, through sites such as Vista Print.  Once you have them, be sure to number each ticket.
  • Get your family and friends on board to help you sell your tickets.  Some local businesses may be willing to sell tickets on your behalf, such as a convenience store.  Remember, when handing out tickets for other to sell, be sure to make note which ticket numbers you gave them so you can keep track of how many tickets are sold. Be sure to collect money and unsold tickets prior to your social.  Get your social event on social media!


  • If the liquor permit is not included with the venue, you will be required to purchase your own “Social Occasions” permit, which can be done online or at a local Liquor Mart, but you must first register online as a member. You will want to do this in advance, two weeks prior to your social date should be enough time, but sooner would be better.   Make sure you understand the responsibilities you have when applying for a liquor permit, as there is liability that comes along with this permit.  A liquor permit in Manitoba is $50 for a ‘family oriented event’ such as a social.  They will help calculate the amount of alcohol needed for your event.


  • If you are having a silent auction, finding prizes can be timing consuming.  Ask friends, family members and co-workers if they have any connections or are willing to help you with this.  It’s not uncommon for friends and family members to buy or donate item(s).  Please don’t bother businesses unless you have a connection with them.  Businesses are always being asked for donations, so most don’t donate unless there is a connection such as a friend, family member or business client.


  • You will need to provide some light snacks for your guests.  Typical social food would be a cold cuts or pre-made sandwiches, cheese, pickles and chips.  Of course, you can do whatever you would like.


  • Find family and friends that are willing to volunteer some time for one of the following: collect social tickets, sell silent auction tickets, check bathrooms occasionally, bring out the food, assist with silent auction announcements, set-up, clean-up, etc.  Remember, they too want to enjoy your social, so have enough people where they can take turns.


  • Once you know who will be assisting with duties, determine the time slots and let everyone know where they need to be and when. Figure out all the things you need to do and seek people to help you with these tasks, from pick up’s to day of event decorating.


  • Decorations, poster, tape, scissors, petty cash box, draw tickets for prizes, prizes, pales or paper bags for the individual prizes, marker, pen, stamp (to so people can leave the venue and come back), food, condiments (mayo, ketchup, mustard), napkins, cups, ice, mixes, juice, alcohol, etc.  Be sure to have a list of taxi services available for your guests.


If this list was helpful, pass it on by sharing it!  If planning a social is not something you enjoy or have time for, but it’s an event you would like to host,  let Sharon Webb Events assist you!  If it’s a social for the Winkler & Morden area, Sharon Webb Events has done all the research for you so you don’t have to.  Book a consultation to get all the information you need, or a get a planning package to get it all done for you.