wedding reception venues
The stage is set. The night is beautiful. As you and your new spouse walk into the room a smile beams across your face. Hand in hand, you stroll past all of your guests and see that all of your details are perfectly in place. As your happiness bubbles over you quickly realize none of this would have been possible without choosing this amazing venue.
Selecting your reception venue will be the biggest challenge of the wedding planning process. Take your time in finding the venue that will not only make for breathtaking pictures, but will set the tone for all of your friends and family. Overwhelmingly, when your guests reflect back on your wedding, they will picture your reception. Because of this, you will want to find the perfect venue to express your personalities and make your guests feel as comfortable as possible.
The reception -- the high point of the wedding celebration -- should be an expression of the couple and the appreciation they feel for their guests. It’s the time when the spotlight is truly on the couple. Of course, the dresses, flowers, cake and dinner are also sharing some of that attention, and choosing the right venue to feature it all together should be the first step in the entire planning process.
The best venues feature the finest combination of location, convenience, service, and ambience. Look for each site’s individual style characteristics. The worst reputation any venue can earn is that of a cookie-cutter operation. No two couples are alike, and a wedding has to be a very personal presentation. Many facilities book one or more years in advance, so prepare yourself to change your date based on facility availability.
The primary factors to consider in choosing a site are: budget, the number of guests, location preferences, and any sentimental value a certain spot holds for you as a couple. Popular sites for receptions are hotels, clubs and event facilities because they offer the convenience of having everything: food and beverage; tables and chairs; china, glassware and flatware; linens, and special lighting.
For something different, consider museums and historic mansions, which can provide a dramatic backdrop for the reception. An intimate feel can be accomplished by utilizing several different seating areas in smaller rooms. Often, sites like these are available for your guests to tour, another way to keep them entertained; allowing them to socialize among the artwork which will spur great conversation.
Country inns, city parks, libraries, and chartered boats are also excellent, more unique options. An outdoor wedding in the simplistic beauty of a garden, park, or the backyard of an elegant home can be stunning.
You need to determine if it’s going to be a small or grand affair, calling for a ballroom or a spacious lawn or a quaint bed and breakfast. Or, will it be more intimate, such as in a favorite restaurant, a loved one’s living room, or a penthouse of a boutique hotel.
The service staff, parking, and guest accommodations should also be taken into consideration. Often, servers work in teams of two to ensure that guests are served thoughtfully and efficiently. Review the troops; if you want your servers to look a certain way by all means you can request that long hair is pulled back, that make up is subtle and that you prefer no jewelry.
When it’s all said and done, you need a venue that will effectively set the mood for the entire celebration, but also one that allows for your guests’ comfort and convenience. Providing ample parking or valet service and air conditioning in the reception facility contributes to your guests’ enjoyment of the celebration. Look for a site with more than one set of restrooms, and make sure they’re accessible; also note the power capabilities (your DJ or Band will need it) and whether or not the site is safe for children if they are on your guest list.
For any venue, there may be restrictions on decorations that you can use, or the type, duration, or volume of the music. Also, ask about different restrictions regarding food, alcohol, smoking, music, and hours of operation. Ask about setup and cleanup times: can you set up the night before? Are cleanup services provided?
Plan the timing of the events so that the caterer will have enough time to set up or break down the celebration. Ask if there are any other bookings at the same time or on the same day as your wedding; if there are, make sure that your event will be private and separate from the others.