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Choosing a Reception Venue

Nearly 40% of your entire wedding budget is going to be spent on your reception, which can be a scary thought. But that is unmistakably something you will want to keep in mind as you are setting the budget for your complete wedding and selecting what you can afford.

Today's weddings are about personality and creativity. Put some consideration into this when planning your wedding reception. The theme and style you hope to reflect will dictate the sort of wedding venue you choose. Your choices are numerous; hotel ballrooms, banquet halls, country clubs, historic sites, museums, or parks. Different sorts of wedding venues set the stage for specific styles of receptions. So before you chose a location, decide the style of reception you would like to host. Deciding on the site of your wedding and reception is an essential choice to make.

Locations for Wedding Receptions

Private Property

The backyard of a friend or family member will contribute to making your reception a very personal affair. By setting up a tent, dance floor, chairs, tables, lighting, you can transform a backyard space into a beautiful event venue. It can also be a financially beneficial option. Of course, the weather will be a serious consideration when planning an outdoor reception of any kind. So we will need a backup plan if your wedding reception is outdoors.

Rustic Setting

An old barn can make a beautiful rustic wedding reception location. The open floor plan of a barn allows a wide variety of layout options. Barns are usually quite large, creating a barn reception an excellent choice for couples with a large number of wedding guests. Many barns that are used for events have been fully restored and are equipped with modern amenities and can offer many possibilities for a great reception.

Local Attraction

Hosting your wedding reception at a local landmark, such as a historical town spot, an area museum, or a large aquarium, can make your wedding festivities unique and unforgettable. Choose a location that carries a special meaning for you and your fiance or select an exciting place that celebrates the town where you are hosting your reception.

Country Club

A more traditional wedding reception option is a country club setting. You can make it an exquisite reception venue. Country clubs allow couples to rent space for their reception, regardless of the couples' membership status with the club. One of the benefits of hosting a country club reception is that most cities have excellent restaurants on-premises, which will eliminate the problem of finding an outside catering company.

Beachfront or Lakefront

If your wedding will be during a warmer month, why not have your reception on the water? A beautiful sunset over the water will add to the overall romance of the evening. You could also consider having a lakefront wedding reception. You would still be able to enjoy the water and the beautiful sunset over the lake.

Next Step

You have now decided on the type of venue you would like to use. Before you get in your car to start touring wedding venues, there is one more thing to consider - capacity. No matter how beautiful a place may be, if you anticipate 250 guests, cramming them into a facility that holds 150 will quickly turn an elegant affair into a mob of angry guests! Most reception websites make seating capacity information readily available. Make sure to find out the capacities for the type of wedding reception you are envisioning (seated dinner, buffet, cocktail reception, etc.). There may also be different capacities based on the setting with or without a dance floor.

Find as many venues as meet your initial criteria. You may want to search for wedding venues and services at Little White Book, Here Comes The Guide and Eventective to find sites in your area. The more possibilities you check out, the higher your chances of finding something that meets your vision and your price. Then when you have narrowed your choices, schedule appointments to tour each venue and meet with the event manager.

Things to Consider While Touring Venues.

  1. Make sure the decor of the venue is accommodating to the theme and style of your wedding. If it is not, can it be altered with decorations?

  2. Check to see if the reception site has its own catering service. If they do, dine on a test menu to see how the food tastes. You may decide for some reason their catering services do not meet your needs. Will they allow outside catering services in their venue?

  3. Ask if they have a liquor license. If they do, ask if you can supply your own alcohol or if they must supply it. It is usually cheaper to provide your own, if possible.

  4. Find out their deposit, cancellation, and refund policies.

  5. Check to see if there is a limit to the decorations you can use and also the cleanup policy. Many sites will have their own staff available for cleanup for an additional fee.

  6. Drive around the venue to make sure there is adequate parking for all your guests.

  7. Check to see if there is sufficient space and the proper equipment if you are planning on using a band or DJ at your venue.

Time for Negotiations

  1. The most successful negotiations take place when you are supplied with all the facts. Make sure you have gotten quotes from a venue's competitors before your consultation. A wedding venue is far more likely to want to work with you on the price if you remain firm but pleasant throughout the negotiating process. Remember the phrase "you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar?" It applies when negotiating, also.

  2. If you are flexible on the date of your wedding, venues may offer deep discounts to you if you are willing to hold your wedding on a holiday weekend or a Friday night. Ask the venue management if they can suggest a particular date which will offer a discounted price.

  3. Be sure to ask what is included with the quoted price. Get the venue to itemize the quoted price so you know what you are getting for your money. Often, a site may be offering items that you are not interested in or that you need. If that is the case, ask the management if you can exclude those items in the package details until you reach a price that meets your budget.

  4. Look for hidden fees. Many venues may try to charge you for cake plating, unused alcohol, additional gratuities, and other add-ons that you shouldn't have to pay. Have them explain each and every part of the quoted price. Then ask if they can subtract any fees that seem unessential.

  5. Be sure you are speaking to the person who can help you best. If the venue representative doesn't seem to want to help you in reaching your budget, call back or visit on a different day and ask for the manager.

I hope you have found this information useful in planning your reception for your ideal wedding day!


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