There are three “bigs” that you need to figure out when you embark on wedding planning – the dress, the ceremony, and the reception location. Once you have these three things nailed down, the rest of the wedding planning is easier to manage. There are probably hundreds of different reception locations in your area and narrowing it down to one can seem daunting. But here is what you can do to make your search easier.
To even find reception locations, you can go to many different websites that offer a list of reception venues sorted by price range, location, and user reviews. One great example of a helpful website is The Knot. It is the website I used and my absolute favorite. Other great wedding resource websites include Wedding Wire, Bridal Guide, and My Wedding.
First and foremost – pick a budget and stick with it. This means when you are looking at reception locations, don’t fall too in love with one because you might not be able to afford it. Make a huge list of reception halls and begin contacting each of them for pricing options. Remember – there will be many extra costs outside of the actual rental price. Some sites require you to use their caterer or alcohol services. Linens, tables, and chairs may cost extra. Always ask for a full breakdown of prices before committing to any one place.
Once you have narrowed down your list to locations that you can afford, start planning visits with your favorites. Touring the place in person will cement whether or not you want to spend your wedding day evening there. When you visit these places, you need to look for certain things. Make sure the space is open and roomy enough so everyone can see the dance floor where all activities will be taking place. You don’t want any guests to be isolated.
The flow between eating, drinking, lounging, and dance areas needs to be logical and easy to navigate. If there is any awkward flow in the reception hall, it can ruin the flow or make the reception location feel cramped.
Look at the lighting and make sure it is flattering and romantic. A reception space that is too bright will wash everyone out and ruin the “wedding mood.” However, the room should not be too dark where guests are having trouble seeing their food, let alone what you and your groom are doing.
Two things that many brides do not consider when choosing a reception venue are outlets and acoustics. The caterer will need outlets to plug in warmers for the food and the entertainment will need special outlets to use their equipment. The acoustics in the room should balance well so the music does not echo and everyone can hear the speeches and toasts that will be given. You simultaneously want the music to be able to reach everyone in the venue and not be too loud.
Lastly, make sure there parking is acceptable. Not only should there be enough parking spots for all your guests, the parking should also be easy and convenient. If your reception venue meets all of these checks and exceeds your wedding vision, then the venue is perfect for your wedding reception.