Choosing the right venue for your wedding reception is one of the most important parts of the whole planning process. You want to make sure you choose a venue that’s going to accommodate both your needs, and the needs of your guests. Each venue is unique in what it offers whether it’s a hotel ballroom, legion, or a convention centre.
Before you start shopping around, here are five things to consider to help you with your quest.
First and foremost, you and your partner need to determine how much you’re willing and able to spend not only on renting the venue itself, but on food, audio visual needs, and miscellaneous décor. Some venues provide all of these items at an additional cost, so it’s good to have an estimate on each before diving in.
Choosing the right location is key! Is the venue close to where the ceremony was held? Is it close to the hotel where the majority of your guests are staying? Think about the travel time it’s going to take to get your guests from one location to the other. If your guests are drinkers, they won’t want to drive so consider the fact they might be taking a taxi or public transportation. For those who are going to drive, you need to ensure the venue you choose is equipped with enough parking to accommodate your guests.
Wheelchair accessibility is also a factor to consider. While the friends and family members you addressed your wedding invitations to might not be handicapable, their plus one might need that type of accessibility.
Of course you want to make sure the venue you choose can hold the capacity of your desired amount of guests, but there are a few other things to consider when it comes to the layout. Is there a private room for the bridal party to leave their personal belongings? Is there a space where you and your groom can wait in before you make your grand entrance? Will there be space for dancing? Is there a separate area for cocktails?
If you’re planning on having your reception in the same venue as your ceremony, you need to find out if there are two separate spaces to host each event, or if the venue staff has the capabilities to do a flip of the room in between.
Venue Equipment & Services
Some venues offer everything you need from linen rentals to catering, while others only offer the room itself. Find out exactly what the venue’s capabilities are and request a cost breakdown for each service or equipment they offer. You might think table and chairs are standard supplies a venue provides, but sometimes these items can only be used at an additional cost, or they need to be rented from an outside vendor.
Determining what your venue offers is important, but finding out what their restrictions are is just as crucial. Some venues don’t allow outside catering, or they only allow catering to be brought in by their own approved list of vendors. Some venues also don’t allow for food or baked goods to be brought in by an unlicensed establishment. If you’re planning on asking your aunt to make her famous homemade cupcakes for your dessert table, you’ll want to find out the logistics around it in advance.
Candles are another thing that some venues have restrictions around. If you’re planning on hosting your reception in a museum or an art gallery, there’s a good chance you’ll need to go with LED candles for your table décor. No flames allowed!
Now that you have a better idea about what you’re looking for and what questions need to be asked, choose at least three different venues that have your preferred reception dates available, and book a walk through with each facility for you and your groom to be.