Choosing a wedding reception location involves more than just making sure all your guests can fit comfortably into the space. This location is where the majority of the wedding day festivities will take place so there needs to be enough room to accommodate eating, dancing, socializing, and all the other fun activities that happen at receptions like cutting the cake and throwing the wedding bouquet.
Many couples choose larger-sized hotels or function halls for their wedding receptions because typically, everything they need to pull off this memorable event is right there on-site. As an added bonus, these types of wedding reception locations usually include the services of a wedding coordinator who will work with the couple to meet their every need. And the great thing about having a reception in a hotel is that overnight accommodations don’t require any extra planning.
Selecting the wedding reception location as soon as possible is highly advisable, especially if you need to accommodate a large number of guests and especially if your wedding will be held during the busy season. Although you do not need a firm head count, you will need an estimate. A medieval castle on a lake may not accommodate 250+ guests. Also, determine your wedding reception budget beforehand as this likely will have an impact on your wedding reception location options. You may want to consider arranging your wedding off-season when rates on reception locations will typically be much lower.
You will be required to make a down payment to reserve the space and date and this typically will be non-refundable. You’ll want to make sure you understand the cancellation policy as it may involve more than losing your deposit. Also discuss arrival and departure times to make sure all the elements you have planned can be accommodated during this timeframe.
Besides the types of venues already mentioned, plenty of other wedding reception location options are available, and they’ll each vary in terms of space, price and amenities, so it’s important to pay close attention when visiting the ones you’re considering. Smaller gatherings can be held at places such as at home, a museum, a botanical garden, or a park. Although these may be smaller in size, the details will still need to be coordinated by someone so don’t forget to ask for help, even if that means hiring a wedding coordinator.
When you’re looking at wedding reception locations, try to plan out the space, much like you would if you were buying or renting a home. Where will dining and dancing take place? Where will the guest book and place cards be located? Is there a secure area for wedding gifts? Will you need a stage for your musicians? Are there electrical outlets for the DJ? Your photographer will want to know about the lighting and whether there’s a suitable location to take wedding party photos. Is there a way to control the temperature? If the reception will be outdoors, you’ll need a back-up in the event of uncooperative weather, which may add to your costs.