Your wedding reception location is one of the most important – if not THE most important things you have to plan for your wedding. It is, after all, where you and your guests will probably spend the majority of the time. It should reflect what you want your wedding to feel like, and should come at a price you can afford. Things to consider when choosing your wedding reception location are:
Will people have to drive a long way to get from the ceremony to the reception? If that’s the case, know ahead of time that some will get distracted or decide to do something else. If possible, try to keep the wedding reception location within a 15 to 30 minute drive of where the ceremony is held. If it is not possible to get a reception location close to your ceremony, and it’s in your budget, arrange for transportation to the ceremony location from the wedding reception location and back – that way people can park at the final location.
Timing is very similar to distance. If it’s too far or too long, people lose enthusiasm. If your wedding reception is set to start several hours after the ceremony ends, many of your guests will get distracted by doing other things and then won’t show up for the reception. It’s courteous to your guests to start the wedding reception within an hour or two of the ceremony. If you’re planning on taking lots of pictures with the photographer, consider doing a First Look instead of ditching your guests for four hours in the middle of the afternoon. If you don’t want to cut your wedding cake at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, would it be possible to have a Meet and Greet mixer before your reception? Serve some punch, play some music and get people to mingle. This will be one of the few times that both families will be together!
Consider the size of your guest list when looking at locations. If your guests get to spread out, they will enjoy themselves more. Make sure your wedding reception location has plenty of room for your guests and your planned activities. The people renting the location might tell you it holds 200 people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will hold 200 people comfortably! Make sure to visit the venue before booking. Also consider that some wedding reception locations might be too big for your party. A space that doesn’t feel full makes people feel as if they should ‘keep the noise down’ because something doesn’t feel right. There should be a good mix of places to sit and eat, stand and talk with a beverage and space to dance!
Are you planning on having a summer wedding? Make sure your wedding reception location is air conditioned! If people feel overheated and start to sweat while just sitting down listening to speeches, they certainly won’t get up and dance. They also won’t get down and boogie if it’s over-cooled. Make sure you communicate to whomever has control of the thermostat about the temperature – and make sure it can be adjusted if needed. A wedding reception will tend to be a bit warm while all the guest are there, but as they trickle out during the night the room will begin to cool down.
The coordinators of the facility will no doubt bring up several other things for you to consider when you view the location before booking, but these are often missed items, especially if they don’t favor the potential venue. If you’ve already booked other vendors, you could ask them questions about venues in which they have provided service.