The Reception Venue
|Published: 26th October 2008 01:44|
There are limitless places where you can hold your reception, from your own home to a castle or stately home.
The choice of reception venue is affected by many things - budget, location, availability, to name a few! This is one thing you need to think about very early on, as it effects almost every other decision you make. Many popular choices for a venue can get booked up months, and sometimes even years, in advance, so as soon as you have set a date you need to start looking around.
If you are unsure whether you are having a church or civil ceremony, then you may be able to find somewhere that will do both the ceremony and the reception, but if you already know you want a church wedding then you need to book this first, quickly followed by the reception venue. There will be slightly less of a rush if you are planning on holding the reception at home, although you will still need to book marquees, chair hire, extra toilets etc if these will be necessary.
The type of venue that appeals to you will very much be dependent on your personal tastes and whether you are planning on having a themed wedding - it would be slightly pointless booking an historic building or castle if your plan is to have a 70's style wedding. Start by researching what venues are available within a certain distance of where the ceremony will be and then eliminate any that obviously don't fit in with your theme.
It is best to spend some time visiting various venues and getting a feel for the place - you need to know how many people will be attending both in the daytime (especially if you are planning a sit-down meal) and in the evening. If it is to be a small wedding, eliminate anywhere that is large, as you and your guests will feel uncomfortable if you feel that you are "rattling around" in a room that is too big. Similarly, if it is likely to be a large wedding, going for somewhere too cosy could prove uncomfortable for everyone.
Cost is obviously another deciding factor - you may well fall in love with the venue of your dreams, but if it costs too much it will need to be eliminated from your list (unless you are prepared to make other sacrifices, such as drastically reducing the number of guests invited).
If a venue ticks all the practical items on your list for size, location, cost etc but otherwise leaves you cold, consider whether this is something that could change with effective decoration, for example flowers and balloons. If necessary, try to take a look around before another wedding party arrives, to get a feel for how the room could look if suitably decorated and prepared. Remember too, that many companies provide covers for chairs and linen hire, so if the furniture is dated your wedding doesn't necessarily need to be!
Hotels are often a good choice, as there is obviously on site accommodation for both you and your guests, and some hotels will offer a discounted rate to members of the wedding party, or a room for the bride and groom on their wedding night. Compare the cost of rooms with other local hotels though, so that you can give your guests a choice for every budget.
The other advantage of having your reception (and a room) in a hotel is that you will be able to use your room to freshen up throughout the day. Believe me, attempting to use a public toilet if you have a wedding dress that is even slightly full is not easy - something to consider also if you have a marquee and portaloos!
Every other part of your wedding will be affected by your choice of venue - for example, do they have their own DJ or can you book your own, will you have to have their caterers, is there a corkage fee if you provide your own drinks, will they allow fireworks etc. Use the checklist below to make sure you don't forget anything important, and add anything else you think of....
- Will you have the venue to yourself or will other people be using it?
- What is the capacity of the room or rooms, for both a sit-down meal and an evening reception?
- Do they have a dedicated wedding co-ordinator to handle all the details?
- What are the various packages available? What food packages are there? Do they do drinks packages?
- How much do the various packages cost? Will they fix the price once the venue is reserved or might it be subject to change? Does the price include VAT?
- Do they have a bridal suite? Is this included or extra? How much?
- How much are rooms for guests? Is there a discount available?
- Do they have attractive places where photographs can be taken inside and outside?
- Are there any restrictions on what is allowed, eg fireworks, decorations, music etc?
- Do they insist on a particular DJ?
- What time on the day of the wedding will you be allowed access for decorating, cake delivery etc?
- Is there enough parking?
- Is there disabled access (if necessary)?
- Do they have a drinks package? How much does it cost? Is there a corkage fee?
- Will there be access to outside areas (weather permitting)?
- Is it safe for children? (eg are there ponds, water features etc)
- Is there a bar and how expensive are the drinks?
- Is there a time by which the reception would need to be over?
- If you are staying overnight, what time do you need to leave by the following day?
- Do they have a secure area to store wedding presents?
- Do they have a Master of Ceremonies?
A reception is held as in Roman times the marriage was not legally binding until the couple had shared bread together.