13 May

5 Tips for Choosing a Reception Location

Weddings are all about two things: the dress and the location. Hit these two nails on their heads and no one will remember how bland their chicken entree tasted or how your bestman made a fool of himself during the speeches. So, how do you pick the perfect place for your once in a lifetime party? Here are 5 essential tips.

1. Size matters

You’re unlikely to underestimate how much space you’ll need, and most locations are familiar with their own capacities. That doesn’t mean you can’t over do it when it comes to space, easy to do when you’re shopping empty venues and imagining a room full of friends and family.

Over estimating size needs can make the wedding feel empty, lackluster, and awkward. So hitting that happy medium is really important. We suggest playing Goldilocks, ask the venue to allow you to briefly visit a wedding that has an attendance comparable to the one you anticipate. You’ll know at a glance how the room is handling the body count, and you’ll get a better idea of where certain elements can be set-up.

2. Anticipate the flow

When you’re shopping locations, consider the 3 major activities that each reception space needs to accomodate. Eating, drinking, and dancing. Try to picture the logical space for each activity, and ask yourself questions about how their placement will affect the party’s flow.

Is access to anything unusual or overly complicated? Is there ample luxury space or will only certain guests be able to see out windows, enjoy vistas and breezes? How about line of vision to your table? Are there beams running from floor to ceiling that could prevent visibility? Remember, everyone will want to feel close to you and your new spouse, and if they can’t sit at your table they will at the very least want to watch you celebrate.

3. Public or private

Getting married on a beach at sunset is romantic, as long as you don’t mind the other beachgoers. The level of privacy you require from your location should represent how significant privacy is to you both, as a couple. If you’re the kind of duo who likes to find the shady, uninhabited sections of the park you probably don’t want to get married amid a bustling crowd.

Knowing in advance that you may end up enduring someone’s loud bass, cigarette smoke, or unbecoming attire is the first step to deciding which locations you can automatically rule out.

4. Light for the mood

You wouldn’t want to share your first dance in wedded bliss beneath fluorescent tube lighting, but your guests may have trouble dining exclusively by candle light. So, it’s important that your location can accommodate the nuances of lighting a celebration requires. Dimmers, dance strobes, well placed over-heads with golden hues, these are all important to consider before you commit to any space.  

Windows are also a big part of lighting, if you’re celebrations will start during the day (which they usually do) booking a spacewith ample windows will make sure your guests don’t feel like they’re being held captive in your reception dungeon. Make sure you’ve seen your chosen location in the light of day, and not just in the evening.

5. Plan for parking

Imagine each and every person you invite will be driving to the wedding in his or her own vehicle. Will they be accomodate by your location? Is valet parking offered for relatives and friends who might have trouble walking through a lot? Is the valet parking service free? Is the self service parking free and if not is there a way to provide special pre-paid parking to your guests?

The ease with which each person at your party can come and go is a matter of class. Show refinement by ensuring you have considered everyone’s experience from start to finish, not just your own.

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