Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why Wedding Reception Venue is Everything

I know many a bride who accepts her glimmering rock of commitment, proudly prances through the next few months unfazed by her decisions and more or less lets the question of wedding reception venue answer itself. For one reason or another-which will forever be unknown to me-she looks at a few venues, accepts the answers the salespeople offer her and books a venue without doing all of her homework.

I personally believe wedding reception venue is everything and I think it is a matter many brides take too lightly. Think I am overly dramatic? Think again. Here are four reasons why wedding reception venue just might be the most important decision you make as a betrothed couple.

1. Location
Ok. Maybe this is a gimme, but the geographical location of your venue and its relative proximity to your guests is vital. You may have met your future husband at that glamorous resort four hours from your home, but if you honestly don't think your family members and friends can or will make the trip you might want to reconsider it as a possible venue … unless you want to plan a destination wedding and we’ll talk about that some other time.

2. Size
When I was engaged my mother and I visited a stunning banquet room that overlooked one of the trendiest areas in town. The entrance was elegant, the cocktail hour location was fun and exotic, the ceiling-to-floor glass windows offered the perfect atmosphere for the chic wedding I’d dreamed of for years.

The size of the room? Well, not so much. While the contact person told me the room would hold 200 people, my wedding planning instincts told me otherwise. Upon asking for further clarification, she told me that the room would indeed hold up to 200 people, but not if I wanted them all to have a seat and not if I wanted a live band and dance floor. It was hard for me to say no to this almost perfect venue, but since I had a good idea of my overall reception location needs, I realized this particular venue was not for me.

3. Atmosphere
In might be difficult-especially in small towns or rural areas where they don’t often cater to large, extravagant affairs-to find a venue that offers both size and atmosphere. I know. I grew up in a town like this.

In fact, most of the wedding receptions I attended growing up were held in a church banquet hall or similarly-styled room. The benefit to a large, essentially empty banquet room is that you have a clean slate on which to create your ideal wedding backdrop. The downside to this, however, is the sheer volume of materials, lights, decorations and manpower you will need to make the transformation. Keep all of these things in mind when you choose your venue and know that you might need to buy or rent an enormous amount of fabric, tables, chairs, tablecloths, chair covers, lights, greenery and other theme-related decorations to create the atmosphere you want.

4. Perks
Many people were amazed when I told them that the hotel banquet room I booked for my wedding actually cost much less than the traditional “events hall” a colleague had booked the year before. Although I was committed to using the hotel’s caterers, a side-by-side comparison of the two venues showed a bottom-line savings of close to $2,000. The reason? The perks.

Many venues include the use of flatware, dishes, glasses, serving platters, tablecloths, napkins and even chargers and candles in the cost of their rental. Others don’t. It is important to know what your money is buying before blindly assuming that a lesser-attractive hall is cheaper than a hotel banquet room or villa. Other perks can include guest parking or valet services, wait staff, dance floors or use of greenery and tapestry.

Have you booked your wedding reception venue yet? What were some of the most important things you looked for when making your decision?

Photos courtesy of Mikol_Ice and Sparlingo

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