Most popular wedding reception sites often book far in advance. As soon as you set a date, you’ll want to start your search for a wedding reception site. If you already have a space in mind, call to schedule a meeting with the site manager to get the process started. Some locations will let you reserve space for a short time without placing a deposit. This is a great option if a particular reception venue has caught your eye, but you still want to keep your options open.
Once you’ve created the guest list, you'll be able to get a better sense of the amount of space you’ll need. Your guests, and any service providers you hire, should all fit comfortably within the wedding venue. Ask about the square footage of the reception sites you visit to figure out how to position tables, serving stations, and the entertainment setup such as the dance floor and space for whomever will be providing music.
Contemporary or classic? Fairytale or no frills? Your location should reflect the style and taste of you and your fiance. If you want to customize the space, ask the site manager if you are allowed to hang decorations from the walls. Ask to review a portfolio of other weddings and events held at the wedding venue, as this can give you and your wedding planner ideas for creating the space you desire.
Outdoor wedding receptions are still a popular choice for many couples. For one, you’re not as restricted to the amount of guests you can fit in one space. Plus, depending on your location, the great outdoors can serve as a beautiful backdrop requiring very little addition to the natural setting.
As much as you want to enjoy your special day without any mishaps, so will your wedding guests. Logistical items such as guest parking, valet service, wheelchair ramps and handicap-accessible bathrooms are all things to consider when booking your wedding venue.
Lighting can make all the difference in setting the mood. Visit your site during the day and in the evening to see how the space looks with its existing lighting. If the wedding venue calls for a more technical setup, turn to a lighting professional to help create an illuminated space. Lighting pros can install an array of overhead and spotlights to highlight areas inside the room (the main table, the dance floor, entryways, etc.). Also, don’t be afraid to use colored lights; they can really add a unique touch.
Some reception halls don’t provide a kitchen area for food preparation and setup. Therefore you’ll have to schedule with your caterer if the food will need to be created in advance, or determine ways to keep perishable items hot or cold.
The last—and possibly most important—detail is to not sweat the small stuff. After all, your wedding reception is one big party and the goal is to find a site where you and your groom can have a good time celebrating your union among family and good friends. Keep this in mind throughout your search and everything else is sure to fall in place.