Selecting a wedding venue for your reception can be an overwhelming task. We’ve taken the legwork out of your search to help you find the perfect location for you and your groom.
1. Hotel Plazas & Ballrooms
Today’s hotels run the gamut with stunning interior design and panache, making it a breeze for couples to find one that suits their particular theme or personal style. Most luxury hotels will provide everything you need for the wedding reception (linens, stemware, dance floor and entertainment setup), as well as appoint coordinators to assist in organizing even the smallest detail.
Good to know:
Hotels can book months—even years—in advance, and depending on your wedding guest list, these exclusive services can get pricey. Typical reception costs include food and beverage fees per person, valet accommodations and various service fees—all separate from the site fee.
Some hotels also restrict the use of outside catering companies or work exclusively with a select list of vendors, limiting your choices for photographers, bands/DJs or other special event companies.
2. Private Homes
Using a private home for your wedding venue certainly has a more intimate feel than receptions created in a larger space. Here, you can really let your personality shine— without decorating restrictions or limits on hiring particular vendors.
Good to know:
Having your wedding venue at home may cut out some of the miscellaneous costs associated with renting a private space. However, celebrity wedding and event planner Sasha Souza recommends hiring a special team to bring in party supplies and help with setup.
Souza also informs that holding your wedding reception at a private property will require you to rent tables, chairs, silverware . . . everything, which will have a much higher rate of expense.
3. Banquet Halls
Banquet halls can accommodate as many or as few people as your reception guest list allows. Often the most sought-after banquet halls are ones with a romantic atmosphere, breathtaking views of city skylines, or those in close proximity to waterfronts and other scenic areas. Another selling point: banquet halls usually include setup of tables, chairs and other party supplies in the site fee.
Good to know:
Like hotel plazas, banquet halls can book far in advance, which means the wedding venue might not be available on the day of your reception.
Depending on the day of your wedding reception (weekends being the most popular), your minimum food and beverage fee can cost anywhere from $8,000 and up.
Other logistics such as guest parking and/or valet service may also incur costs not associated with the rental fee for the venue.
4. Outdoor Pavilions
An outdoor wedding venue provides an effortlessly romantic setting. The lighting and landscape displays a natural ambiance that’s often recreated for indoor receptions. Plus, taking your celebration outdoors gives you plenty of space for entertaining guests.
Good to know:
Depending on what part of the country—or world—you’re located, temperatures may vary. For example, if you’re planning a Georgia wedding in the middle of July, you might want to rethink using an outdoor venue.
While you can’t predict the forecast too far in advance, Souza recommends providing outdoor tents or booking an indoor venue in case you need an indoor space. Outdoor wedding receptions also require portable bathrooms, which can cost an extra $800-$3000 per day.
5. Church/Municipal Auditoriums
Churches and municipal halls are typically the least expensive of wedding venues to rent, allowing couples to book for a flat fee, Souza says. These public facilities include an on-site selection of items you’d normally procure through a rental company. You also can bring in anyone you'd like [caterers, florists, assembly crews] to do the job. Unlike outdoor wedding venue, indoor public facilities come equipped with a number of restrooms for guests, and you won’t incur any of the incidental rental fees that you could have with holding your reception on a private property.
Keep in mind, these venues are a blank slate. Souza advises couples that church auditoriums often need a lot of decor, so you’re responsible for bringing in lighting, candles and any other decorative accents to create the ambiance you desire.
Even though tables and seating are included in your rental fee, a downside, Souza warns, is they may not be in the best condition due to constant use.
Food is the cornerstone of any celebration, and what better place to commemorate your wedding than at your favorite restaurant. Most fine dining establishments offer large party rooms for wedding receptions and can arrange a special menu with dishes of your choice.
Good to know:
The "look" of the wedding venue is already in place, so be sure to select a location that you love for its fare as well as its decor. If you select a restaurant in a popular area (downtown, riverfront, town square, etc.), parking may be an issue and you’ll want to hire a valet service or reserve a nearby parking lot for your guests.
Also, if you’re not renting out the entire wedding venue, more than likely you’ll have to share common areas such as the bathroom and main bar with other patrons.
No matter what you choose for your wedding planning, the space should always reflect your personality, put your guests at ease and create an atmosphere for making memories to last a lifetime.