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Finding a Wedding Reception Venue


Your wedding reception venue can make or break your wedding.  But never fear!  Some careful planning can ensure your wedding reception goes off without a hitch! So, what should you look for in the perfect wedding venue?

Is the location right?

Where you host your reception depends on the location of your ceremony, as well as your budget and the size of your reception.  If your ceremony and reception are going to be taking place at one site, such as a hotel, a ballroom is the obvious choice.  For a more intimate gathering, consider an outdoor reception, such as the beach, garden or vineyard.  If you're looking for something a bit different, consider the local art museum, zoo, amusement park or even a paddle steamer.  After you've made your choice, use the location as the foundation for the remaining elements of your party.

Is it the right size?

Make sure the room is large enough to accommodate the number of people on your guest list.  Don't forget that tables, chairs, a buffet, bar, a band or DJ, plus the dance floor will take up a lot of space.  Space considerations are no less important for an outdoor site - you'll still need ample elbow room.  The best way to be sure that the size is right is to view another wedding during set up.  Then you'll be able to see if there is enough room for separate areas for guests to eat, drink, chat and dance.

Is it private?

Be prepared: a reception in a public place, such as the local beach or botanical gardens, will mean less privacy.  Consider how you'll feel about strangers staring, waving or even saying hello.  If this isn't in your grand plan, then find a private venue.  If you're holding your event at a reception centre, check with the manager that you'll have a private area away from the noise of other revellers.  You don't want the groom's speech ruined by a loud karaoke party next door!

Does the décor work?

An obvious consideration, check the look and feel of the style of your proposed reception venue.  While it doesn't need to match exactly with your planned theme, it shouldn't be in harsh conflict either.  In other words, don't choose a venue with gold wallpaper and red carpet if your colour palette is chocolate and baby blue. 

Is the lighting good?

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of setting mood.  If you're marrying during the day, check that your venue has plenty of natural light pouring through windows.  If your reception will take place in the evening, take note of the lighting.  Visit your site at the same time of day that you've chosen for your wedding.  If it's a fabulous room but the lighting is a bit bleak, consider adding candles for romance.

Does the room have a view?

Consider what your guests will gaze at during the reception. Is it a stunning view of the skyline or a blank wall? If there is no spectacular natural view, then take note of the architectural details.  What does the décor look like?  Will that be a feast for the eyes?

Think about practicalities

Make a note of the practical aspects of the space.  Are their enough power outlets?  Are the bathrooms close to the reception room?  And are there enough parking spaces close by for all your guests to park?  If parking is a problem, you may need to make alternative arrangements to get all your guest to the venue.

Check the acoustics

If you're planning on playing music - whether it's a band or a DJ - you'll need to ensure the acoustics are right.  A tile or wood floor will amplify sound, while a thick carpet will muffle it.  Jazz bands will work well in small, intimate spaces or outdoor weddings, but DJs will be less successful.  Also, listen for an echo in the room - this may impair the quality of the music.

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