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Choosing The Perfect Wedding Reception Location

Nov 17, 2007
Even in areas where reception sites are plentiful, the most popular sites are often reserved more than a year in advance. The wise couple will reserve their reception location before making other plans. Many couples have found it necessary to choose their wedding date based on "availability" of the reception site. Couples have also found that it is often much easier to book a reception on a Friday or Sunday. Some facilities will even offer special discounts/incentives for receptions held on days other than Saturdays.

When it comes to finding a reception site, there are many types of facilities from which to choose. Hotels, catering halls, country clubs, and restaurants are some of the most popular sites for receptions. Other sites often used for wedding receptions include clubhouses operated by organizations including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, athletic, ethnic clubs, service organizations and university unions or even museums. These venues range in capacity from intimate parties to grand affairs. These various facilities also range in style from extremely casual to the utmost formal, keep in mind prices vary greatly too!

When choosing a facility the bridal couple must first determine an approximate number of guests to be sure the location can accommodate their needs. Budget and location are the next factors to consider, followed by preferred ambiance and other special desires.

Reception site managers all agree that the first piece of advice they make to couples looking for a reception site is to know their budget. Only when financial limitations are known can further details be planned. For those on a tight budget, the church hall is a favored reception site, usually available at little or no cost and offering convenience when held immediately following the ceremony.

Other things to keep in mind when searching for the perfect reception site is whether the site can accommodate parking needs, dance space and music requirements. What are the policies on beverages, food and catering services, time restrictions and decorations? Are tables, chairs, linens, silverware and other accessories provided? Check on rental fee, deposits, and date guarantees.

It is important to view the facility before making any final decisions. Looking around, asking questions and if possible viewing the facility when it is set up for a similar type of reception will assure that the couple will be happy with their choice. Once a decision is made the couple should discuss any special needs they or their guests may have with the banquet/site manager. The day of the wedding will be too hectic to deal with any of the details and when the couple arrives at the reception, it will be time to celebrate!

Alternative ideas to the traditional reception site list can include city, county and state parks, or one's own backyard! While some parks have shelters available in case of inclement weather, others rely on the rental of tents as shelter. (Since each park has their own restrictions and rules, it is vital that the couple knows well in advance, what they can and cannot do).

The use of a tent combines the feeling of the great outdoors with protection from the elements. Tents come in a variety of styles and can play host to a casual event or elegant gathering. Rental companies can supply beautiful white tents with French window sidewalls, dance floors, lighting, tables, chairs, fountains and more to provide a breathtaking atmosphere for any celebration. Tents are available in many sizes; some can even accommodate over 2,500 people! Professionals in the tent rental business can help choose the size and style that will be best for the event.

The great outdoors also provides many options in food choice from picnics to formal sit-down dinners. Caterers can be hired or the do-it-yourselfer can turn to rental companies for food service equipment and portable bars.

When choosing an outdoor venue there is one more thing to keep in mind, the need for restrooms. Some companies that carry portable restrooms will rent them for special events. Companies that specialize in the business may surprise many. Their units are clean and can come equipped with flushing toilets, sinks, mirrors and lights, providing all the conveniences of an indoor facility outdoors!

Indoor or out, reception guests look forward to food and refreshments. And indoors or out, professional caterers offer a full range of culinary delights and services. Formal dinners, buffets and brunches can feature a variety of tasty cuisines. Hors d'oeuvres, salads, breads, desserts, pastries and even pig roasts are available for reception fare. Caterers today can satisfy the tastes of any couple, not only for receptions, but also for rehearsals and showers.

Many facilities may be under contracts with specific caterers. This means that when a reception facility is chosen, the facility may dictate who will provide the food. If a facility is chosen that lets the couple choose their own caterer; there are a delectable variety of caterers to choose from.

Caterers can be found in the phone book, online, at wedding shows and by asking friends and relatives for their suggestions. Word of mouth definitely has meaning here. When calling around for prices and menus, a couple should also ask about sampling before making a final decision. Some caterers specialize in the business, while others can be part of a restaurant or food market who will go off premise to cater. With such a variety to choose from, there is certainly something for everyone's taste!
About the Author
Rebecca Sherman is an editor at ModernWeddingPlanner.com. Try our online wedding planner to keep your wedding organized.
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