How to Choose a Wedding Reception Hall

Okay, so you’ve gotten engaged, decided the general area where you want the wedding to be held and are ready to start planning. What now? One of the earliest and most important wedding task that a bridegroom must do is choose their wedding reception hall. For some couples, the wedding reception hall doubles as the ceremony site as well. So why is choosing a wedding reception hall important? This is the venue that the majority of the wedding will take place at. This is where most of the bridegroom’s wedding memories will be formed from. It will be the food served at the location that guests talk about, and the atmosphere that they recall. Choose carefully.

It’s imperative that you don’t settle on one reception venue without considering the other location options available for your wedding first. While Venue A might pop immediately into your head, looking around at Venue B and Venue C as well could open your eyes to what else is available or even give your more ideas of what you want from the wedding reception hall you choose.

Evaluating your desires for your wedding reception hall:

When choosing the wedding reception hall, first identify what your ideal vision of the venue is. Both the bride and the groom should take part in this, as the decision regarding the location is one that will affect both.

Here are some good points to consider:

Personal style: Do you prefer things to be more simple, elaborate, fairytale-like or some other style? Your vision of your wedding day will influence what wedding reception hall you should choose. If the bride and the groom have different visions, it’s important to talk through the differing visions of the location and decide how to effectuate a compromise for the wedding reception hall.

Guest list: Deciding how many people you intend to invite to the wedding matters. This will influence the size of the wedding reception hall necessary. Try to make a rough estimate of how many on the guest list will come as well so that you have a roundabout number to discuss regarding the venue.

Ceremony plans: Where will the ceremony be held? If you are having the ceremony at a separate location, decide how far from the ceremony venue to the wedding reception hall you are willing to travel. Bear in mind that your guests will have to do this traveling too and it’s not nice to make them travel great distances between the two locations.

Timeframe: Between the bride, the groom and the respective families, a timeframe for the wedding needs to be set. If you have a specific date in mind, be sure to run it by everyone. If not, narrow down the time frame to a month and year or a few dates.

Narrowing down the potential venue list:

In order to narrow the list of potential wedding reception hall locations, first you must make it. Populate your potential wedding reception hall location list with all the available wedding reception locations within the area you want to have the reception. Be sure to include venues such as any hotels with the appropriate facilities, country clubs, etc. You might even consider alternate locations like a family member’s backyard.

Now, compare that list to your list of desires. The wedding reception halls that meet all your desires should top the venue list. If that accounts for more than five venues, then you have your full list. If not, evaluate the list for wedding reception halls that meet most of your desires. Ideally you want your pared down list to contain at least 2-3 venues but no more than 8-9 venues.

Once you have your list, make appointments with all the potential wedding reception locations on the pared down list to visit and further evaluate them.

Visit the locations:

When visiting potential wedding reception locations, be prepared. It’s likely that the sales people will try to get you to commit immediately to their venue but it’s important that you stand your ground and see all the venues first. They might even try to tell you that the date won’t be available if you wait. This is usually just a scare tactic.

Choosing a wedding reception hall is a process that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s an important choice. Besides, it never hurts to let them sweat it out a bit because you could end up with extras thrown in to seal the deal.

You should be armed with a list of pertinent questions for each venue and somewhere to write the answers down (don’t forget the pen!). You’ll want to get the same answers from all the potential wedding reception hall locations so that you can go back and compare them later. You may also want to bring a camera and get a shot or two of each venue for your evaluation later.

Sample Questions:

1) What are your pricing packages and what do they include?
2) Do you provide catering services on site? Can we provide our own if we choose?
3) Will you provide the cake or do we need to get it from a bakery?
4) How many hours are included in the venue rental?
5) Is there an additional cost to have the ceremony at the wedding reception venue?
6) How many servers/waitstaff/bartenders will be provided based on our expected number of guests?
7) Is there a bridal suite for the bridal party?
8) Will there be other wedding receptions happening at the same time here as mine?
9) What additional charges are there for additional services such as open bar, valet parking, etc?
10) What is the availability of the venue during the desired timeframe?

Also, when visiting, pay attention to the staff’s behavior. Make sure that they make you feel comfortable, particularly the sales person who’ll be helping you plan and organize the reception details with respect to the location. The wedding reception hall that you choose should have attentive staff who make you feel comfortable and who are willing to work with you.

Choosing the wedding reception location:

After you’ve visited all the locations, compare the information you’ve compiled and decide which venues still meet your wants and desires.

If there are several venues that you liked and meet your needs, it’s time to narrow the selection more. This can be done by making lists of pros and cons of each location. Consider the cost, inclusions and the visual aspects of the wedding reception hall location. Also include the feelings you had about each place. Was it comfortable? Too formal? Were the staff friendly and helpful?

Be sure to include your fiancÃ?© and possibly even your families in this decision and be open-minded to their opinions – you might just find yourself agreeing with them. Remember that if you save some money on the wedding reception location, it could go to other aspects of the wedding like dress, flowers and limos.

Finally, once you’ve chosen your wedding reception hall location, it’s time to inform the wedding reception hall of your choice. Be sure to book your wedding reception hall location as early as possible as dates tend to fill up far in advance. A non-refundable deposit will likely be required in order to lock in your chosen date. Some venues do, for a fee, allow that charge to be refunded though, but that fee must be paid up front.

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