Choosing the perfect location is an important step because it not only sets the scene and ambiance, but it also affects cost and convenience. Coming to a happy medium between the two is easy with some careful planning and consideration of the details. Important things to consider when choosing a location are listed below. However, when out shopping and scouting for a reception hall or ceremony site you should bring along a more comprehensive list of questions to ask the location manager or coordinator.
* Will the location require the guests to pay for traveling and lodging? If so, how far must they travel and will it be a problem for children or the elderly?
* Does the location have plenty of nearby parking and lodging, if needed?
* Is the site reputable and do you know anyone who has used its services before?
* Will it be big enough to accommodate your guest list? Is there a dance floor available?
* Do they offer catering services as well?
* What are their bar policies?
* Overall, do you get a good vibe and feel happy about the location?
* Does your choice fall within your budget?
* Is the location available for the date you want?
* How much help does the venue offer to help plan your reception and what services can it provide?
The next thing to consider is what scale and style wedding you want to have. Is the ideal big day small and informal or extravagant and luxurious? Do you want to be close to home or closer to your honeymoon? Do you want to integrate a theme into your wedding? These are all questions to ask yourself when deciding where you want to be married.
Ideas for Possible Wedding Locales
* ''Medium to Large Weddings''
** '''Banquet halls '''are like hotel ballrooms without the other guests. They are equipped to handle medium to large parties and the banquet manager often provides services or helps arrange catering and decorations. Typically there is already a bar and dance floor located on-site, which eliminates one more step in the process. Many people choose this option for their wedding because of its simplicity and feeling of grandeur that a site like this gives.
** '''Hotel ballrooms''' are excellent choices for wedding receptions. For one, the varying styles suit many different tastes and because they are usually on the big side, can accommodate medium to large weddings. A major advantage to having a reception in a hotel is that there is on-site lodging for out-of-town guests, which are often provided at discounted rates. Another crucial point is that hotels often are prepared for weddings. Some offer package deals and nearly all can help with the details of the wedding, including catering.
** '''Country clubs '''are typically very beautiful settings that offer a quaint and family-oriented feel. Perfect if you are a member of a country club already. They can provide quite a few services including parking and coat check, and most offer a variety of packages similar to hotels. Be careful if you are not a member of a particular club to really do your research before committing to it. Check on how the place is maintained, the quality of the food and service, and its overall reputation.
** Check out the Guide to Finding a Reception Hall to be on your way to finding the perfect locale.
* ''Small to Medium Weddings''
** '''Outdoor weddings''' can be tricky to pull off well since they require a lot of planning and you don't always have the weather on your side. Nonetheless, the most important aspect of an outdoor wedding is the shelter. You need it to keep guests out of the rain and heat. That can be a difficult feat, but the results are usually spectacular if you can manage. National parks, zoos, theme parks, wineries, race tracks, beaches, ranches, gardens, and orchards are just some of the places to have an outdoor wedding.
** '''A place of worship''', such as a church, synagogue, or mosque. These are usually inexpensive and they eliminate the need to travel from the ceremony to the reception. You will, however, have to bring your own food and decorations in most cases.
** '''A VFW''' is another option which helps cut costs. You do have to supply the decorations and food though since these are usually quite simple looking. Typically, this is a good option for those having smaller, informal weddings.
** '''Restaurants''' can be a venue for hosting a reception, but they are limited by the size of the restaurant and their ability to accommodate a large crowd. Some have consulting services to make planning easier (such as helping to find local vendors). Others, especially smaller restaurants are usually limited in the fact that there is no room for a dance floor. Either way, once you add decorations, flowers, and music, you can turn your favorite restaurant into the perfect reception.
* ''Weddings At Home''
** If you love the idea of having an intimate feeling wedding, setting up a reception at your home (or a rich friend's house!) be prepared to undertake a bit of hard work. Here are some of the difficulties you'll encounter when having a wedding chez vous. Remember that if you love the idea of having an at-home wedding, but you can't picture yourself tackling all the details that go along with it, consider hiring a professional planner.
** '''Lack of Privacy'''
*** Prior to the wedding you'll probably need to do some renovations and cleaning up so that you are ready to receive guests. This means spending extra money.
*** Immediately before and after the wedding you'll have your home occupied by a LOT of people, and it won't just be friends and family. It will also be the caterer, the flowers, the musician, DJ, etc. Often, if you have a small home it can feel like a madhouse.
** '''Cheaper But Not Cheap'''
*** While you can cut costs on several things by doing them yourself, you'll have to deal with potential damage done within your home.
*** As for outdoor weddings at home, costs for the tent, tables, chairs, portable toilets, and a dance floor will accrue rather quickly. You may also find that outdoor lighting is necessary, as well as a cooling system during summer.
*** Don't forget that kitchen facilities will also need to be adequate to handle a large area for any food preparation that needs to take place.
** '''Space Limitations'''
*** Even though parking is free at home, keep in mind that you need to accommodate everyone. If your driveway only accommodates four cars you are going to have to come up with some alternatives.
*** If you want an indoor wedding, try and decide where and if you can fit a dance floor.
* ''Less Traditional Wedding Options''
** '''Destination weddings''' are by far one of the most popular types of weddings these days. Click here to read the detailed guide on how to plan one. They are ideal for creating a small intimate wedding and they provide a unique vacation for most guests. One of the greatest things about them is that usually the locale sets the stage for the decorations and requires little additional embellishments. Plus, the destination can often function as a step closer to your honeymoon destination.
** '''Boats''' are becoming popular wedding sites, especially on yachts and cruises. Cruises will typically cater and help manage the event, which is a less stressful way of dealing with things. Plus, you can have fun with the wedding theme.
** '''Historical sites''' can be good for creating old-fashioned or themed weddings. Always be sure to check the facilities that are available to you and your guests, such as bathrooms, a kitchen, and a dance space. Also keep in mind that you'll need to provide all of the services such as catering, beverages, decorations, and rentals.
** '''Museums, zoos, gardens, theaters''', and other venues are becoming more popular lately and they provide just as many services as a banquet hall if they are typically rented for weddings and other large events. Keep in mind that while luxurious, they are also more expensive.
** '''Skydiving, scuba diving, and horseback''' are unique action-oriented locations for the event. Hot air ballooning, surfing, skiing, biking, and parachuting are similar options. These are great for couples who love adventure and who want a personalized and romantic wedding for just the two of them.
'''Next''': Be sure to read Questions to Ask Before Reserving a Ceremony Site