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Finding a Reception Hall

One of your biggest wedding day  preparations may be finding a place to hold your reception .  Since this is where you and your guests will spend most of the evening, you'll want to have it in a location that is both functional and memorable.  To ensure that you pick the perfect place for your perfect day, consider the following tips:

Scouring

There are several different ways you can go about finding a wedding reception hall.

  • Search internet listings.  You can look under state-wide reception hall listings, use all-inclusive wedding websites, search by destination (beach, mountains, park) or search under top ten listings for major cities.
  • Enlist the help of friends and family.  Perhaps someone close to you got married recently.  Ask for their recommendations.
  • The local yellow pages are your friend.  If you're staying close to home, check out some of the local venues to see if they really offer what you're looking for.

Space and Accommodations

You want to make sure that the venue you pick has ample room to accommodate all of your guests, tables ,chairs , dance floor and a band or DJ.  And since it's hard to assess a space when it's empty, it's best to ask if you can see it when it is set up for another wedding or similar event to give you a more concrete idea of what it may look like for your day. You should also make a note of how many outlets there are to ensure that speakers ,projectors ,lighting  and any other electrical equipment can be accommodated.  But even if your space seems both large enough and full of the amenities you need, it's still important to pay attention to the room shape, as that can dictate how smoothly your reception may run.  If the space is a weird shape, there may be no logical places for the bar or dance floor for instance, which can make the event seem cramped and/or disorganized.

If your venue is outside, you'll want to make similar observations--i.e. is there enough lawn or arboretum space, access to electrical outlets, etc.  You'll also want to make sure there is enough parking for all of your intended guests without encroaching upon the wedding day scenery.

Privacy

If you're holding your wedding in a public outdoor venue like a botanical garden, chances are strangers will be roaming around to take a peek at the spectacle. So if you aren't into wedding crashers, ask your wedding planner and the venue owners what can be done for crowd control.  It may be as simple as putting up some ropes and a "closed for private party" sign, or you may have to rethink your locale altogether.  While restaurants, banquet halls and hotels may be a bit safer, they aren't completely immune to strangers milling about either, especially if they are holding more than one event at a time.  Your best bet is to carefully consider your preferences and all the possible scenarios while choosing so you don't run into any major problems on the day of the wedding.

Ligthing 

If you're getting married at night, it's important to have ample lighting in the reception hall so that people can see you, each other and the food.  No one wants to spill a tasty cocktail or miss out on the bride and groom's grand entrance.  And the same goes for outdoor evening weddings.  Dusk can be a beautiful time of day when illuminated by candles, for instance, so make sure the venue allows for their lighting.

As for daytime weddings, lighting is just as important.  Having plenty of windows will allow for natural light to shine through and make guests feel less secluded or stuffy.

Theme

Most brides and grooms have grand visions for their wedding receptions, with every little detail mapped out--from the colour of the napkin rings  to the bows  on the back of the dinner table chairs.  That's why choosing a venue that can easily accommodate that vision is so important.  If you host your reception in a Victorian hotel ballroom, for instance, it may be difficult to match your colour scheme or style with the room itself.  It's best to aim for neutral spaces that can easily transformed, unless you find a place with a particular motif, colour or flair that you'd like to see carried throughout the reception.

Related Guides

Wedding Reception Music

Cocktail Receptions

Wedding Reception Decorations

Wedding Ceremony and Reception Seating