10 Things to Consider When Looking for Wedding Reception Venues

February 19, 2017

10 Things to Consider When Looking for Wedding Reception Venues

Picking a venue for your wedding reception is fun but can be difficult and stressful. We thought we’d provide some help by highlighting some of the things you should be thinking about when looking for a wedding reception venue. After all, the more knowledge you have going into your search, the more likely you are to find somewhere that you really want.

Here are 10 things to consider when looking for a wedding reception venue:

1. Cost

We mentioned this in our blog post on how to save on wedding reception venues. Cost is probably the first thing you should think of because your wedding budget will largely dictate at what venues your wedding reception can be held. Remember to shop around and ask for discounts.

2. Exclusive Use 

You may not realise it, but many wedding reception venues cater to multiple ceremonies at the same time. Some do as many as three or four. Some people don’t mind if another wedding is using the wedding reception venue at the same time. So you have to ask yourself, do you want to have the venue to yourself?

If you do, then you can either look for venues that only cater for a single function (for example, Lauriston House in Sydney), or you could possibly ask a bigger venue to give you exclusive access (this is not guaranteed and they may charge you extra).

3. Style (e.g. modern vs historical)

Another question to ask yourself is whether you want an older-style building (such as an old manor) or something more modern. There are many different styles of venues that will cater to wedding receptions, from golf courses to restaurants, so you are spoiled for choice.

We would like to make an important point - the wedding reception venue should match the theme of your wedding. Is it more of a vintage theme? Then choose an older building with sandstone and/or a vineyard. If, instead, you are going for a chic modern wedding, then you would want to consider newer venues with sleek modern designs.

We personally prefer the old-world charm of a historical venue, but fully appreciate why others prefer buildings with modern designs. At the end of the day, what matters is having friends and family with you on your big day.

4. Layout

The layout of a building is crucial but is probably forgotten by most couples planning their wedding. You might have a particular venue in mind based on photos and recommendations but, after you visit, find out that layout is completely wrong for what you want (e.g. the room is too long and narrow, or is too small).

Always visit wedding reception venues before making a decision and think about where you want the guests to sit in relation to the bridal party. Do you want a rectangular room with the bridal party sitting on the wide sides (which means all the guests sit relatively close to the bridal party)? Or do you want a square room? Important things to think about!

5. Capacity and Minimum Guest Numbers

Related to the layout is the capacity. You might have the perfect venue in mind but might find that the rooms don’t fit enough guests. Or you might find that the perfect venue has a minimum head count that exceeds the amount of people you want to invite (we have experienced this first hand and it is frustrating).

Always ask about the room capacity and minimum guest requirements when speaking to wedding reception venues.

6. Inclusions

Some wedding reception venues provide ‘inclusions’ (i.e. products or services that are either complimentary or already included in the price). Examples include get-away cars that will take you to your hotel after the wedding reception has concluded, or decorations for the tables that guests will be seated on.

Remember to ask if the wedding reception venue has any inclusions and, if so, how many.

7. Unique Features

Some people want traditional wedding reception venues. Others would like something special or themed. So consider what you want your guests to experience.

For example, some venues feature animals for guests to see and pet (we recently went to a venue in inner-Sydney that had a beautiful Macaw parrot to entertain the children - and adults! - while canapes were served). Or, you could have a reception on a yacht and let the guests enjoy water views while they dine and celebrate your big day.

It seems that there are more unique venues than ever before, so consider wisely what unique features you’d like to have.

8. Location

This is an obvious one. Location is very important to consider because it will dictate what options you have available. Do you want something local or overseas/interstate? Do you want something in the country or in the city (or maybe the suburbs)? Do you want a seaside venue or something set amongst trees and forests?

Do you want something close to the church so that your guests don’t have to travel half a day between the wedding service and the reception? All are good options, you just need to be aware and give it some thought.

9. Food

There aren’t many things that guests remember from your wedding day, but they all seem to remember the food! So it’s important that you consider what type of cuisine you want and go to tasting evenings that wedding reception venues hold (they are held periodically - make sure to ask for a spot at a tasting).

The reason this is important is that some venues produce much better food than others, and you don’t want your guests complaining of dry steak or undercooked chicken. A viable option is a reception at a top restaurant, as many restaurants have function rooms that cater for weddings.

10. Ease-of-access

You’ve probably never thought of this, but how easily your guests can access a venue should factor into your thinking and decision. Is there sufficient parking at the venue? Is it paid parking or free parking? Is there parking at all (some city-based venues have no parking). Is the venue located in a high-traffic area?

Think of how your guests will get to and from the wedding reception venue and they will appreciate it.

We hope these tips help you identify wedding reception venues to use.

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Bridal Blue specialises in designing and handcrafting custom-made bridal and wedding headpieces, crowns and tiaras featuring pearls and crystals from Swarovski for brides, bridesmaids, and flower girls. See Bridal Blue's ever growing wedding tips and bridal inspiration blog for more great wedding ideas.

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