Selecting your reception venue is an exciting process! While matching the perfect venue with the calendar date you want is hard enough, there are some other things to think about when choosing a space. Here I have listed five things to consider:
Most of the time, the venue will be one of the most expensive things you pay for when planning your wedding. To help cut some costs consider having your reception at the Country Club that your family already belongs to, or have it at the beautiful barn on your family friend's property. If you're able to find a venue that you can get a little price break on and still suits your style, you're in luck.
To make things simpler on your guests, you should choose a reception venue that is close to your ceremony venue. You have the option to provide transportation for your guests (shuttles, trolleys, etc), but you should always provide directions for everyone in case they chose to drive their own vehicles. Another option that is very convenient for your guests is to have the ceremony and reception at the same location. You can even have them in the same room! While guests are in cocktail hour, the staff will 'flip' the room and transform it into a completely different space. Make sure there are hotels near by so your guests don't have to travel far after the party is over.
3. Guest Count
Your guest count and reception style play a big part in selecting your venue. Your absolute favorite venue might only have enough square footage to seat 100 people for dinner and dancing, but you are inviting 200 guests. If your heart is 100% set on that venue than you need to compromise and do a cocktail style reception (this is also a good way to cut costs!). A cocktail style reception means you may have 40%-60% seating with high top tables for people to mingle around, and maybe even a lounge grouping. It's not as formal as 100% seating, but it's just as nice! If 100% seating is very important to you, then it's time to look into other venue options that have larger square footage.
What size tables does the venue provide? What type of chairs? Do they provide upgraded table linens? These are all important questions as they pertain to your budget and your style. Most venues provide 60" round tables which can seat up to ten people (without chargers). If you have a venue that provides 72" rounds, those can seat up to twelve people. The more people per table, the less tables you will need which means less table linens and less centerpieces...saving you money!
5. Preferred Vendors
Some venues have a list of preferred caterers and other vendors. These are vendors that have worked at the venue in the past and have developed a great professional relationship with the venue. This gives you piece of mind as you know you are going to get great service with any of them. Your venue wouldn't risk their reputation by putting a sub par vendor on their preferred list! There is usually a fee involved if you decide to use an outside vendor, so take that into consideration when choosing your venue.