Planning a wedding is a lot of work. With so many things to pick out, book, and set up, you don’t want to leave anything for the last minute. One of the most important things to book early is the wedding venue and banquet hall. Depending on the location, wedding venues can be tricky to book, especially on short notice.
Likewise, reception halls can be in high demand, as they’re used for many other get togethers such as corporate events, family reunions, or bridal showers. Booking early helps ensure that you won’t be left scrambling to find a place to host all your guests.
What To Look For In Reception Halls.
You want to find a reception hall that fits with your chosen theme, if you have one, and that can cater to your guests needs. Here are some basics to keep in mind.
- A Spacious Layout. You don’t want to keep your guests crammed together like sardines in a can, especially if you have a large guest list. Make sure to check out reception halls that are suited to comfortably hold your estimated number of attendees. While a hall may look large when it’s unfurnished, remember to imagine the tables, chairs, dance space, DJ booth, and buffet that will potentially be taking up that space. If possible, check with the venue and see if you can come in to see a future wedding set up. (Before the actual wedding party is there.) This can help you visualize what the space will look like for you.
- Designated Areas. Check and see if your reception hall has predesignated areas for dancing, food, or drinks. This can help you mentally plan how everything will be set up during your reception. If you feel the setup isn’t conducive to your vision, or that it’s too cramped for comfort, you’ll know to move on to the next. It’s also worth noting if there are any features that could potentially obstruct guests’ vision; such as columns or oddly spaced walls.
- Lighting. Whether you want bright or dim lighting, you want to make sure the venue can provide. Additionally, if you are using any special lighting effects you want to make sure the venue has resources for that. Make sure to view the hall at the same time of day you are planning the reception for, this can give you an idea of what you’ll need. Are their windows for natural lighting, or will it all be artificial? Is there an easy way to control or change the lighting when needed? Be sure to check before you make the final decision.
- Privacy. When scouting reception halls remember to find out how much privacy you’ll have. Some places have multiple halls to host different events at once, while others, like golf courses, may have patrons coming and going during your reception. (Not literally through the hall mind you, but they will be nearby.) While it may not be a huge issue, if you would rather have the venue all to yourself it is something to consider.
- Parking. Depending on the number of guests you’re expecting, be sure to check if the parking is easily accessible and able to fit everyone. However, lack of parking may not necessarily be a deal breaker either. If you are planning the ceremony at a different location you could consider having a shuttle bus to transfer guests to and from; however, this may require more time and money to arrange.
If you are looking into reception halls for your big day, these are a few of the most important points to consider. Don’t hesitate to ‘shop around’, but be sure to start looking early. This not only gives you the freedom to look at multiple options, but it means you’re less likely to have to compromise on the details.