One of the most important things about your wedding is deciding how to choose your wedding reception venue. Of course you’ll have an image in your mind of exactly how you want your reception to pan out, but there’s no doubt that some if not all of these 12 factors will play a part in the final decision you make.
Weather/time of year
Where you choose to have your ceremony, let alone your reception, can have a major impact on your wedding day. If you live in a weather prediction-challenged city like Melbourne, simply relying on the time of year – or even the forecast – might not be enough, especially when you are planning often up to a year in advance.
If you’re happy to play it conservative, an indoor reception is always the safe choice. The alternative is to hedge your bets and choose a venue that combines the option to take the drinks and dancing inside should inclement weather arise.
The catering provided by your venue should match (and ideally exceed) your expectations in terms of service, quality and presentation. You will need to temper this choice based on budgetary considerations, the number of guests and how flexible the venue is in tailoring a menu to cater for any specific requirements.
The size of the wedding reception venue will be a key consideration. It must be suited perfectly to the amount of guests attending, along with factoring in whether you are having a sit down or cocktail type of reception, whether there is appropriate seating, and what spaces remains for dancing and socialising.
The costs of the reception should not exceed your budget, with all elements of the final quote transparent and the events management staff willing to go over this with you.
The atmosphere for your wedding reception venue is influenced by a range of factors, including location, dimensions and ambience. After making an initial shortlist for your final choice, be prepared to inspect each potential reception venue and apply a bit of imagination to how it will feel on the day or night.
From the first point of contact with a reception venue, you will ideally be able to get a feel for the professionalism and experience of the management team. A little bit of research into their social media and website should provide evidence of well-run and presented wedding receptions. Nevertheless, an events management team who is willing to offer ongoing communication and consultation is always likely to provide you with effective support and expert advice.
The wedding reception you end up choosing must be able to match your technical needs. Whether that is from the perspective of offering audio-visual support in terms of screens for slideshows or for the provision of speakers and microphones, these aspects can be crucial to both the formal and convivial elements of the evening.
Wherever you decided to hold your wedding reception, they will need to be able to provide for those guests who have limited movement and require assistance in access to the venue and its amenities.
Proximity to parking and transport
This becomes a key factor of your wedding planning depending on where the majority of your guests live. If guests live in the same city or state, but in its outer suburbs or regionally, they are more likely to need to drive and park their cars. Guests who live locally are happier to take public transport, taxis or an Uber.
Word of mouth is a powerful indicator of reputation. Even if a venue hasn’t been referred to you directly, you need only ask a few in your social circles to see whether anyone has had any experience with it. Failing that, the internet provides a decent indicator as to a venue’s reputation; a significant amount of negative feedback with similar complaints is a red flag!
Some wedding receptions call for added decorations to the event space, particularly if there is a theme uniting elements of the wedding. Whether it’s as simple as floral arrangements and table settings, or a more complex element such as lighting, balloons and wall and ceiling decorations, ensure your reception manager is willing to offer pre-wedding access and assistance in erecting these.
Your chosen reception venue must be able to cater for any entertainment you choose, whether band, DJ or otherwise. Some venues have their own recommended providers, while you might be able to hire these externally. The latter choice will require increased planning elements and communication, but a good reception venue will be amenable to helping you through this process.