Your Wedding Theme
Your wedding reception selection will depend a lot on the theme you want for your wedding. A beach, a hilltop, a garden, even a historic area can enhance your reception and make your wedding a very memorable event. Consider the kind of décor you will need and which would work well for the reception. A place that's too windy, for example, will ruin delicate tulle and chiffon arrangements.
Consider how far the reception is from the church or if it is accessible to the bridal party and the guests. It could have the most breathtaking views but if it would take more than an hour to get there on a winding dirt-road past deserted areas, you might want to reconsider. Ask about traffic jams or rush hours that could affect your arrival and departure times.
Facilities for an indoor reception
Check the reception yourself. Take the most common route you and your guests will be taking to see the condition of the road. When you arrive, check the parking area if there's enough space for guests' parking, or if there' space for handicap access if it's needed. Look at the façade, the color of the building and the design of the structure if these figure well into your specs.
Survey the area where your wedding reception will be held and see if it can accommodate the number of guests you will be having. Check for airconditioning, clean bathrooms and a changing room for the bride if possible.
If you want your wedding ceremony done in the same place, ask where and how. Inquire also about seating arrangements, the location of the food table, wedding gifts and the DJ's booth. Ask to see pictures of sample settings that are similar to what you have in mind.
If you're having an outdoor reception, survey the grounds and surrounding plants and flowers. Ask if the garden will look the same on the month of your wedding or if the blooms won't be around by then.
Ask the reception manager if they expect to have construction work done around the time of your wedding reception. You don’t want the sound of hammers and drills heard during toasts nor workmen going in and out of the area while you're having your first dance.
If the venue is available on your selected date, ask if there's anyone else who's booked the place on the same day. Imagine how disappointed you would feel if there's a convention of noisy salesmen next door.
Most venues have partnerships with caterers. Look at the menus for the best choice with your budget. Or if you want to bring some food and wine or have your own caterer, ask for corkage fees. You might also want to inquire about cake cutting fees, since some venues charge this separately.
Before you decide on which menu you like, schedule a food tasting first. Make sure to have your guests in mind when choosing the menu, since you might have ones who are non-meat eaters. Make necessary adjustments on the menu if it's called for.
Ask how much it would cost to rent the place or to set up a ceremony. Since most venues charge a set number of hours (usually 4-5), ask how much succeeding hours would cost in case your reception gets extended. If they have wedding packages, make sure to check these as well. Most of these include the wedding cake, flowers and the limo.
Make sure you know what is included in the price and don’t just assume. Most reception rentals include lighting, sound system, tables and chairs. Others include video systems, music, utensils, glasses, floral arrangements, even venue decors.
Next, inquire about payment schedule: when the deposit should be paid and when the full payment is due. Make sure you put everything in writing and once the contract has been drawn, read it carefully in case some things have been missed. Don’t be afraid to complain or change a few things. After all, it's your wedding reception and the right selection will figure a great deal on whether it will turn out to be a wonderfully memorable event or something you'll be mad about for years to come.
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