Artistique Photography by Nicolette
What to Consider when Choosing a Reception Venue
What to consider when choosing a Reception venue
You're engaged, you’ve picked your wedding date and have a rough idea of your guest numbers. Next, you’ll need to decide if you want your ceremony and reception at the same venue and if so, what style and location would you like, e.g. beach, garden, 5 star hotel, marquee, vineyard, historic building, sports venue, art gallery, just to name a few. Once you have decided on the type of venue, ask friends and family (and even your Photographer, I often give advice to brides on venues if they are still looking) for recommendations.
Do you want an informal cocktail style wedding, a buffet, or a formal sit down served dinner/dancing? Once you have decided on your style you’ll need to ask what you want from the venue and I have put together a check list of A, B and Cs to help you:
Firstly, check the venue is available on the date you have chosen. You may have already done this by checking with the venue’s website as they often have a calendar of availability, but you still need to double check! Perhaps find out if they are available on Fridays and Sundays and sometimes these days are cheaper as well.
Access and Parking
Is the venue going to be easy for your guests to find? Is it far from your ceremony venue? It is important to keep your ceremony venue and reception venue within a reasonable distance from one another. You will also need to ascertain whether there is ample guest parking.
Does the venue have accommodation for you and also for your guests? Is there otherwise a nearby location which you can offer to your guests for accommodation?
Does the venue fit your budget? Only look at venues which fall within your budget, otherwise you could fall in love with another venue and be disappointed as it’s is out of your budget.
You’ll need to as what is the maximum number of guests the reception room will hold? Some venues can be very cramped. As a wedding photographer I have sometimes had to squeeze tightly between tables/chairs to get the guest table photographs! Check also if there is more than one reception room that may better suit your guest numbers.
Does the venue have in house catering available? If not, is there a preferred caterer list and do you have a choice of which suppliers you are able to use? Are their sample menus and will they offer a tasting for you?
What is provided by the venue?
If you are simply renting a venue, e.g. a clubhouse or villa and playing a flat fee, you may be responsible for providing everything else. So you will need to check:
Do you provide extra lighting, tables, chairs, décor, linen, dance floor, cutlery, glasses, AV equipment etc.
Alcohol – Are you authorised to serve alcohol, does the venue have a permit, can you provide your own alcohol and if so, will there be corkage charges? What are the bar options and ask to see a price list.
Access – What time on the day are you and your suppliers permitted access and what time do you have to vacate the venue at the end of the day?
Restrictions – What restrictions are there regarding use of confetti, candles, sparklers, rose petals etc.
Ceremony – Check whether if there is an option to have your ceremony at the venue also. This could be useful as a wet weather back up option even if you have decided to have your ceremony at another outdoor location.
Some Last Points to Consider:
· When you visit venues it is important to also pay attention to the smaller details such as air conditioning / heating, bathrooms, power sockets, lighting.
· Check whether the venue is open to your ideas.
· You will need to get a full break down of costs so you can clearly see what is included. Pay attention to whether or not GST is inclusive or excluded.
· If you don’t use suppliers on a preferred list, do you incur extra commission?
· Ascertain staff numbers for the day and who will be your main contact person during the planning phase and on the day.
I hope these tips have helped you in planning your Reception at your special venue.
Artistique Photography by Nicolette