Planning a wedding can take weeks, months, or even years but when a couple reaches the point in the planning phase where they have to think about where their guest will kick off their heels and celebrate they know it's time to choose a wedding reception venue. When choosing a venue you have to take into consideration a number of elements to make sure its the perfect place for you and your guests to celebrate. Most couples only think about what they can afford, which is extremely important because the venue is approximately 50% of the wedding budget, but that shouldn't be the only deciding factor.
1. Size matters...Big wedding or small wedding the venue should accommodate all guests, band, DJ, etc... comfortably. Regardless if it is a cocktail or sit down dinner reception guests need ample elbow room. They also need dancing room.
2. Speaking of the DJ/Band...Think about acoustics. The reception is all about the party for the most party. And what's a good party with band sound. Whatever the musical selection make sure it will sound good. It's always good to ask your DJ/Band if they've done any events at the venue.
3. The Flow...The layout should allow for a seamless flow from one area to another. Guests shouldn't be confused or worn out from walking from cocktail hour to the main ballroom.
4. Where To?...Consider the distance the venue is away from the ceremony space or where the majority of your guest will be traveling from. Do your guests drive or will you provide transportation for them? What is the parking situation like?
5. In or Out...If you thought about having an outdoor wedding think about the season/weather. Make sure the venue has a back up plan for inclement weather. Don't let the possible bad weather stop you from having your outdoor wedding. However, be prepared to have an indoor wedding if worst comes to worst.
6. What time is it?...Obviously the venue should be available during the time of day you want to have your reception. They should also give you an adequate amount of time to celebrate. If you and your guests are party people who might not be ready to go home at the end of the night make sure you know, in advance, if the venue allows for extensions and what the fees are.
7. Mix or Match?...Try to choose a venue that shows your personalities as a couple. If you're an avid reader try a library. Love history and art, a museum. With décor being such a big part of weddings these days please please please make sure the interior design works with your theme (if you have one) and/or wedding color palette. Raw spaces are great because you can decorate it any which way you want but when you're booking a banquet hall you have to visualize how the carpet and wall paper will coordinate with your wedding design.