Comparing Reception Locations
by Lori Furr

The ceremony is over, let the celebration begin!  Although the reception is your guests’ last event of the day, it is usually what needs to be planned and reserved first among all the other wedding plans. As you begin looking for reception sites, you’ll notice that many couples are reserving reception sites, one, two, and even three years in advance. Therefore, it is never too early to reserve the reception site. 

The options for reception locations are endless. A few of the most popular choices are hotels, clubs, restaurants, halls, parks, gardens, boats, and private homes. Unless you have a definite location in mind, it is wise to shop around to compare prices and accommodations. A notebook, preferably with pockets, is a wise purchase for recording important information about each facility. The notebook will help you later, at home, when you are comparing the locations. Record in the notebook specific prices, rules, regulations, advantages, and guarantees from each reception site. In the notebook, you might also want to record informal information such as your opinion about the architecture, landscape, and overall feel of the place. A few of the most important things to consider when comparing the reception sites are price, the number of people it will accommodate, the proximity to the ceremony, and the availability.

There are basically two types of reception sites.  One type is where they charge a per person fee for the facility.  All of the food, tables, silverware, linens, china, etc., are included in the fee. Hotels or restaurants usually have this type of reception fee. Clubs, halls, parks, or gardens usually charge a different type of fee. These locations charge a fee for the room or the space. All of the food, tables, silverware, linens, china, etc., are your responsibility. The prices range for each type. The main differences to consider between the two different locations are that with the first type, although your choices may be limited to the location’s accommodations, everything is done for you. With the second reception type you have unlimited choices for the set-up, caterer, decorations, etc., but it can be quite time consuming to find each of these services. 

After you have chosen the reception location, there are a few details you must establish with the manager of the facility to ensure that your day meets your exact expectations.  First, make sure that your site won't double book the banquet room. This means that if you have reserved one of the nicest rooms of the facility, and another event comes along, the facility won't give them your room and move you to a less desirable room. Also, make sure that the reception site doesn't book events too close together.  You wouldn't want your guests to be waiting outside the room while the tables and chairs are being set up.  On the other hand, you wouldn't want guests from another party standing outside of your reception site waiting for your reception to finish.

With plenty of planning to select the proper reception location, your reception will be an event that is remembered by family, guests, and especially you and your spouse for many years to come.


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