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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Choosing a Ceremony/Reception Location


Since this seems to be a popular reoccuring theme on the site, I decided to post some tips I've found along the way from various sources:

In addition to your personal taste and desires, the location you select will be determined by availability on your date, the number of people to be accommodated, and the price. Because all these factors don't always line up exactly right, it helps to have a few sites in mind. As you research your location choices, remember to find out precisely what is, or is not, included in the price. Unexpected extras can add up quickly. Don't delay in reserving the location once you've made your decision; popular places book early. The following are some things to keep in mind when selecting a location.

SPACE- Either wide open or cozy and intimate, whichever works best with the wedding you envision for yourself.

PARKING OPTIONS-This is more of a factor if you're inviting two hundred guests rather than fifty, but either way, remember they'll need to park their cars somewhere. In DC this is a HUGE consideration. Does the venue have suggestions or exisiting relationships with are parking facilities?

PRIVACY-Do you want anyone out walking his or her dog to be able to look over and see your wedding? Usually, hotels and banquet facilities have more than one function going on at a time, so there's a possibility of Lookey Loos.

LIGHTING-This can be a terrific mood enhancer or mood breaker. Try to view the location around the same time of day you are planning your ceremony or reception. If you're having a daytime wedding, the facility should be bright and cheerful, not dim and gloomy. If you're planning an evening wedding, try to envision your different lighting options, whether special effects or merely soft and romantic. Are there a lot of, or extremely large windows that will spoil your candelight effect if you're having an early evening wedding in the middle of the summer?

COLOR AND DECOR-If the room has lots of personality in this regard, that's great! Just make sure it jives with your desired colors and decorating themes. If the room is a Plain Jane of a room, how much work (and money) will be required to bring it up to par.

SURROUNDINGS-What type of neighborhood is it in? Does it have a spectacular view of the ocean or mountains? Or does it look out over a chain link fence and narrow alley?

USAGE OF SPACE-Does the room lend itself well to all the facets of the wedding you're planning? Does it have a nice focal point for your ceremony? Or there adequate room for setting up dining tables, mingling with cocktails, and dancing?

TECHNICAL SUPPORT-Can the location support all of the various electronics that you'll be plugging in? Amplifiers, speakers, special lighting, etc?

ACOUSTICS-If music is going to be an important part of your reception, do the room acoustics help or hinder this goal?

Wait there's more...
Before you sign the bottom line, check and see that there is a kitchen available for your use and how functional is the kitchen? Is it capable of preparing a full meal or merely warming pre-prepared fare?. Is there an ice maker? What a bout a dishwasher? At times there is a fee for the use of a kitchen in a hall. Remember, if your if your caterer needs to rent an oven or other equipment the charges will most likely be passed on to you.
The items to look for:

* Tables and Chairs: Check size of tables, most halls don`t have linens and you will need the table sizes (including all banquet, cake and sweetheart tables) when asked by rental company or caterer. Do the chairs clash with your color palette? Will you rent chairs? Can the chairs for dining be used outside if you are having an outdoor ceremony?

* Parking: is it adequate? Is it free? Can you bring in a valet?

* Alcohol: Are you required to provide your own liquor license? Can you supplement specific varieties to standing wine and champagne lists? Is their a corking fee?

* Facilities: Check the bathrooms, are they clean. How many are available? Will they be inspected before your party. In the middle of your event you don`t want to be making a 7-11 run for toilet tissue!

* Staff: Will the staff be appropriately dressed for your event? What is their attire? Are you required to pay a fee for them?

I hope this helps some folks in their planning -

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