Saturday, February 13, 2010

How to Choose a Reception Venue

In spite of the fact that my account at The Knot insists that I have 361 items to do on my checklist before our wedding this September, I feel pretty good about the current state of our wedding plans (ask me again in five minutes). We have decided on the venue for the reception, which proved to be the first big choice that we had to make. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I always pictured myself having a small wedding, maybe 30 people tops, barefoot on a Caribbean beach. Plans have changed a bit.

We chose the Marriot Key Bridge in Arlington, Virginia, as our reception locale. Where it lacks waves crashing against white-sand beaches, tropical plants, and the salty smell of the ocean, it makes up in convenience for us and our guests. As Mr. Cathedral Heights’s family is from Peru, Colorado, and Miami, and my family is mostly in Maine and California, with a few sprinkled in Texas, a large percentage of our guests are traveling to D.C. for the occasion. It was important to us to have the wedding in a location that offered nearby, affordable lodging and convenience to public transportation. The Marriot Key Bridge sits across the Potomac from Georgetown, not far from the Metro, and the DC Circulator bus passes right by, taking passengers to Georgetown, Dupont Circle, and downtown DC. This will work very well for our families and it will offer them the chance to explore the city in the off-wedding hours.

Choosing a venue for the reception proved a difficult task. I had so many thoughts racing through my head--whether to base the decision on what I wanted, what Mr. CH wanted, what would be most convenient for guests, what would be the most eco-friendly approach. Did I want to base the whole event on budget, attempting to keep the numbers at an all-time low while sacrificing more of my sanity or did I go with the hotel that barely fit in our budget and came with planners to help with the entire procedure? The Marriott package came with a cocktail hour, three-course dinner, cake, tables and chairs, centerpieces, table settings, discount rooms for guests, a suite for the newlyweds on the night of the wedding...need I go on? For a gal like myself, who isn't especially experienced at planning events that include more then chips, dip, and a keg, the Marriott sounded better and better. Plus, it had been recently renovated and offered a beautiful view of the city from the top floor, where the reception would take place.

We breathed a huge sigh of relief the day we put the deposit down on the Marriott Key Bridge. The first major step was complete. Now, for the other 360 to do's...

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