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Wedding Venue Selection For Ceremony and Reception

Updated on December 8, 2014
Reception Venue
Reception Venue | Source

"Where love is, no room is too small."~Talmud


You may be asking yourself, what exactly is a venue? A venue is another word for location or site. All of your wedding planning and details will revolve around the venue selection. The venue will also be the most expensive aspect of your entire wedding. When choosing a location, there are important key questions that you must ask to ensure that your venue selection is not missing some essential components. For example, are you looking for a venue that will accommodate the ceremony as well?

The Perfect Site

A successful wedding depends on choosing the perfect wedding site. Finding the right event venue requires a great deal of time and effort. Do you want an outdoor casual barbecue affair? Do you envision an exclusive and fancy hotel ballroom? Do you prefer a country club at a golf course? Perhaps you're dreaming of a fabulous beach resort? There are unlimited possibilities when it comes to a reception venue. Here are a few considerations when selecting a venue:

-Atmosphere-One main factor that will influence your decision will definitely be the atmosphere that you are envisioning for the wedding day.

-Location-Where is the venue located? Do you want your guests to spend a significant amount of time traveling to the venue?

-Size-Do you have final numbers on your guest list? You may have your heart set on a location that accommodates 200 guests, but that's not going to work if your final guest list is 350. On the other hand, a venue may have a minimum guest allowance guarantee and if you don't have enough, you may not get your dream space or you will have to pay the difference to acquire it which can become quite costly.

Reception Venue
Reception Venue | Source

Narrowing Down Your Venue Selections

Once you have made these considerations and you have established your budget and final guest list, it is time to narrow down your venue selections. If you have made your top selections, you should ask the following questions so that you can finally choose your ultimate location:

-Does the décor fit your style and wedding colours? Will you have to spend more money on flowers to enhance the space appeal?

-Do they have an in-house caterer, and if so, do you like their food? Will you be able to have a taste testing for you, your partner and possibly both sets of parents?

-You may not be happy with their food so do they allow outside caterers and if so are there limitations?

-Are there adequate coat checks and bathroom facilities?

-Is the wedding venue wheelchair accessible? If not, are there many stairs to climb or do they have elevators?

-How close is the parking to the ceremony and reception rooms?

-Is there a payment plan? What kind of deposits are required?

-Is there a cancellation policy?

-Are there any hidden costs? (Read any fine print carefully.)

-Do they have overtime charges?

-Are you allowed to bring your own liquor? (This is generally cheaper, even with a a corkage fee.)

-Is there room or a specific space in the wedding venue for a band and/or dancing?

-Does the wedding venue provide a sound system with adequate speakers or will you be responsible for renting?

-Does the venue have a bridal suite or space for the bride and groom to change and/or relax?

-Can you take photographs on site? Is there a park nearby, or do they have spots directly on the grounds?

-Will someone be supervising or troubleshooting for any issues before and on the day of your wedding? If so, ask to meet with them.

-Is there adequate parking for your guests? Is parking free or are there extra fees for parking? Do they have valet parking?

-Is there public transportation nearby, especially if the venue is in a big city?
-How long will it take your guests to get to the venue?

-If reception is being held in a museum or private club, are there limitations on decorations? Also, do they limit food and drinks to only certain areas of the wedding venue?

-Does the venue allow candles or other open flames?

-If you have chosen an outdoor location, do they have any backup plans for rain or other inclement weather? If not, is there a place that you can put up a tent?

-Do you require a "Special Occasion Permit"? Depending on where you book your venue and where you live, you may have to get a Special Occasion Permit in order to serve alcoholic beverages. Sometimes if you are renting just a space and bringing in your own caterer, alcohol and so on, you may need one so find out.

Reception Venue
Reception Venue | Source

Different Ceremony and Reception Venues

When Looking at Separate Wedding Reception Venues and Ceremony Locations ask yourself:

-How far is the ceremony location to the venue site?

-Do both sites offer the same level of formality or coordinating style?

-Do they both accommodate about the same number of guests?

Just Married At Chapel
Just Married At Chapel | Source

Same Location For Ceremony And Reception

When Looking for Wedding Venues for Both Ceremony and Reception ask yourself:

-Do they own enough chairs for the ceremony, or will they need to be rented?

-Does the wedding venue have an entirely separate area for the ceremony? {It is not uncommon that while the guests are at the cocktail hour, the caterers will transform the ceremony room into the dining room and/or dance floor.)

-If not, how long does it typically take for the staff to change over the room?

By asking these essential questions, you will be able to cover the basics while you're looking at wedding venues. More questions will arise for you personally as you search for a wedding venue. For example, you may want the menu to reflect your heritage, or with a large wedding party, you may need ample parking for limousines. The key thing is to ask as many questions as possible.

Outdoor Weddings

Deciding on an outdoor wedding can be a wonderful and romantic choice. However, to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch, you should follow these helpful tips:

-Ensure Comfortability For Your Guests-Depending on the time of year you have chosen, your day may be hot and sunny or cool and breezy. Either way you should always take precautions. If you are expecting a hot and sunny day you should have the ushers pass out cold bottles of water to each guest as they are seated. Also, it is a good idea to have sunscreen available. If it is within your budget it may be a good idea to rent large electric fans and a generator if electrical outlets are not available. Another suggestion might be renting a tent to ward off sun rays. If you are marrying at a time when it may be cold and damp make sure your guests are advised by slipping a note in the invitation to wear extra layers? Also, you may want to have blankets on hand as well as portable heaters.

-Have a backup plan- Do you have a backup plan incase it rains on your wedding day? Ideally, an outdoor wedding location will have an indoor location in the event of inclement weather. Many couples opt to have their ceremony outside and reception inside. In this situation, the tables can be quickly moved to the back of the room during the ceremony. If light rain is expected, a tent is a good option but if heavier rain is expected, the tent must be a thick, weighted tent that won't tip over.

-Plan for Wind-Oftentimes, windy conditions prevail at outdoor wedding ceremonies. In an effort to avoid problems, a bride and bridesmaids should not wear light fabrics such as chiffons and other light fabrics. They should also opt for hairstyles that will withstand windy conditions and not leaving them looking like a mess. The groom and groomsmen should use some type of hair product to keep their hair at bay. Again, if it is too windy you will have to move it inside or ensure that you have a sturdy tent.

-Make Certain That Everyone Can Hear-There's nothing quite as wonderful as envisioning your wedding day ceremony at the beach or a park or any other romantic outdoor setting. Unfortunately, we don't take into consideration the crashing waves, the seagulls, the planes, children running around, the wind or the rustling of trees to name a few. To ensure that your guests can hear everything, consider renting a sound system with clip mikes for yourself, your partner and officiant. Perhaps your DJ or band can provide you with this.

-Keep Food Fresh and Safe-It is important to find out if your caterer has experience with planning a menu for an outdoor wedding. You will want to ensure you select food that does not spoil in the heat so avoid items such as salads with mayonnaise or foods that must be served cold. Better safe than sorry!

-Don't Dehydrate Your Guests-You should consider serving your guests a variety of lemonades, iced teas and punches. Avoid serving too much alcohol because it tends to dehydrate. Be sure to have plenty of ice and water available as well.

-Annoying Mosquitoes And Other Bugs-Nothing's more annoying than mosquitoes and bugs especially for guests at an outdoor wedding. Avoid having irritated guests by putting out citronella candles or bug zappers.

-Sunshine- Consider a sunset ceremony where your guests can enjoy the warm glow of the sun while you take your vows. One other thing to consider is timing your ceremony so the sun is on the back of your guests and not in their eyes.

-Permits-It is very important that you contact your city parks department or other local government offices to get a permit for an outdoor wedding. Also, ask about rules concerning trash removal, candle or torch lighting, and pre-wedding photography.

Outdoor Ceremony
Outdoor Ceremony | Source
Outdoor Ceremony
Outdoor Ceremony | Source


Whether your ceremony or reception venues are inside, outside, daytime or nighttime, one thing to bear in mind is that regardless of what atmosphere you are attempting to achieve, do your homework, look around, ask plenty of questions and stay within your budget. You want the most expensive element of your wedding day to fulfill your wishes and dreams so make your selection and all other related choices a memorable one.

Tips On Choosing The Perfect Wedding Venue


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    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Thank you so much DDE for your kind words. I really appreciate it! Take care! -Rose

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Exquisite colors and arrangements so wonderfully put together, about Wedding Venue Selection For Ceremony and Reception

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Thank you so much krushnach80 for stopping by and for your kind words. I really appreciate it. Take care. -Rose

    • profile image

      krushnach80 4 years ago

      Beautiful....and practical analysis.......