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Tips on choosing your wedding reception site

Time to celebrate!
Time to celebrate!

Figuring out where to have your wedding reception takes time and effort. By using these tips and advice it will be smoother and less headaches.

Step one would be to analyze what type of reception do you want? A casual afternoon reception would be quite different than an evening formal event. What makes both of you happy and at ease? Discuss the guest list, as how many guests can help determine location and menu. Keep in mind both sets of parents will want to have some input for a guest count as they have friends they may want to include. Budget of course has its considerations as well.

Step two would be to start the search. Keep in mind some venues book up to two years in advance. Check out bridal shows, the internet, and consult with married friends as to possible locations. In Milwaukee, there are literally dozens of places, some are more casual, and others are ultra fancy, some in between. If natural surroundings are your style, think of parks and family member’s backyards. Art galleries, historic homes, museums and boats are unique and may benefit a particular cause. Each location offers its own uniqueness and ambiance.

There are two basic types of reception facilities, on site and off site. Most on site venues offer the majority of service, including catering, linens and tableware, chairs and wait staff. Usually the charge is “per person”. Off site gives you more flexibility because you are charged only for the use of the venue, everything else it up to you. This is great if you have a particular caterer in mind, or want to choose different colored linens. This is more work on your part but it truly is your vision and can be quite cost effective.

Step three is to evaluate the sites that interest you. Keep in mind every single place, like almost anything, will have pluses and minuses. Keeping your budget in mind, now it is time to start narrowing the list.

Location is going to be important, especially if you are planning a winter wedding. Consider unique challenges that may occur, such as near a stadium that is having a home game that day. If it is longer than 30 minutes from the ceremony location, that too may be a conflict for some guests.

Is the size appropriate? Will there be enough room for all the guests? Is there space for the musicians or DJ? Is there an adequate power supply for speakers, and good acoustics for string and wind instruments?

What about parking?

Does the venue book multiple events on the same day? If so, how do you feel about that?

Look at the room décor and ambiance. Neutral is best but sometimes a more dramatic feel is right in keeping with your wedding. Can you provide decorations?

Be sure to keep a tally with each site visited what is included and what is not. Get the details up front so there are no unhappy surprises.

If you are going with an outdoor site, keep in mind that in case of inclement weather the festivities may need to move indoors.



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