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Reception Ideas

How do you choose a venue?

I keep making pro/con lists, but I don't know what's more important. Do I go for the venue that's small but won't need a lot of decorating or the venue that's going to cost extra money but will let my guests party?

I'm torn between pretty, party, and practical. None of our venue choices fit all three. Thoughts? Suggestions?

Re: How do you choose a venue?

  • cborries said:
    I keep making pro/con lists, but I don't know what's more important. Do I go for the venue that's small but won't need a lot of decorating or the venue that's going to cost extra money but will let my guests party? I'm torn between pretty, party, and practical. None of our venue choices fit all three. Thoughts? Suggestions?


    You haven't mentioned the type of venues you're considering, but my vote always goes to a hotel venue, or a venue that will allow for a shuttle to the hotel for your guests. Certainly, no one wants to drink and drive, but weddings are one of the rare chances to party it up.

    Don't worry about decorations...guests won't notice them (contrary to what the wedding "reality" shows would lead you to believe). Concern yourself more with the "guest experience". Awesome food and drink (plenty of both) along with convenience for guests.

     

  • I agree with @itzMS. Decorations are way less important than the experience, what guests will most remember is whether or not they had a good time. Is cost a factor for any of these venues? How about ease of travel for your guests? Parking (that was a big one for my FI!)? Are you/your FI/your family and friends ALL partiers, or just some of you? If most of you are ready to party (like my guests seem to be! lol it's all I hear!), then that might be your answer!

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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Well, my top priorities would be location, capacity, and price per guest, followed by the actual amenities provided, like the food, parking, transportation, and services.

    That's me, though.
  • We had a smaller, family wedding so for me it was a lot about feel. I wanted cozy, somewhere that we could do both the ceremony and venue, good food, and lodging near by.
    We ended up at a state park lodge and hotel, ceremony in front if the fireplace, reception with awesome food, and everyone stayed the night and had brunch together the next day. Figure out your top priorities and go from there.
  • Instead of thinking of the specific venues, I'd start writing down what you really want out of your wedding day. 

    First, we decided on general location and feel. We want an urban wedding in our city. Ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception all at the same place. 

    For us, space was one of the most important things. I don't have fun when I'm all squished and crowded. Also, we wanted all of the tables to be clearly in the same room, with no one squished over in an alcove. This actually ruled out a number of venues for us. 

    Next, when we visited the venues they had to feel "us" in terms of general decor and feel. One place was just to historical, another just too nautical seeming, one was too collegiate-feeling, etc. And this was only going to see places we thought might be "us"! We had already ruled out all the places that were just too old-fashioned, feminine, frilly, etc.  There's only so much you can do with decor yourself. 

    We basically narrowed it down to 2 venues based just on those three criteria, and also that we could afford it. It turned out money wasn't the biggest factor, because once we ruled out all the super expensive places, the vast majority were in the same price range. 

    Of those 2 places, one was a hotel that was a good "package" type of deal, where you'd get the block of rooms right there, and everything would essentially be taken care of within reason. The other place is a "get every vendor yourself" type of place, and the hotels are about a half mile to a mile away...however, they do have an exclusive caterer that can help with a lot of the vendors. Anyway, I decided to take on the extra work myself because I LOVED the non-hotel, but only "really liked" the hotel. If I was the kind of person who hated that kind of stuff, I would have gone with the hotel.


  • I agree that you should list out what's really important to you.  I wanted a space that felt inclusive, inviting and beautiful.  I really wanted the venue to have a space for an indoor ceremony and a ballroom big enough to accommodate a cocktail hour and reception in the same room.  We also needed to find a place that either let us bring our own caterer or had a caterer that would provide us with the ability to include some Indian food and substantial vegetarian options (eh something more than some boiled pasta with marinara sauce, you know?)

    It took a lot of time to find the right place within our budget and we did have to change the location slightly to get what we wanted, but we found the perfect place.  

    Our ceremony was downstairs in a separate room, the cocktail hour and reception was in the ballroom with a balcony that overlooked the harbor.  We had stations that provided options for everyone- GF, vegetarian, Indian, non-Indian.  The room was very inviting and warm looking with plenty of space to spread out and it was beautiful, which was important to me.

    It took us a lot of searching to find the right place.  Keep looking if you haven't found it yet.  I priced everything out before I visited a venue to make sure it fit in our budget and worked for what I want from what I could see online.  Even though I probably priced 10 venues and looked at countless online, I only actually visited 3 in person.

    May 2013 February Siggy: Invitations

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