Booking Your Reception Hall

Planning a wedding can be a little bit like jumping off a cliff. It’s easy to start, but where do you go from there? There’s so much to be done and it seems like if everything isn’t perfect the day will be ruined. Take a breath. It’s going to be okay. Your wedding day is about you, and all you need to do to have a great wedding is be true to yourself and take things one step at a time. Here are some wedding reception ideas and the steps you need to take to book a reception hall on a budget.

1. Plan
Take some time and sit down with your partner. Make some general decisions about what you want your wedding and reception to be like. Do you want a small or large reception? Add up the numbers. You’ll want to take into account your friends and family and any guests they will be bringing. Do you want children present? This will affect the kind of venue you book for your reception. Children may not enjoy themselves at a very formal wedding reception, but at an amusement park or ranch, children would be very welcome.

What theme, if any, do you want for your wedding? A theme wedding can brighten up an otherwise plain reception hall and it can create a seamless, festive wedding experience. Some wedding themes are renaissance, butterflies, fifties, candlelight, winter wonderland, and beach themes, to name a very few. Do you want your wedding reception to be indoor or outdoor; formal, intimate, eclectic, traditional, or contemporary?

Finally, in considering your guests and your own needs, what special needs do you need to accommodate for? Do you need a separate kitchen to prepare food for those with allergies? Do you need a hall that is easily accessible for those with handicaps? What religious or cultural traditions, if any, will you want to showcase? What kind of parking do you need? How many guests are coming from far away? You may want to choose a wedding reception hall that is close to major highways, airports, and hotels.

Now that you have this important information in front of you, choosing and booking a reception hall should be simple.

2. Budget
This is a small but imperative step. Decide how much money you are willing to spend on a reception hall. The hall may or may not include catering, a wedding cake, chairs, linens, dishes, flatware, a DJ, and access to alcohol. Make sure to budget separately for these items and ask each reception hall candidate what they include in their wedding reception package.

3. Book it
The farther in advance you book the reception hall, the more likely you are to get it and the cheaper it will be. Some people even book popular spaces years in advance. So get started as early as you can. If you only have a few months before the wedding, do not panic. There are plenty of alternative venues that don’t require intensely early booking. Try out a public park, a farm, a restaurant, a museum, the rooftop of your apartment building, or a friend’s backyard. Try booking your reception venue in the off-season (the wedding season is May through August, but the peak season will vary from venue to venue) for greater availability and less cost.

Based on your list of requirements, make a list of reception halls that could accommodate your needs. Find them through talking with friends and family who have married recently, through online searches, and even in the phone book. Call each place and ask about what is included in the reception package, how many people they can accommodate, if there is alcohol allowed or provided, what the total cost will be, what dates they are available, what their deposit and cancellation policies are, what parking is offered, how they deal with special needs, and any other questions you may have.

When you have a reception hall you really like, hand over the down-payment check, write a date on your calendar, and check “Find Reception Hall” off your giant list of wedding things yet to be done!