Now that you know your criteria and have done your research on reception site (if you haven’t read Part One, be sure to go back and read that article first!) you can find and reserve your dream reception site!
Gather name of local reception venues.
- Use the My VA Wedding Directory
- If you have already hired a wedding planner, ask for their recommendations. They have probably already worked a wedding at several of the sites in your area and will be familiar the layout and the owner or venue coordinator.
- Ask your friends who have recently gotten married. Chances are they went through the same process. While you might not want to use the same venue, one of the sites they passed on may be your dream wedding location.
- Ask friends and family if they have attended any weddings in the area and what they thought about the venue.
Research Your Prospective Reception Sites Online:
You may have done a search to find reception sites in your area, but now you need to take time to research your potential sites BEFORE making an appointment. While you doing your research keep your eyes out for the following:
- Photos of recent weddings- see how other couples have used the space. What was their layout and décor?
- List of services provided- does this meet your criteria? This will also help give you an idea of which types of outside vendors you will need to find.
- Names of other wedding vendors they have worked with- who is already familiar with working in the space?
- Testimonials from recent clients and reviews- Keep in mind testimonials published on the venues own website will always be glowing reviews, so look for reviews on wedding directories as well
- Any standout policies- this is good information to know in advance. If a venue has policies that do not align with your wedding criteria, save your time and cross them off the list
Narrow Your Choices:
Now that you have done your research, narrow your choices down to your top 3. Call the venues to set up walk through appointments; pictures will never do a beautiful site justice. Check for date availability and price range and if you can, find out the average cost of the past weddings hosted in the space. When you make your appointment, make sure to get the name of the person who will be giving you the tour and bring a list of questions as well as an outline of your budget to the meeting.
See the Space in Person:
When you see the site in person, make sure you are comfortable in the space. Try to picture your wedding day with you and your guests in the space. Does it fit your wedding style/décor? Your tour will most likely be during the day but try to picture the space at night and how the atmosphere will change and ask for pictures if possible. Picture where you will set up the dessert table, the band or DJ, the guest book, etc. Check to see if the room has an echo. Take your own photos of the space to refer to later when you have had time to think everything over. Be sure to ask lots of questions! If you are not sure what to ask or need a little help, there is a list of questions at the end of this article.
Booking Your Reception Site:
After your walk-through tour, take time to think over the entire space before making a decision. You may love the aesthetic and are eager to book the site before another couple snags your wedding date. Before you out pen to paper or pay any sort of deposit, make sure to compare prices and share your thoughts with your partner. Call or email for references. Ask couples who recently rented the venue for their overall thoughts and impressions, if anything went wrong and how it was resolved, was the venue accommodating to their requests, and if they would rate the space or recommend it. If you are certain, book the venue! Be sure there is a contract that lists your wedding date and time, all the services and rentals provided, location and details for your wedding, who the onsite venue coordinator will be on your wedding day and who would be their substitute. Ensure any specific agreement you have made is listed in the contract. Be sure to pay any deposits and get documentation of payment.
You Did It!
The reception site is where you will spend the most time and money on your wedding, so be proud that you have made such a big decision. Check that off the list and on to the next planning item!
Questions To Ask Your Site Manager:
- What customization options are there?
- What services are provided? Can you choose which you want or are all required?
- Is catering offered in-house? Can we use outside vendors?
- What is included in the price?
- What rentals are available? Prices?
- Are there restrictions to entertainment and decorations?
- What is the staff to guest ratio?
- Are prices per person, flat rate, or hourly?
- Can the event be extended? Is there a charge if the event runs over?
- Are shuttle services provided?
- Are different styles available?
- Will there be other weddings or events onsite on your wedding day? Will we be able to hear other events or music?
- Does the site provide everything (tables, chairs, place settings, catering, DJ, etc.)?
- Where does entertainment set up?
- Is there a dance floor?
- What is the payment plan?
- Are different layouts available? Are floor plans available?
- Does the venue have a liquor license? Can we bring our own alcohol, or does it have to come through the venue? How is alcohol priced?
- What is the cancellation policy? Are deposits refundable?
- Who will be onsite the day of the wedding? Will a manager be onsite?
- Is parking free? How many guest cars can be accommodated?
- Is there a space to get ready?
- How are the restroom facilities? Will there be an attendant or someone to maintain the restrooms?
- Are servers and bartenders provided? What are the costs?
- Who will clean up? If the booking party is responsible, does it have to be the night of or can it be cleaned the following morning?
- When can we set up? What are the time restrictions?
- Can the space be rented for the weekend? (rehearsal dinner, reception, send-off brunch)
Need help deciding on your bar services? Read our article all about it? Or need reception entertainment ideas? We give you all kinds of ideas in this article.
Please share in the comments below if you have any helpful advice!
Disclosure: The links above are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, My Virginia Wedding may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate My Virginia Wedding earns from qualifying purchases.