How to Choose A Reception Venue

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Choosing a reception site for your wedding can be really easy or so annoying that you decide forget the whole thing and elope. While the wedding ceremony is supposed to be the main event, everyone knows that the crowning achievement is the reception. The reception is an opportunity for your guests to celebrate your new union while getting drunk and eating so much that your Uncle Jared falls into a food coma. More importantly, your reception is also the time for all of your single guests to find a date to slow dance with later, so dust of those Barry White records and get ready to throw the party of your life. But first you need to pick a space.

Here are a couple important points to consider when choosing a reception site:

The Space: The first consideration you will need to address is the how big of a space you will need to fit all of your guests. One source says that optimal seating for dinner allows for 12 square feet per guest. So if you are estimating attendance of around 100 people, you will need at least 1200 square feet of space. Plus, if you want to have enough dancing space for your 60 year old Aunt Ester to shake that booty when she hears her favorite Nikki Minaj song, you will need an additional 3 square feet of space per person. Any rental space should know how many people can comfortably and safely fit in the space without you having to do the math. If they don’t know, its time for you to look for the nearest exit! I mean really, that’s just bad business!

Food Preparation: Any space you choose should have a place for you and/or your caterer to prepare the food. I’m not talking about a back corner somewhere that suspiciously smells like onions so they call it a “food prep” area. No, I am talking about a proper kitchen; sink included! Some reception venues have caterers that automatically come with the space and are priced into the many packages the venue offers, while other reception spaces offer only the space. This means you and your team will need to bring in everything that is needed to make that day look and taste amazing. If they don’t have a place for food preparation its time to look for a take-out menu or my favorite option, the nearest exit!

Style: Every space is different and each space will have its own unique design style. What matters is if that style matches your wedding. It is easier to match a bare bones museum space with a minimalist wedding style than it is trying to match minimalism with the chandelier-filled grand ballroom at the Hilton. Like Liza Minnelli and sequined pant-suits or Kathy Lee Gifford and a bottle wine before 10am, some elements just work better together! That is why it is important to be able to visualize your guests and yourself in any potential space before committing. If for whatever reason a potential reception space isn’t working for you, don’t waste another second. FIND THAT EXIT!

Finding a reception space can be a tricky and daunting experience. But if you are strong enough to commit your life to making another person happy (marriage) or strong enough to sit through an episode of Mob Wives without pulling your hair out (purgatory), you are strong enough to tour a handful of reception venues. I promise that when you find the right one you will know, and it will make all of that anxiety-induced binge eating you’ve been doing worth it! …Or at least give you a valid excuse for gaining 8 pounds in a week.