Just like regular shopping, where you walk in to a store, see something you like and try it on for size, shopping for a wedding venue can be done in much the same manner. Only, with reception venue shopping, you need a little more time, an extra dose of patience and a bucket load of imagination. Hopping from venue to venue in search of the perfect spot for your wedding, you will be faced with quiet, empty spaces, devoid of anything wedding related. And as you glance out at the empty room, you are somehow expected to envision your entire guest list, on your wedding night, moving to the soundtrack of your wedding band. This is not the easiest of tasks and it is for that reason that we bring you an abridged guide with tips on how to choose a venue that will serve all your purposes and fulfill your wedding day desires.
Tip #1: Go by word of mouth
Have a listen to what your friends have to say about the venues they chose. Were they happy with their decision? Were there any downfalls to the venue, and if so, what were they? Start to pay attention to the weddings you’re invited to. Notice the overall vibe, the aesthetics, the practicalities. Chances are if a venue worked well with one of your friends’ weddings, it is likely to work just as well with yours.
Tip #2: Test out the acoustics
Every wedding venue needs superb acoustics. There is nothing worse than a great band being drowned out by people chatting. When testing out venues, ask the people in charge for a microphone and get up there and pretend you’re on Australian idol. Does your voice carry? Does it sound powerful and bold? Ask your partner to be the judge. As a general rule, high ceilings and larger rooms make for better acoustics.
Tip #3: Lighting
Lighting is a huge factor, and when done right, can be the deciding point between awkward and pleasant. Once again, inquire about the different lighting options the room comes with and make sure there are at least one or two of those options that you are comfortable with. You may want to consider having low lighting but adding centerpieces with fairy lights or tea lights to add that extra romantic touch.
Tip #4: The runaway spots
Great wedding locations need at least a few tucked away spots for people to meet and mingle. These spots should be away from the main reception area. They are used by guests to unwind and relax, and perhaps even to lounge around. Good runaway spots include tasteful lobbies and outdoor balconies. Runaway spots are especially useful for guests who many not be happy with their seating arrangement, mothers who need to breastfeed and breathless teenagers catching up their long-time crushes.
When you do get around to doing some reception shopping, keep the above four tips in mind. Listen to friends’ recommendations and pay attention to any reception halls that worked well in the past where you were the guest. Consider the acoustics and the lighting as both will influence the enjoyment of the wedding. And lastly, have a look at the actual venue and make sure it has all the functions you need and want, including those added runaway spots perfect for anyone who may feel the need for a little mid-wedding sprucing up siesta. Cute teenage crushes may or may not be included.