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How to Pick a Wedding Reception Hall

By Charles Hopkins Published 12/14/2006 | Marriage

Part of making your wedding day memorable is having a reception that is loaded with friends and family, food, and fun. In order to have a really great reception, you need to make sure you have a reception hall that is right for your situation. Here are a few tips to help you pick the ideal wedding reception hall.

One of your first considerations has to be the guest list. Just exactly how many people do you expect to attend the reception? Most of us do have at least a few people who we invite, knowing they will not be able to attend. Still, it is a good idea to select a reception hall based on how many people you have invited. That way, you will not run into the embarrassing situation of not having enough room for people to sit or to dance.

Another important point to consider is whether or not children will be a part of the reception. If that is the case, you will need a reception hall that will be able to provide specific areas for the adults and a separate area for the children. This may also include the need for their to be room to accommodate buffet tables for the children as well, since you may want to provide them with something to eat other than "grown-up" food.

How you plan on arranging the food is another factor in determining the floor space you will need. If the food is to be served buffet style, room for the tables that will accommodate food and drink will be needed, along with places for the bride's cake and the groom's cake. Of course, if you plan on having plates prepared and served at tables, that will clear up some floor space. But do make sure you leave enough room between the tables for the servers to be able to move freely through the room.

If you plan on having a live band or some form of entertainment at the reception, you will need to make sure that there is room for the band to set up.  In addition to the floor space, you will need to be sure that there is an adequate power supply available to the band for instruments, speakers, microphone hookups, and other needs they may have. Many reception halls have floating platforms that can put into position for a band, and often there will be at least two areas in the hall where the band can have access to a sufficient number of outlets without the need to run ugly cable everywhere.

The proximity to the site of the wedding ceremony is also important. While a short drive is acceptable, it is asking a bit much to have people drive more than twenty or so minutes in order to reach the reception. Even if you can get a great deal on a reception hall thirty minutes away from the wedding site, pass on it. You will be glad later that you did.

Of course, one of the foundational considerations you will have to face sooner or later comes down to the matter of budget. No matter what you may want to do for the reception, chances are you have a limited amount of funds that can be used for renting the reception hall. Once you know what you want to have as part of the reception, allow those criteria to be your basis for evaluating spaces, but do not automatically cross a location off the list. Get as much as you can for what you can afford, but realize you may have to compromise a little.