Choosing the right time. place and atmosphere for your wedding reception will help to ensure that your wedding celebrations are conducted to your entire satisfaction! Put a lot of thought into the details of your reception: it will not be wasted time, and will help to guarantee that on the day everything runs smoothly and everyone has a good time.
What kind of a reception do you want? Conventional receptions come in many forms: formal, sit-down meals. hot or cold buffets, parties at home or in a hall or marquee, evening parties for friends and relations. Your style of reception should echo the style of your wedding for instance, if you are having a very formal. very large church wedding with all the trimmings then a formal sit down reception in an hotel or restaurant would be appropriate. On the other hand, if you are having a very small. quiet registry office wedding you may want to have a small buffet reception at your mother’s home.
Decide on the kind of reception you want, and then decide on an appropriate venue ideally the reception should be close to the church or register office, or even get married at the reception venue or at least within an easy car journey; in any case it is often best to issue guests with a map to prevent anyone from getting lost! As soon as you know the venue of your wedding service YOU can look for a suitable place nearby to hold the reception. Many people hire the functions room of an hotel or restaurant: these can often be hired with or without the establishment’s own catering staff, but it is wise to check this at the time. Hotels and restaurants have the advantages that their rooms are generally attractive and spacious, they are (or should be) well decorated, they generally have ample parking space. and will be used to hosting this kind of venture and so will be able to help it go smoothly If there is no suitable hotel or restaurant nearby, or if you want to save money or have a less formal reception, you could hire or borrow a hall such as the church’s own hall, a room in a sports club or civic building, etc. Halls can vary from the very shabby and stark to the very pleasant. so always ask to see the hall if this is what you choose to do.
Also you will have to bear in mind the catering arrangements: does the hall have a kitchen nearby? What are the arrangements for making tea and coffee? Where will drinks be served? Are there any restrictions on serving alcohol? Are there any restrictions on dancing, if you want to include this as part of the celebrations?
You may have a burning desire to have your wedding reception at home. This can be a lovely way for a bride’s mother to say good-bye to her daughter from the home where she was brought up but it can also be an easy way of having a nervous breakdown, especially when all the necessary arrangements for the reception are combined with all the last minute details before a wedding. It is possible, of course, to use your home but have outside caterers to do all the preparation, clearing up and serving, which can be a good compromise.
Marquees are popular for wedding receptions for many reasons; they can be erected in the grounds of a house, hotel or other building without intruding on what is going on inside, and they form a pretty and elegant background for the celebrations. Marquees can be hired on their own from specialist firms, or they can be ordered as part of an entire wedding package from some caterers. If you are thinking of having a marquee, ask if you can see photographs of how it will look erected, whether it will damage the ground that it stands on, what the decoration will be like inside, whether it will stand up to heavy rain, etc. also, think of the practicalities of where it will stand is there a car park nearby? How far do the guests have to walk to a cloakroom? Will they have to walk through mud if it rains?
If you are having difficulty in selecting a venue, ask yourself some basic questions about each possibility. Are they big enough? Are they attractive? Are the toilet, car park, bar kitchen, seating facilities good enough? Are the people helpful? Are there any restrictions on time? What are the insurance arrangements? These should help you to narrow down your choices to the ideal venue for your reception.