9 Things to Look for in a Wedding Reception Hall

When it comes time to choose a wedding reception hall for your Southborough wedding, there are specific things you need to look for in a venue. Whether the features and amenities offered are sufficient for the number of guests you will be inviting or the wedding activities you wish to include is totally dependent on you and your plans. What works for one bride and groom may not work for another. Your best bet is to get out there, visit each wedding reception hall on your list and then make an educated selection based upon each venue’s ability to live up to your expectations.

To help make this process easier, use this list of the top nine things you should look for in a wedding reception hall. This will help you to evaluate your wedding reception plans, coordinate any wedding photo ops that you want your wedding photographer to catch and assist you in pulling off any special wedding reception themes, styles or decorations.

#1 – Location
The location of the wedding reception hall to the ceremony is really important. Some of your guests may have already traveled quite a way to go to your wedding, so you don’t want to ask them to drive too much further for the reception. Your wedding reception plans should include no more than an hour’s drive to your desired location. If there is quite a drive from the ceremony to the reception, consider making a caravan that leads your guests to the party. The bride and groom will lead the pack and invite everyone to follow them to the reception hall. Even if you are leading the way, include a “you are here” and “the reception is there” map, along with the address of the venue for GPS purposes, to help guide stragglers to the party.

#2 – Availability
You need to make sure that the wedding reception hall is available for your Southborough wedding on the day that you have set your date. Nothing messes up wedding reception plans like finding out that the venue is not available on your chosen date or that you need to delay your wedding reception because another event is scheduled for the same day. Some wedding reception halls will book the function room for an earlier event in the day and save the wedding reception plans for the late afternoon and evening, assuming that most brides and grooms will want dinner served before late night dancing. If you are having an early morning ceremony, make sure the venue can accommodate, otherwise you might have to delay your nuptials so your guests won’t have to wait more than an hour or two after the ceremony for the celebration.

#3 – Size
How many guests will you be inviting? How much room will you need to pull off your wedding reception themes? A lot of well-wishers, a big band and a lot of decorations will need a wedding reception hall with a lot of space. Before you begin visiting venues, create a mock map of the space you will need to pull of your wedding reception plans. Think about all the photo ops, such as cutting the cake, throwing the bouquet, dancing your first dance together, etc. Make sure you have enough square footage available for everyone to be comfortable.

#4 – Comfort
Unlike desert or tropical locations, Southborough wedding parties won’t need to worry about extreme heat conditions when making wedding reception plans. However, knowing that the wedding reception hall has air conditioning available just in case your August wedding reception gets hot and stuffy, is a big plus. On the other side, making sure that your January wedding reception won’t get frozen out in the cold is another important issue. You want your guests to be comfortable and feel like dancing. Extreme hot and cold temperatures will disturb the comfort of everyone at the party, so you’ll want to know if the thermostat can be adjusted if needed.

#5 – Smokers
Even if you don’t smoke, chances are high that some of your guests and even possibly members of your wedding party do. If the wedding reception hall is non-smoking, as many of them are today, you will want to ensure that there is an area set up for these guests that isn’t too far away from the festivities. For example, when you announce that you’ll be cutting the cake, you want these people to know that it’s time to come back in to see it happen. However, you also want to make sure that the smoking area is far enough away that it doesn’t offend any non-smokers or affect any guests that have allergies, asthma or other conditions that could be impacted by smoke wafting into the wedding reception hall.

#6 – Catering
You will want to know ahead of time if the wedding reception hall for your Southborough wedding provides catering services or if you are allowed to bring in your own caterer. This can seriously affect your wedding reception plans, particularly if you already have strong opinions about the food that you want served on your wedding day. Some venues have restrictions on the type of food that can be brought in and served, while others are more open to their client’s preferences. If you ask for any special exceptions or allowances, make sure to get them in writing as part of your contract to ensure that there aren’t any misunderstandings on your wedding day.

#7 – Music
Make sure that you are allowed to hire a band or DJ at the wedding reception hall. While most venues understand that this is part and parcel of the wedding reception experience, others may have noise restrictions due to their location or local laws. Find out what the rules are before you sign a contract or hire entertainment for your reception. Also find out what type of space is available for the band or DJ to set up in, including outlets, lighting and other important features.

#8 – Bar
You will want to find out if the wedding reception hall has a bar available for use or if you will need to have one brought in and set up for the party. Some venues allow you to bring in your own alcohol and bartender, while others are restricted by local laws and require you to only use alcohol purchased through them and served by their bartender. These rules are usually put in place to protect the venue from liability, which will ultimately protect you too. You don’t even want to think about the ramifications that could come from serving underage guests or breaking local liquor laws. Make sure to ask these questions in advance.

#9 – Decor
The look and feel of the wedding reception hall will be very important to the wedding reception plans that you have made. Some venues are very ornate, which is great if they match the wedding reception themes that you are considering, but could be bad if they don’t. Your best bet is to go with a “plain slate” location that looks great and has all the modern conveniences, but gives you the ability to decorate it in the way that you want without worrying about the colors of the venue clashing with the colors of your wedding.

As you begin to make plans for your Southborough wedding, you will need to secure your wedding reception hall venue, put down deposits and secure all of your vendors for your chosen wedding date. Make sure the bakery can get the cake in time and that your favorite DJ is available. You don’t want to get too close to your wedding date and find out that half of your wedding reception plans have fallen through simply because you did not secure the date.