How to Choose the Best Banquet Hall or Hotel for your Reception

[caption id="attachment_4553" align="aligncenter" width="798"]A combination of colorful LED lights illuminate the reception decor. Colors range from yellow, pink, blue, and purple. A combination of colorful LED lights illuminate the reception decor. Colors range from yellow, pink, blue, and purple.[/caption]

Important considerations when choosing your wedding reception venue

One of the first decisions a newly engaged couple faces is where to hold the wedding reception. Since popular venues can fill up a year in advance, it's important to get moving on this major decision as soon as possible. If you've narrowed down your wedding reception choices to banquet halls or hotels, congratulations- that's a big step forward in your wedding planning! Here are some important factors to consider when making your final decision.

Banquet halls and hotel ballrooms can offer very different moods, depending on their size, set-up, and décor options. Think hard about the tone of your wedding before settling on a reception location: do you want it to be smooth and modern, elegant and formal, or sexy and sophisticated? When considering your possible wedding reception venues, think about the look of the room and whether it truly matches your tone. Be sure to also consider how much leeway you have for decorating- if you have to stick to only what's already there, your ability to alter the atmosphere is minimal.

Even if you've picked out a gorgeous locale, you can still face disaster if the staff isn't up to spec. Be sure to do some online research to find out about past weddings in the venue. Since banquet halls and ballrooms can be expensive, former customers are likely to get pretty enraged if the venue disappointed. If you see a slew of poor reviews, it may be time to change your first choice.

If you are planning a wedding on a budget, you may want to look into having your wedding during off- peak hours. Most wedding reception venues charge extra for Saturday weddings and those held during “wedding season”- typically April-September. By holding your wedding on a Friday or Sunday night, or getting married during spring or fall, you can save thousands on your reception venue. The possibility for savings may even equal an upgrade to a fancier reception venue- but you'll have to ask to find out.

10 Key Questions to Ask When Shopping for Wedding Venues:
1) Is the deposit refundable?
2) What is the minimum and maximum guest capacity?
3) How many weddings do they host on a given day?
4) How many hours are included in your package before overtime kicks in?
5) Do they have a bridal room or suite available for the bride or groom to use?
6) Do they allow outside vendors?
7) Is there free or valet parking available for guests?
8) Can you attend a free tasting?
9) What rental items are included?
11) How many restrooms are available for guest use?