As a wedding vendor that couples choose early in the game, I speak with many couples who have just gone through one of the most daunting tasks of the wedding planning process – ceremony and reception venue selection. It’s a stressful decision because most of your wedding plans will hinge on your venue’s look, terrain, and amenities. After all, if you want an outdoor patio wedding with a summer picnic feel, you’ll have to find the venues that fit the bill. On the flip side, if you want an elegant black-tie affair where all the ladies wear heels – you might not want a grassy lawn reception.
But how do you know what location & venue will fit your vision when you just started planning this whole shindig? You’re probably not quite sure which type of venues you should visit. Maybe you’re not even entirely sure what your vision is! The options can be overwhelming! Surely, you don’t want to waste your time looking at venues that don’t end up fitting your needs and vision. Because let’s face it, wedding planning is tough as it is.
How to Choose a Reception Venue
Well, WeddingWire is here to save the day! They created this fantastic “Which Wedding Reception Venue is Right for You?” QUIZ to guide you in the right direction. I actually took this quiz and got “Beach Wedding.” Score! Because Lake Tahoe is just around the corner from me, touring venues on the water would be an excellent start. But alas, I am already married to my wonderful husband, Matt. We actually didn’t opt for a beach wedding back in 2011 because we chose an in-between point for our families in Northern California and Nevada. Therefore, we got married at the Empire Mine State Park in Grass Valley. We adored our venue because it fit our vision for our wedding, which was a laid back summery picnic-style BBQ. Mmmm cornbread. I digress.
However, if I got married in Reno/Tahoe, a beach wedding would have been right up my alley! Ya know, I really enjoyed taking this quiz even though I’m already married, haha! The last question of the quiz asked what color scheme I am most drawn to, and “mint and peach” was an option – which happened to be my actual wedding colors. That color scheme is really gorgeous for a beach wedding!
So, let me give you some tips on selecting your wedding reception venue, while we’re on the subject! In fact, I have a couple easy-to-follow steps to choose your venue (after you figure out what type of venue you want to be married at with WeddingWire’s awesome quiz, of course)!
Five Easy Steps to Choosing your Reception Venue
Step One: Write down your basic needs. Think about your guest count, whether you want an indoor/outdoor setting, and about how many miles away from a certain city you want to limit your search to.
Step Two: Start your search online with those basic needs in mind. WeddingWire makes it easy to do this part! For example, if you want to get married in Lake Tahoe with a guest count of approximately 150 guests, at an historic location with a covered outdoor setting – WeddingWire will show you the venues that match that criteria!
Step Three: Call and schedule in-person tours with top venues that fit the bill based on your basic requirements. If you email, you’ll have to go back and forth with the event coordinator to schedule a time that works for everyone, whereas a call will get right down to it. At these in-person tours, you will meet the coordinator and get in-depth information.
Step Four: Come to your venue tour prepared with questions. One question I had to ask (since we got married in a park) was: what’s the bathroom situation? Can you imagine if I had not asked about bathrooms?! I may have been forced to work out some porta-potty magic at the last minute. Granted, most coordinators are nice enough to give you an incredible amount of info that you didn’t even know you needed. They are super amazing like that. But still, being prepared is never a bad thing. As a result, you will feel comfortable with the decision you make!
Step Five: Book your venue! Take your time to make the right decision, but definitely be aware that venue availability is always limited. So, check the available dates – confirm with your closest family and friends on which dates are going to work with the people you HAVE to have at your wedding. And then get that venue on the books!
Start the Hunt for Your Wedding Reception Venue
So, where are you getting married? WeddingWire is a great resource for you whether you’re getting married in NYC, Chicago or LA (and beyond, of course). One of the biggest reasons why is that it places a bunch of venues in front of you all at once. In fact, I searched for venues in Grass Valley using WeddingWire for my own wedding! And I can only imagine the amazing venues that exist in New York City or Chicago. I bet there are some amazingly chic options!
If you just recently started your wedding planning journey, make sure to take WeddingWire’s awesome little QUIZ to see which wedding venue might suit your vision (even if your vision is only starting to take shape)!
Also, please make sure to come back here and tell me what your result was in the comments!!
Fifth and Chestnut Photo Co. is a Lake Tahoe Wedding Photographer team. We shoot weddings in Northern California & Northern Nevada. We also travel! If you want an experienced, talented and professional Lake Tahoe Wedding Photographer, contact us and find out how our Lake Tahoe Wedding Photographer team will capture your day in a genuine and beautiful way.