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Deciding on a Reception Venue
February 18, 2014

The wedding venue is typically the biggest portion of a bride’s budget. It is also where the most amount of time is spent. For these two reasons, deciding on the perfect venue can be a big choice. This big choice can be made much easier, however, with ample research and preparation! Here’s a timeline of the factors to consider when looking for a wedding venue:

Step 1: Research Venues 

There are several questions a bride must answer before she is able to narrow down her search for a venue. Do you want to get married in a church or religious location? If you do, you will need two locations. If you don’t, having the ceremony and reception in one location makes it more affordable. How many guests are you planning on having? What time of year will your wedding be? Where geographically do you wish to host your wedding? Once you know these basics, you can refine your search.

The search process can be completed in several different ways. We recommend asking friends for details on where they had their reception, as well as searching online. A good place to search for Central Minnesota reception areas is to visit the list of screened venues the CMWA has put together that have passed our quality requirements.

Step 2: Tour Your Top Venues 

It is important to do a walk through of your top choices so you can compare the pros and cons of each. While touring the facility, you should keep in mind the following things:

  • Lighting- does it have the ambiance you’re looking for, or will you have to alter this for your big day. Keep in mind that dark spaces may be difficult for your photographer.
  • Layout- what does the entrance look like? This will be the first thing your guests will see. Is there enough space for all your guests? What about a dance floor? Is there a separate area for a cocktail hour? For an outdoor wedding, do you have an area for a plan B if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
  • Small details- Restrooms, power sockets for the DJ, etc.
  • Theme- Will the space work well with your overall theme?

Step 3: Ask the Right Questions 

You will want to be very clear on what all is included at your venue so there are no last minute surprises. You should ask questions like:

  • Is there parking onsite? Where are the best accommodations for my guests in this area?
  • What are the time parameters for this venue?
  • Can I choose my own suppliers? Do I have to use a certain caterer? Can I bring my own alcohol onsite?
  • Can I see an itemized list of what all is included with my package?
  • Are there any restrictions for decorations, noise, etc.?
  • Is the initial payment a deposit or a rental charge? What would the payment schedule be for my reception?