Monday, March 25, 2013

Choosing a Reception Venue

Once you and your fiance have established a wedding budget, one of the first things you will probably look at is venues. Choosing both the ceremony and reception venue is a crucial part of every wedding. The ceremony venue is where you'll say your vows and actually get married, so you'll want it to be sentimental or inline with your wedding day vision. The reception venue is where you and your guests will spend most of your time, and it is usually the biggest expense in a wedding budget, so you'll want to choose a place where your guests will be comfortable, and that you'll feel comfortable paying for. If you're lucky, you may find a venue that will work for both your ceremony and reception.

Winding Hollow Golf Club was the perfect
place for our reception venue!
As Matt and I began planning my our dream wedding, we decided that it was important for us to get married in a church. Since my church doesn't have a center aisle and wouldn't accommodate all of our guests, we had to look for two separate venues. I started out by looking for the reception venue because  that's where the majority of the money in our wedding budget would be spent, and I assumed it would be easier to find a ceremony site than a reception site.

As I began my initial search for a reception venue, I found to be very helpful. If you go to their vendor category, not only do they give you a list of reception venues in your area, they also allow you to insert criteria specific to what you're looking for like the number of guests, amenities, style and price range. (They never give a specific amount in the price range, but the dollar signs are somewhat helpful when you're trying to decide what you can or can't afford). There are also pictures of each reception venue, along with its contact information.

After looking at all of the options, I was convinced I had found "The One" and that I didn't need to look at any others. My favorite was a country club in a neighboring town. I liked that the country club would look great in wedding pictures, and it was only 15 minutes from my parents' house. Matt, my mom and I met with the venues event coordinator and everything was going really well...until she told us the price. Even though I didn't know what other local reception venues would cost, I mentally crossed that venue off my list. My mom gave us some advice that I would like to pass onto other brides planning their weddings: You shouldn't cross a venue off your list until you've looked at other reception venues and have something to compare it to.

On the way home from the first venue tour, we drove past the sign for a golf club that was less than ten minutes from my house. It was a bit off the main road so I had never noticed the building, but my mom encouraged me to check it out. As I was looking up where to schedule my next tours, I added the golf club (Winding Hollow) to my list.

The next weekend my mom and I visited a restaurant/event center on the water and Winding Hollow. The restaurant was a further drive from my house, but it was on the water and the view was great. I was once again shocked to learn that it was even more expensive than the country club. My mom and I both liked the location of the venue, but we were not impressed by the condition of the actual building.

After the boathouse, we headed for Winding Hollow. It had the same country club appeal, except the ballroom was much larger and would be able to accommodate all of our guests. I loved the big fireplace, the huge locker rooms for the bride and groom to get ready in and the picturesque views of the golf course. They also had an outdoor ceremony space available. Of the three event coordinators I met with, I felt like Winding Hollow's Coordinator, Keisha, was the one I would want to work with on my wedding day.

The price to rent Winding Hollow was about the same as the other two venues, so it really is important to see a couple of venues before you decide that something is too expensive. (I shouldn't question my mom!) A month after my initial visit, Matt, my parents and I went back to Winding Hollow to attend a bridal event. We got to tour the venue, taste some of their menu and meet with other local vendors. Matt knew I loved it and was happy to stop looking at venues also fell in love with Winding Hollow and we were able to book that day!

Check back because next time I'll blog about finding the perfect ceremony space!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful guide on choosing an affordable venue! Pleased to have these details here. For me finding a right and inexpensive venues in Houston has become a quite a task. Will get married in coming March month. Hope to find few by then.