First things first
Begin your search right after you've settled on a head count. Book your reception site 9 to 12 months in advance.
Do your homework
Consult brides.com's Receptions Gallery for a wide array of ideas by color, theme, and style. Flip through wedding magazines and visit your local chamber of commerce for recommendations.
Get the scoop
Seek recommendations from friends, family members and coworkers—anyone whose opinion you trust. And, chat with brides in your area.
Before making appointments with site managers, request the following over the phone:
Down to business
Narrow down your list of sites, based on the phone interviews, and schedule site tours. Bring a notebook and pencil, and write down answers to your questions.
Scope it out
Tour the entire facility, including bathrooms and kitchens. Note the quality of the lighting, and the availability and positioning of electrical outlets (for your band or DJ).
Ask to speak to former clients. If your request for references is denied, consider that a red flag, and move on.
Assess the space
Request a second visit, preferably when another wedding is being set up, to accurately assess the site's size. If this is not possible, ask to see photos of events that have taken place there.
If the site has an in-house caterer, schedule a meeting to discuss menu options and a tasting.