Getting Started

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.

Confirmation call

Before making appointments with site managers, request the following over the phone:

availability on your wedding date
food and beverage options on premise
number of guests the venue can accommodate
parking options
accessibility for handicapped guests
number of events the venue will hold simultaneously

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).

Research thoroughly

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.

Meal Time

If the site has an in-house caterer, schedule a meeting to discuss menu options and a tasting.

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