Reception Site Planning

When should you choose one?

This should actually be done prior to choosing a ceremony site. The reason for this is that most popular reception venues need to be booked well in advance. During the Christmas season, in particular, would be very difficult to secure a venue unless you book 8-12 months in advance.

What criteria should you use to select a venue?

A decision about your reception venue can be made based on many factors such as proximity to proposed ceremony site, size of your guest list, your theme, degree of formality of your wedding, your taste, your budget or simply for sentimental reasons or family tradition. Here are some criteria you can use when selecting a venue:

  • Enough room for dancing or a dance floor
  • Stage
  • Available packages – where tablecloths, tables, chairs etc. are included
  • Facilities for caterers or availability of food & beverage service
  • Rooms for bridal party to change
  • Good restroom facilities
  • Facilities for the physically challenged
  • Ample Parking space
  • Security
  • Generator
  • PA system the DJ can use
  • If indoor, is the venue well-lit and air-conditioned?
  • Well maintained and clean
  • Sufficient electrical outlets
  • Has enough room for your guests when they are seated or standing or dancing! ( find out what is the maximum amount of guests that can be accommodated)
  • Professional and competent staff on duty on the day of your wedding
  • Equipment, furniture and tableware in good condition
  • Emergency procedures in place
  • Lovely landscaping and/or views from the property
  • Does the venue offer services in-house e.g. DJ, florist, decorating?
  • Would you have access to other rooms/areas at the venue e.g. poolside, mezzanine, rooftop, garden?

Should you choose a tented reception venue?

  • Tented venues have the advantage of flexibility – a tent can be erected almost anywhere (once permission/a permit has been obtained).
  • Tents also come in varying sizes and styles and can accommodate any number of guests.
  • They will also work well during the dry season.
  • However, bear in mind that during the rainy season, the mud and grass underfoot may lead to some unhappy guests!
  • Also remember that you have to create a comfortable environment under a tent. Therefore, you will have to think about renting portable restroom facilities, air conditioning/fans, tables, chairs, stage, dance floor, tent walls and equipment, installation of lighting, cooking and electrical facilities for the caterer and DJ.
  • Your budget may also go up since decorators may also have to get sturdier design elements rather than lightweight decorations that would fly away or fall down with the breeze!

Possible Reception Sites

  • Under a tent
  • At a relative’s house
  • At your home
  • Community centre
  • School/university hall
  • Art gallery
  • Hotel ballroom/terrace/poolside
  • Inn or guest house
  • The place you and your fiancé(e) first met
  • Beach
  • Nature park
  • Aboard a boat/yacht
  • Garden
  • Historic site
  • Church hall
  • Building’s atrium/conference hall/rooftop
  • Seafront venue

Celebration Savers

  • Ask if there are charges for extras such as table skirtings, candelabras, baby chairs etc.
  • Book reception on weekdays or on Sundays, Fridays and Saturdays tend to be more in demand and/or prices could go up!