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How To Begin Wedding Planning - Part Three
Wedding Reception Halls
In our series on "How To Begin Planning a Wedding" we began by talking about compiling a guest list. Then, in our second article we talked about making a reception budget. Now, finally, we are ready to talk about finding wedding reception halls - hopefully, the one of your dreams.
With the guest list compiled and the budget made, you can begin taking a sensible look at the wedding reception halls in your area. You should be able to quickly decide which wedding reception halls will not work for you because they are (a) Not big enough (b) Too big for your needs (c) Too expensive (d) Not quality enough for what your desires and budget reflect.
Finding wedding reception halls:
Look in your phone book under "banquet hall". Start a list of the places that sound interesting or that you recognize as a place that you might like.
Do a search on the internet for the wedding reception halls that you are looking at. (Or, hopefully, they included their web address in their phone ad!) If you are having trouble locating certain halls on the net, try typing the name of the hall and the city and state it is looked in. For example, "Bob's Banquets, Milwaukee, WI".
Once you find the web addresses, look for information on how many people the rooms seat, menu listings, and pricing information. You can cross off of your list halls that are too small, too big, too expensive, etc.
Now, call the wedding reception halls on your list that you have not crossed off (or, if there are a ton of them, your top 5 favorite for starters) and set up an appointment for you and your fiance to see the hall and talk to a representative there about your wedding.
Make sure to take along paper and a pen to write down the name, phone number, prices, pros and cons, and any other notes on each place you see. After awhile, they can all run together and you will want to make sure to have accurate notes on each hall you visit.
If you are at a hall that you really like - the space, prices, and everything else seems good to you - make sure to ask what dates they have open around the time you are hoping to have your wedding. Many places will allow you to hold a date for 1-2 weeks without a deposit before making your decision. If this is the case, you may want to hold a date that would work for you both.
If you think you have found THE place, make sure you have considered the following:
Who is paying for the wedding reception - is it within their price range (including dinner or hors d'oeuvres, etc. for the number of people you have estimated) and the budget you have laid out for your reception?
Will the wedding reception hall adequately fit the number of guests you will be inviting?
Does the wedding reception hall require you to work with their kitchen or only certain caterers? Are you okay with their answer to this question?
Does the wedding reception hall charge for the room as well as the food?
Is there a cake-cutting charge? (Watch out for this hidden cost - it can be killer!)
Is the wedding reception hall handicap accessible? (Chances are good that you need to consider this.)
Are there restrictions on how you can decorate the wedding reception hall?
Finally, if you have narrowed your choice wedding reception halls down to one or two, you can take another look at the guest list you have made and see if you are going to need to cut the numbers or if you can fit and afford your entire list. This might factor into your decision - you may be happier being able to invite everyone on your list or you may decide that it is more important to you to have the wedding of your dreams than to invite all the people on your list.
Now that you have found the perfect wedding reception hall - book it! Wedding reception halls are often being booked more than a year in advance, so you will want to get this accomplished fairly quickly depending on how much time is left between now and your (hoped-for) wedding date.