He proposed. You said yes. What next?
There are certainly many things that will be on your wedding planning list after you start planning for the big event. However there are certain things you should get out of the way sooner rather than later. An obvious start is to begin with the big building blocks, namely the ceremony and reception locations.
You typically won’t have a lot of time to reserve your reception site. The most popular sites go quickly, especially in Chicago! You should choose your location about one year prior to your event, and for some more popular locations – that might even be cutting it close!
Here are some various questions that you and your fiance can think about when deciding on where you’d like to have your reception. You might also want to head on over to Chicago Wedding Venues, which is an amazing site where you can view amazing photographs of over 150 Chicago area Reception Venues.
Does it feel right?
It might seem silly, but first impressions are also important in deciding on your wedding reception site. If you walk into a venue and you have an uncomfortable feeling, or you are simply uneasy about the whole place, you might want to move on and continue your search. But, if you find the place charming, you might move on to the next question.
Is it big enough?
Yes, size does matter when it comes to wedding reception venues. The space has to accommodate your wedding party. It is a simple thing, but you need to make sure the place is large enough. You need to consider not only your wedding guests but also everything from your DJ to the dance floor to the place for your wedding cake. If you ask nicely, they might let you visit the place in action. Yes, it’s best to get a feel for the size of the place, as it is being setup for a wedding reception.
Is there enough parking?
You’ll definitely need to make sure your wedding guests can park. For most locations in the Suburbs of Chicago – this typically isn’t a problem. However some downtown locations are harder to manage. If parking is unavailable you should arrange a shuttle or a van to take your wedding guests from the wedding ceremony to the reception.
Is it private?
For example, if you would like a private reception, you should not even consider public places such as parks. If privacy is very important, you need to arrange a private estate. Even hotels and restaurants can be less private than you might think since they often host multiple events simultaneously. If this bothers you, you need to make sure there are no other events are scheduled for your wedding day.
Does it have a view?
A great view can add to the overall experience of your wedding guests. Whether it’s a dramatic skyline view, a beautiful garden, historic park, wonderful art, a great wedding reception will always have something fantastic to see.
Is it well lit?
In addition to the above, you should make sure the reception hall is well lit. Light can make or break your event. The lighting of the room sets the overall mood of the space, so make sure you see the place lit during your walk through.
How much does it cost to use the venue? How much do you have to pay up front?
You should never pay more than fifty percent of the total rental cost. If you put a deposit down, ask about their refund policy. Anything can happen, and you might need to cancel your reservation. You must get the cancellation policy in writing.
What exactly is included in the wedding reception package?
You should never take their word for anything (yes, this sounds harsh!). You must get it in writing even if you think you have never met a more trustworthy person in your life. Are chairs, tables, plates, and such included?
What time can you occupy and what time do you have to vacate the reception site?
How much are you going to be charged if you stay longer?
Are they insured in case an accident happens?
Has an accident ever happened, and how did they handle it?
Do you have to use their caterer, or can you hire your own?
Are you going to be the only event scheduled on your wedding day?
Could there be any scheduling conflicts, if there are other events scheduled for the same day?
Do they have a liquor license?
Are there any references that you may contact?
No references should be a showstopper.
Can you visit the venue as they setup for a wedding, so you can see what the site looks like for the big occasion?
How much flexibility do you have to move things around the room?
Can you make the adjustments to the furniture and such to accommodate your event?
Is parking available, and how much does it cost?
Is there valet service?
Are the bathrooms and other facilities clean?
Is there a dressing room available for the bride and groom?
Who is going to be there during your wedding reception in case you need assistance?
Is there security on the premises? Has there been any criminal activity at the venue?
Hopefully some of the questions will help you in your search for the perfect wedding reception venue! Don’t forget to check out Chicago Wedding Venues, and jumpstart your Reception Venue search!