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Firstly the budget has to be discussed as this can impact on the choice of venue. Do you have a limited budget or is money no object? If you have a limited budget then the venue will have to be cheaper and often this means the amount of people pared down. You may even decide to hold it in your house or a local hall or community centre as opposed to a country house, grand hotel or marquee.
Secondly do you have a number of people in mind you wish to invite, and can the venue cope with it? Things to consider include expectations of you by other people. You will more than likely invite close family but what about your mum's best friend? Would she be upset if you didn't invite her? If you have 20 people you are inviting then a small cosy meal in a local restaurant may be a great option but may not be suitable if you are inviting 200 people, when a country house hotel could be better.
Thirdly what type of venue would you like and where do you wish to hold the reception? There are many types of venues to consider and the main ones include hotel, restaurant, home, local hall or community centre, and marquee amongst others.
Fourthly what type of food do you want and are the venue able to provide this or are you bringing in outside caterers or cooking it yourself? Obviously the cost implications of cooking it yourself will mean you save a lot of money but do you have the time and inclination to do this so close to your wedding? Maybe other family members would help out if you wanted to go down this route.
Using a cosy room in a hotel may be perfect for an intimate gathering. Many hotels also have larger rooms than can be hired out for a large party. A large country house hotel is perfect if you want to push the boat out and have a higher budget. You may even pay to take over the hotel for your wedding. Are you ordering off the normal menu or is there a special wedding menu available? A special menu may be a cost effective option. Can you bring your own wine or will they expect you to buy it from them?
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Booking a table in a restaurant may be suitable for a smaller gathering, whilst hiring out the whole restaurant maybe possible for a large party. Again ask if they have a special wedding menu or are they able to put a menu together for the event? You will generally be expected to buy their wine and drinks for a toast and these maybe pricey.
If you use your home you need to consider will you use outside catering or are you or your friends and family cooking the food. This can be the most cost effective option. You can hire a marquee for the garden, and this is a lovely option for a summer wedding. Buying wine from a local cash and carry or even supermarket will be cheaper than buying wine in a hotel or restaurant.
A local hall or community centre can be a great cheap option when you really have to watch the pennies. Again consider who is making the food, will you hire an outside caterer or will it be friends and family making the food. Providing your own drink is cost effective.
Marquees can cater for a medium to large number of people, and some come fully lined and heated too. Smaller marquees can be a surprisingly cost effective way of catering for those as an added extension to your house. Some marquee companies will also provide hire services of items to furnish such as chairs, table linen and glassware for example. A great option for something a little different. Marquees may be set up in a country house hotel, a pub, your own garden or outside space. Prices vary depending on where it is set up, size of marquee, the furnishings and whether you are providing the catering or an company are.
As you can see there are many things to think about when considering the perfect wedding reception venue.
Tell me - are you planning your wedding? If you are already married where did you hold your reception? What do you think of the options available?
* Sponsored by C & J Rentals - marquee hire in Yorkshire and the North of England.