Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Reception Venue

You’ve chosen your wedding day and everything relating to your ceremony, now you have to bring your guests together to create a great celebration! I believe it’s the atmosphere that is created by the people attending, the MC & entertainment that will decide your receptions success so I’m not going to cover too much on the reception venue itself.

Wedding Venue

As long as you and your guests have great food and are totally comfortable then the rest can be tailored to make a great evening.

You may have already chosen your venue but here are some things to consider for your wedding planning.

Distance from Ceremony Venue

Ensure there is enough time to travel from the ceremony venue to the reception venue (if a different location) and consider how your guests will travel from one venue to the other also. From experience having the ceremony at the same location as your reception (if possible) takes a lot of pressure off the bride and groom along with your guests regarding travel arrangements.

It will also leave more time for photos and your guests to relax.

Parking for Guests

Ensure there is enough parking at the ceremony and reception venue for guests. Also if any of your guests are disabled consider access for them to both venues.

Wedding Suppliers Access

Ensure all of your wedding reception suppliers have access to the venue early when required to set up. If your venue has Stairs or is hard to access, make sure your suppliers know about it long before your wedding day. It should be up to them to find out venue access details but just pass on the info anyway, they will be able to plan and offer a better service on the day.

Outdoors Wedding Receptions

The main thing to consider here is to plan for the possibility of bad weather. This includes rain, snow, wind and everything else mother nature can throw at you. If your reception is in a Marquee on grass..

Make sure the sprinklers have been turned off!

Outdoor Weddings Things to Consider are..

  • Rain, Snow, Dew, Wind
  • Bugs, Mosquitoes, Sandflies, Nasties – Have repellent handy
  • If near garden & lawn – Ensure reticulation is turned off / reprogrammed
  • Sun – Provide shade for guests
  • Public. Try not to book a venue where the public can cross paths at your wedding reception. Along with being a security issue the general public will want to take a peek at your wedding (even if you are trying to enjoy dinner)

Food and Caterers

Whether you choose a sit down meal or Buffet is really determined by your budget, culture and personal likes. Personally I think Buffet’s are a lot easier to manage and work better for larger crowds (100 people plus).  5 to 15 people or a table at a time makes for an easy flow to the Buffet table. Your venue staff or MC can advise when your guests can access the Buffet.

On the flipside a sit down (menu) meal can be more elegant but more expensive. Once again see what your budget allows. Keep your guests allergies and special food requests in mind along with the amount of baby seats needed.

Should you feed the suppliers such as your DJ, MC, Band, photographer & videographer? It is totally up to you! Things to note are..Some suppliers may find it rude if you do not provide a meal (As some are at your wedding longer than 8 hours). The best thing is to ask each supplier if they would like a meal or not at your wedding reception before the day.

Noise Restrictions

Make sure you and your entertainment are well aware of any noise restrictions that the venue might have. Some venues are very strict and I have seen great entertainment spoiled by sound restrictions.

If a venue has strict noise restrictions to the point that a DJ cannot set up his/her own sound system they should not be a wedding venue (But that’s only my opinion and it will vary for each venue)

If you want a Good Party atmosphere after your bridal waltz “party loud” sound is essential. Music that is not too loud so guests cannot talk, just loud enough for dancing.


Usually there is NO security at most wedding venues. I recommend having a backup plan in case of security issues (such as uninvited guests or the public gate crashing your wedding, which I have seen happen a few times) It really depends on where your venue is and how close it is to the public.

Venue Lighting

Lighting will set the mood of your reception. Having dimmable lights is a must and No fluorescent lighting is even better! It’s good to have the lights at a romantic setting during dinner then a little brighter during the speeches. The first dance is when the lights can be turned off or dimmed to the point that your guests can still see their tables but are comfortable on the dance floor.

Lectern & Microphone

Some venues have a lectern and in house microphone for speeches whilst others don’t. Your DJ or PA supplier should be able to setup a Wireless Microphone which allows freedom for your guests and MC also.

A lectern is great for placing speech notes on and can relax the people making speeches as they don’t have to hold onto notes along with a microphone. Having the Microphone on a stand is a good idea also but if there is only 1 microphone available it can mess with the MC’s timing.

Location of the Dance floor and Cake

The location of your dance floor can make a difference to how much your guests get involved in your wedding activities. As each venue is different it’s hard to say the best spot but your venue will know what has worked well in the past.

Having a dance floor that most of the guests can see whilst at their tables is good to work with. Try not to have your dance floor in a separate room as it separates the celebration. From experience if your entertainment is a band they really need a small stage. As a DJ is not very interesting to look at and not “putting on a show” like a band the DJ does not need a stage.

The DJ should be setup against a wall or in a corner close to power points. Within 10 Metres of the closest power point is a good distance for your DJ or Bands power requirements. The cake is best close to the dance floor or bridal party table. This allows minimal effort for the bride and groom and let’s everybody see the cake cutting itself and take photos easily.

Wedding Reception Vendors

Choosing your wedding suppliers can be a daunting task. Luckily there is an almost guaranteed technique you can use to ensure quality and reliability from your wedding suppliers.. Popular Wedding Directory Forums!

Most brides talk amongst each other regarding which wedding suppliers to use and more importantly not use. Check your country and local area most popular online wedding directory for forum sections then simply ask which suppliers most brides are going with and why.

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