The Groton School Historic Chapel
Location – Location – Location
These are buzz words for real estate – and they apply to reception sites too. After setting the date reserving the venue is something to do sooner than later. There is much to consider when researching for the best place to have your reception.
All planning starts with the size of the wedding. A majestic cathedral will look empty if you’re inviting 150 guests. Similarly, shoe-horning 300 guests into a tiny country church that only seats 200 because you have a sentimental attachment to it is pure madness.
Little tip: if the site is oversize, see that the ushers escort guests to sit in each pew by the aisle. When the bride enters, there will be smiling faces from front to back. It will also prevent empty spots in background of all your photos.
Efficiency rules at most hotels but ballrooms can look barren. You may want to warm them up by introducing a little extra by way of decoration.
Little tip: in sites that seem large or cold, artificial or live trees strung with warm white lights give immediate charm.
The charm of a private home is evident and doesn’t need embellishment. The downside is the pressure it puts on the homeowner (unless it is a very small family wedding.)
Little tip: be ruthless about moving out and placing in temporary storage much of your furniture. Rent small chairs for the service so there is consistency in the look and economy of space.
These provide great charm and, under sound management, staff will be helpful with ironing out the details. They will have strict rules about the hours you have access to the home and when you must leave, so if you’re looking for an all-night-party, this isn’t the venue for you.
Little tip: most are very restrictive about the use of candles. Be sure to clarify the policy because many brides have spent a fortune on candle groupings and on the wedding day, were not allowed to light them.
Clubs are accustomed to catering to special events and usually are well-appointed. Be certain to have a dinner at the club to ensure that it has a good chef. (Some great golf courses are not well served by their kitchens.)
Little trick: become friendly with the chef. Take him (or her) into your confidence and encourage them to reveal their specialties and what will make the menu original – from appetizer to dessert.
These can be the most romantic sites of all, but also the most costly. You must have a backup in case of bad weather, such as a tent with sidewalls, flooring and gutters (unless there is an indoor option at the site).
Little tip: the garden supplies the trees and flowers, but it is effective to create a little bower that will act as an outdoor altar. Don’t forget a table for signing the register.
Lodge or church hall
These can be barren and need a little finery. If chairs are unattractive, pay a little extra and rent good-looking chairs. See that the tables are draped with attractive linens.
Little tip: cut any overhead lighting and use many candles to set the scene.