The MANual: Reception

Make The Space Work Harder For You

Here’s the thing to remember about your wedding venue: it’s a stage set.  The less you have to decorate that stage, the more money you’ll save. So look for a venue that is already close to the atmosphere you imagined.

Make The Space Work Harder For You

There’s a phrase in the event planning business:  the room should “work harder for you.” Basically, this means that you should look for a venue that already has a lot of the character or vibe you want. When it comes to decorating for the reception, all you’ll have to do is come in and add few personal touches.

Let’s say you want the reception to look like a 1920’s speakeasy. If you rent some boring rectangular hotel conference hall, you’re going to have to spend a lot on decorations and props to create your perfect speakeasy. Rent a cool vintage-style bar and three quarters of your work is done for you.

Too Big Is Better Than Too Small

Size is important when picking your venue, and the right size depends on the number of people you’re inviting. If it’s too small for your party, everyone will feel crowded. If it’s too big, you’ll lose any sense of intimacy.

Your Venue: Look Before You Book

Your Venue: Look Before You Book

But if you can’t find a venue that hits that sweet spot in the middle, go for the one that’s too big. You can’t expand a small space, but you can easily make a big one seem smaller. Tricks of the event planner’s trade include moving the band’s stage forward, or setting up an oversized bar. The effect is to move the room in, which means the social energy remains flowing, and doesn’t dissipate into the empty corners.

The Walls Are Part Of Your Wedding

Don’t forget that the walls are part of the space, and will have an effect on the atmosphere. Does the place have art on the walls? Can you take it down if you find it distracting, or even offensive? This is particularly important if you get married in an art gallery: you don’t want a show of naked grandma portraits intruding on your reception. Also, check to see if you can hang your own decorations on the wall, should the opportunity arise.

Bottom Line

Try to find a venue where the space will help you have the reception you want, not make it more work.

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