One of the most important decisions a couple makes when planning their wedding is where to hold the reception. Although there are a variety of reception locations, deciding on one does not have to be difficult.
When shopping around for various reception locations, it is best that the bride and groom agree on exactly what they want for their wedding reception. “What is the most important thing to the couple? It’s important to prioritize,” says Judith Ann Graham, author of “My Bride Guide: A Wedding Planner for Your Personal Style.” She adds, “The reception sets the tone and it also gives your guests an idea of how you’re going to live together as a couple.” The couple has to decide and agree what will make the day more special for them, whether it is having a big wedding at a large banquet hall or a small wedding at an exclusive restaurant, Graham says.

Typically, couples take three factors into consideration when deciding on a reception location, according to Patty Sachs, celebration expert and author of “Pick A Party: The Big Book of Themes and Occasions”
“One is a favorite place. A place they’ve seen and know that maybe someone they know has been married in,” Sachs says. “The second is ambience and the third is price. Depending on the couple, it can be all three or one more than the other.”
Keeping that in mind, wedding receptions can take place almost anywhere: a hotel, a banquet hall, a restaurant or a friend’s home. Unique spaces such as mansions, galleries, boats and trains can also be the sight of the perfect reception if the couple wants it to be.
Another unique idea for a wedding reception location, the destination wedding, entails a wedding that takes place over a weekend at exotic locations such as Martha’s Vineyard, Hawaii or Spain. “The bride and groom plan a wedding in an area that neither of them are from and it becomes a weekend event,” says Cheryl Cox, a certified wedding consultant in Myrtle Beach, S.C. “There could be golf for the men and shopping for the ladies.” “It’s like a weekend wedding retreat. They can take place at very exotic locations,” Graham says, adding that most of the planning can be done online.
Some couples are taking advantage of another popular reception idea that is both simple and economical: an afternoon tea.
“They are serving a very simple cake and champagne after the ceremony and that’s it,” Graham says. “They’re doing tea, they’re doing little finger sandwiches, they’re serving a wonderful wedding cake and champagne or a sparkling punch.”
“They could do that almost anywhere that they’d have their evening reception. Often in the afternoon, even hotels and country clubs will be able to accommodate an afternoon wedding and still be able to have an evening event,” Sachs adds. Although prices for any type of reception depend upon the individual couple’s needs and wants and geographic location, prices also depend on the size and quality of the space and the menu options.
“The first variable is the size of the space. The larger the space, the more expensive it’ll be,” Sachs says. “Food prices depend on the type of food you want and the type of the food they specialize in.”
Price also depends on the size of the guest list, Cox says.

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