Searching for the Perfect Reception Site?

The first question that I ask couples looking for a reception site is all about the feel and personality of their wedding.  Your reception site should fit the theme and character of your wedding.  If you have always dreamed of having a grand reception inside an elaborate ballroom, then your site selection should match that dream.  If you instead choose an outdoor garden at a winery, the entire ambiance is different.  And, are you looking for a single location for both the ceremony and reception?  These are all important questions that you need to answer before making any appointments.




Don’t try to change a site to make it what you want.  Choose your site based on your vision.  It will be less expensive.  The cost to customize a site to meet your vision can mean huge chunks of cash thrown out the window.

Secondly, know your budget before you contact any facility.  The reception cost will represent approximately 50% of your budget.  Generally 75% to 80% of the guests you invite will accept your invitation, with a 20% to 25% decline.  So if you have invited 200 guests, figure at the beginning approximately 150 guests.




Here in our St. Louis area, we have over 300 venues available from golf course reception sites with beautiful vistas, general banquet facilities, fine restaurants with private rooms, hotel venues, wineries, old historic homes, and private family farms.  Don’t settle for the first facility you visit as there are lots of choices.  I’ve heard brides tell me they went ahead and booked because they were frightened into the fact that the site could be “booked” if they didn’t.  Don’t bend to that pressure.  Not at the beginning of your search.   If your wedding will be close to a “premium” type date  – like the Saturday before a major Holiday – you will need to book early, so start early.  And keep an alternate date in mind, to maximize your options.




Take a look at TOTAL costs.  Does it include gratuity?  What type of bar service?  Is it limited, premium or brand name.   And most importantly – what is the quality of the food and the service.  Your guest will take note and rave about your wedding if you provide good hospitality and great food; they will also note bad service and less then inspiring food.   It’s not always dollars and cents making the difference.  I have found that some sites at $29.00 per guest are just as great as others at $45.00 per guest!  And at 150 guests, that a huge savings – $2400.



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