So you’re getting married.  What to do first?

Fitzgerald’s Fine Catering’s many years of wedding catering experience has showed us that the wedding venue is the one of the most important steps of the wedding reception process because everything hinges around where and what time you want your reception. It’s typically chosen months before the actual big day. Before you decide, here are some tips to help you choose the ultimate wedding reception venue:

If your wedding ceremony and reception are going to be in the same venue, that’s all the better for your guests. If they are in two different locations, then there are some things you should be prepared to plan for and provide to your guests:

1. The number of guests you’re expecting and what travel arrangements are needed to get people from one location to another

2. How many guests are familiar with the area and can easily travel whatever distance there is between the two locations

3. How many guests will require overnight accommodations and what is the cost of those for your guests?

Search for hotels/motels/bed and breakfast spots close to the reception for that’s where they’ll end up and a closer drive from there to their hotel will matter more than being closer to the actual ceremony.

Offer numerous options in numerous price ranges with complete contact information for each possibility and let your guests decide what is affordable for them. (If you’re paying for the rooms, then this may  not matter.)

Contact those businesses and see if you can negotiate special pricing for your guests.  If you book numerous rooms in one hotel, then they should offer some special pricing for the wedding guests.

4. If guests are out of town and need hotel/motel room, they probably also need a rental car. Offer complete contact information on car rental companies and their locations so you guests can select the one convenient for them. You can also contact them for any special pricing they can arrange for your guests

5. Decide if the reception venue is more important than your dream wedding date. Sometimes the two aren’t the same.  If the date is more important, and your ideal venue is already reserved, you will have to either move the date, or, find a new venue.  Many venues are sold out months in advance, some beyond a year, so don’t get your heart set on a venue until you know if the site’s available.  Or, don’t set or announce the date or even send out save-the-date announcements until you know for sure where you’re hosting this grand celebration. One of the more popular wedding reception venues in Connecticut is the The Carousel at Lighthouse Point in New Haven.

Because the more popular the wedding reception venue, the more pricey they can become and the more pressure you’ll fee to reserve it the minute you can. It’s an emotionally exciting time…and you can get caught up in the moment, so think carefully before you sign anything or put money down to reserve it. Typically you’ll have a contract to sign so READ it before you sign it. And do the math.  If the venue is $5,000 and you’re expecting 100 guests, then you’re about to commit to $50 per person just for the room.  Before you sign, make sure you know:

What the rental fee includes?

What does that price do to your budget ($50 per person and no food, drink, wedding cake, music or even centerpieces are planned yet).

How long do you have the room?

What limitations are there?

And, as much as you won’t want to think about this, what happens if unforeseen circumstances cause you to have to cancel your reservation for any reason?

It is an exciting time, the day of you’ve dreamed of, so make your decisions wisely and ones your budget can realistically support.