There are many things to consider when selecting locations for all of your wedding events. As always, some of this information will be relevant to you and your planning, and some may not. Take what you need and ignore the rest!
The Engagement Party, Rehearsal Dinner, After Party, and Family Brunch can all be conveniently held at a restaurant or club. Depending on the number of people involved, you might need to request a banquet room. Many restaurants do not charge extra for use of the larger room, and some even offer a buffet service set up or controlled menu in their banquet room at a special rate. These events are also fairly easily held in a home. Of course, in a home, food and beverage service through family, a catering company or a combination of both will need to be arranged. Depending on the number of expected guests, you will also want to consider the need for extra tables and chairs, dishes and glassware and the often overlooked: toilet facilities; heaters or fans for outdoor events; security; and research on city codes and curfews for larger groups and later running outdoor events.
For your Rehearsal, Ceremony and Reception there are as many options as things to consider when making a choice. In addition to the timeless protocol of Ceremony in a Church and Reception in an Event Facility, and the recent trend of holding Ceremony and Reception both outdoors in a back yard or Outdoor Facility, there is another time tested option which was popular in a time when weddings were smaller and more intimate, in terms of both invited guests and spirituality of the event. That is the option of celebrating your marriage in a church or chapel with nearby social hall which: allows your guests to park just once for the day’s festivities; shortens the duration of the day by cutting out drive time; and reduces costs as your photographers, videographers, florists will not have to move their equipment or décor in vehicles. Whether or not you use the church’s social hall for the entire evening (or move later to a restaurant or home for the “after party”), you can count on beautiful, touching photography in part due to quaint, classic, or historic architecture which is part and parcel of most houses of worship. We would be remiss if we did not mention that many long lived marriages attribute their success to the presence of God in their lives - all the more reason to begin your marriage with His presence as well.
Things to consider and ask about depending on your situation – and for which event(s) you are selecting a site:
Schedule: Dates and times available for rehearsal and event coincide with your own.
Appearance: Architecture and décor to enhance or delightfully contrast your theme and provide great backdrops for photos. Need for additional décor. Rules limiting décor.
Comfort: Facility provides comfort to guests in terms of temperature, seating, toilet facilities, disabled access, ample parking, pathways, lighting, safety, shelter.
Convenience: Changing facilities and holding facilities for wedding party, equipment, supplies.
Food Service: Options such as on site catering, allowing in outside caterers, full kitchen, dishes and or serving pieces available. Beverage restrictions, corkage.
Sound: Power for music equipment, equipment on site, restrictions on type or volume of music, on staff musicians.
Other Possible Essentials: Tables and chairs, dishes, linens, clean up, security
Great Extras: On site coordinator, fabulous décor details for photos