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Pros and Cons of different wedding venues

The overall impact of your wedding depends on the venue you pick. This is because your choice of location affects the theme, décor, lighting and other aspects of your wedding. It even affects your dress decision to a great extent. Hence, the venue decision isn’t one to take lightly. In fact, it is one of the first wedding planning decisions that every couple should make.

From indoor venues like barns, banquet halls and castles to outdoor venues like beaches and gardens, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, there are so many factors to consider when choosing your wedding venue. These include the following

  • Your budget
  • Expected number of guests
  • Accessibilty of location
  • Desired wedding theme
  • Style of wedding
  • Weather at the time of wedding

While these factors are important, this list isn’t exhaustive. There are many more aspects that you have to consider when choosing the venue.

Don’t worry if you are confused or overwhelmed by this. Fortunately, we have an easy way to help you narrow down your choices to the right type of venue for your wedding!

Take a look at our list of pros and cons for the different venue types. This will help you weigh each option against the others and eliminate or short-list the suggested venue type. This should allow you to recognize the best venue for your situation. So, let us take a look at the most popular venue types one by one.

Hotels/Banquet halls

Hotels and resorts are very popular wedding locations, since these venues are equipped to deal with events of this scale. They also have facilities for accommodation and food, which is great if you have a number of outstation guests. Here are the pros and cons of choosing a hotel or resort as your wedding venue.

Pros:

  • Staff have experience hosting events of this scale. As a result, most of the day will progress smoothly.
  • On-site caterers make menu planning a breeze. You needn’t worry about the logistics of transporting food from another location, setting it up or the service.
  • The venue is guaranteed to have great interiors and classy décor to match. You can enhance it with your own choice of decorations.
  • You do not have to worry about parking, seating or bathroom facilities on-site.
  • They have rooms that you can use to get dressed at. Saves you the trouble of traveling to the venue after getting dressed at home or at another location.

Cons:

  • Most hotels offer standard packages, and you may have limited flexibility or have to spend extra to alter things to your exact liking.

  • You may have to use the hotel’s vendors and entertainment for the occasion. This may limit your options and you may not be allowed to bring in food or liquor from outside.

  • Hotels are quite expensive, as you have to go with the packages they have.

  • Good hotels are booked quickly, and since most of them host only one wedding per day you may have to make your decision very early.

For more insight on whether a hotel is the right venue for your wedding, take a look at this article on Easy Weddings. 

Country Club/Garden venue

Many country clubs have options for both indoor and outdoor events, allowing you to enjoy the best of both. There is also a romantic and serene charm to such settings. Here are the pros and cons of picking such venues for your wedding.

Pros:

  • They have ample space to accommodate a large guest count. They will also have shaded outdoor seating spaces, cozy indoor relaxing spaces and picturesque locations.

  • You have the flexibility of using both indoor and outdoor spaces. So, you can have your ceremony in their grounds, and the reception indoors.

  • The food is usually amazing at country clubs. They may also allow you to bring in your own caterer or baker, on prior agreement.

  • Country clubs usually have well-maintained grounds, garden spaces and beautiful indoor décor that allow for amazing photographs.

Cons:

  • The venue is usually expensive. Also some country clubs require you to have a membership to avail of the facilities. You will have to consider this factor when choosing this venue.

  • Since country clubs have a number of event spaces, yours may not be the only event on the day. This means there may be outsiders sharing the same space and amenities.

Beach

The beach is a top wedding destination for couples who want a relaxed, intimate and memorable wedding. From beaches that are close to home to those in the exotic tropics, couples flock to beaches for the unique ambiance they provide. Here is what you should know before you have your wedding at such a location.

Pros:

  • Unmatched ambiance and unique feel of the outdoors. Romantic and exciting venue that is interesting and makes for amazing memories

  • Destination beach weddings allow you to tailor your wedding to a fixed budget and invite only those you really want at your wedding

  • Setting allows you to choose comfortable and casual attire, if you aren’t fond of traditional wedding gowns.

  • Amazing wedding photos are guaranteed, since the venue will be bathed in natural light and is fun

Cons:

  • You need a Plan B in case the weather throws up unwanted surprises like heavy winds or a drizzle.

  • Destination beach weddings aren’t easy since you will be making long-distance plans and can’t oversee every detail.

  • Unless it is a private beach, outsiders may invade your wedding venue and be in your photos.

More details of what you should remember when planning a beach wedding are available in this article. 

Church/House of Worship

If faith plays an important part in your life, you may choose to have your wedding ceremony at a church or house of worship. This traditional venue comes with its own benefits and disadvantages. Let us look at what they are.

Pros:

  • The venue is magnificent and lends an air of grandeur and style to your wedding.

  • Suitable for classic wedding themes and allows you to dress traditionally

  • There is an organized approach and the various events on the day progress as per tradition. The expected nature of these rituals eliminates confusion.

  • Weddings in a house of worship usually cost less than other venues

Cons:

  • There are usually restrictions on the dressing for a wedding. You may have to cover your shoulders, which means you can’t pick a strapless gown unless you cover it up with a suitable accessory.

  • You will have to find another location for the reception. This means your guests will have to travel from the first venue to the second. This will involve time and more planning.

  • Your photography options will be limited in a church. Make sure your photographer has the required equipment to capture the photos with clarity during the ceremony.

Museum/art gallery/Castle

Steeped in history, museums and art galleries offer a unique ambiance for a wedding. The very location makes the occasion memorable and it is less traditional. Here are the pros and cons to selecting this venue for your special day.

Pros:

  • Since these venues aren’t common choices, it offers a unique and interesting touch to your wedding

  • It allows you to paint a picture of your personal taste and likes, making your wedding very personal.

  • Suitable for smaller gatherings due to space constraints. This makes the wedding cosy and intimate.

Cons:

  • Since these venues aren’t ideally meant to host such events, you will have to put in more effort to plan the event appropriately

  • Space constraints mean limiting your guest count to how many people can fit in the venue comfortably.

  • You will have to work with the existing décor and choose decorations that do not clash with the aesthetics of the place

  • The specialized art and fragile items in the setting require your guests to be careful with how they use the space.

  • You will have to find suitable outside vendors for the décor, food and other arrangements.

Reception Halls/Banquet Halls

Whether attached to a hotel or not, reception halls allow you to get your creative juices flowing and plan a wedding that is uniquely you. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of this choice.

Pros:

  • Unless attached to a hotel or resort, there is little to no décor at the location. This means you can work with the colors and elements of your choice to create a wedding day that reflects your tastes to the smallest detail

  • You can plan the entire setting to fit your budget. This gives immense flexibility.

  • It is a good space to host a reception following a wedding in a house of worship.

  • You can make the space work for your desired guest count by arranging the seating and other details suitably.

Cons:

  • The entire bulk of planning is on you. Since there is little to no existing décor, you will have to work hard on getting the theme and aesthetics right to match your vision.

  • Unless attached to a hotel, you will have to rent all the required equipment for setting up the arrangement.

  • You will have to find outside vendors for the food, decorations and all other aspects of the wedding.

  • Chances are that your guests have already been to the reception hall, if they are all from the community. Hence it will be challenging to create a setting that is different and provide an experience that isn’t similar to what they have experienced before.

Backyard

Having an intimate wedding in your own home is unlike weddings at any other venue. As romantic and charming as it is, it comes with a unique set of challenges. Let us explore what they are. You can also check The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding.

Pros:

  • Backyard weddings are intimate and relaxed. Your guests will feel at home and settle in easily

  • This is a venue that you have total control over. You can begin prepping it for the wedding much earlier than you have to with any other venue.

  • It is a great way to save on venue expenses, which usually account for a great part of the wedding budget.

  • You can personalize the venue to the smallest detail, since you do not have to obtain any permissions or pay attention to limitations where this is concerned.

  • You can plan a very unique wedding, by choosing the décor, food and ambiance you want for the event.

Cons:

  • Unless you have plenty of space, you will have to limit your guest count to how many people the space can host comfortably.

  • You will have to rent seating, install additional lighting and set up the place with all the factors that may not be readily available at home. For instance, you may have to set up outdoor portable washroom facilities since you may not have enough facilities for your guests otherwise.

  • You will have to worry about parking space and also check the locale’s concessions on noise and traffic. Your neighbors may not be thrilled about all the commotion if your plans don’t align with the regulations.

  • Since you will be living on-site till the wedding day, it will be under use and more difficult to get it ready. You will have to worry about how the place looks and plan everything in time, so it looks picturesque for your wedding day.

For more backyard wedding advice, take a look at this fantastic article on the Bridal Guide. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, every wedding venue comes with its unique set of challenges. At the same time, it also has its own unique benefits. With creativity, good organization and proper planning, it is possible to transform any venue into your dream wedding destination. So, tell us which wedding venue will you prefer for your special day?

For wedding dresses for any venue, whether it is a castle, museum, beach or hotel, visit us at Best for Bride. We will help you find the right dress for your venue, so you can be a bride who belongs in the setting!

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New Wedding Reception Ideas & Trends Your Guests Will Love

There’s always a new trend around the corner that could make your wedding reception become a memorable affair. Frequently, you don’t have to go big, make it extravagant, or even spend a mint. There are tons of fun and new wedding reception ideas and trends could be right up your alley. Read on for our take on some themes, trends, and Knick Knacks that are sure to enhance your special day and your guests experience.

Add Some Flair to Your Programs

Wedding days tend to provide guests with considerable amounts of free time. Whether it is the anticipation of the ceremony or the sometimes awkward timing before the reception, your guests are likely to have some “free” time throughout the day. Providing programs with some added flair is an excellent way to make those periods of time more exciting and enjoyable.

Blank notebook and wild flowers on blue wooden background. Concept flowers of spring,

Adding fun facts about the couple or ceremony location, introducing the wedding party, outlining the event schedule, and adding any fun tidbits, are creative ways to make the experience feel more personalized. It’s also a great conversation starter for family and guests that want to get to know one another. You’re also more likely to have guests taking pictures of your program and sharing fun with non-attendees.

Create Small Knick Knacks For Your Guests to Use or Keep

It goes without saying that the Bride is always the most important attendee at any given wedding. That being said, there are plenty or small ways to make your guests feel truly appreciated and more involved in the event.

Confetti in wedding thrown on the floor, celebrations and events

Providing to-boxes for leftovers or cake, personalized coasters to leave on drinks while dancing, or customized guest lists based seating arrangements to help people get to know each other, all make for great ways to make guests feel the love too. Going the extra mile to enhance your guests experience will make for an even more memorable reception. Make sure to add your wedding hashtag on these types of items so your guests can share their memories on social media!

Make Memories That Last a Lifetime

Hire a photographer that knows how to mix and mingle with the guests to take some candid shots. Nothing is staged here. These photos show the two sets of grandparents toasting each other. They show the bridesmaids and ring bearer flossing. Ask the pro to customize the borders of the pictures to spell out your wedding details.

The photos are printed out throughout the night and placed on a board. Guests can walk right up and take the images that they want. If there’s a shot you want but someone else snapped up, don’t worry! These photos also go on a website for downloading and social media sharing. To make it even more fun, all guests can use a special app that allows all images taken to be easily shared on social media. Now your wedding hashtag can truly go viral!

Skip the Restaurant and Invite the Food Vendors

Artisans from the local bakery bring the bread. The lady with the delicious cheeses at the farmer’s market stand brings some of her wares. The mom and pop restaurant with the fiery spaghetti alla puttanesca provides an experience worthy of its Napoli origins. The ice cream vendor whom you always see when you walk the dog? Invite him, too! He’ll bring the dessert. Now, that’s a party!

 

Encourage Guests to Bring Their Best Friends

No, we’re not talking about the plus-one option on the RSVP card. This best friend is the canine companion they refer to as a fur baby. If you and your significant other met in a setting that involved dogs, this is an ideal way of honoring the memory and giving the nod to the canine that brought you together.

Go wild, and encourage guests to dress up their dogs. Keep it low-key and merely let friends and family members bring their best friends as they see fit. Just be sure to provide plenty of water bowls, treats, and a designated area for doggies to do their business.

Incorporate Your Hobbies into the Party

The standard reception includes a meal, some toasts, and dancing. What would happen if you made your favorite hobby the backdrop to the standard? Are you and your love members of a roller skating team? Have the event at the roller skating rink! Did you meet at an indoor trampoline park? They have party rooms!

Wedding guests are enjoying a dance while the father of the bride plays piano music.

Just Have Fun!

In short, make the party a fun event for participants of all ages. Just be sure to let folks know if they need to bring special footwear or should pack a change of clothes. After all, nobody wants to jump on a trampoline in a long evening dress.

With so many new wedding reception ideas and trends, there’s no reason to do the same old routine. Forget the chicken or steak dinner and let’s party like you mean it!

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Your guide to planning a restaurant wedding

Restaurant weddings are smart and sensible! It is no wonder that more and more couples choose their favorite restaurants as their wedding reception venue. The interesting thing is that it is not only food-lovers who make this choice. Many couples nowadays prefer a small, intimate and meaningful wedding ceremony and reception instead of a big bash where they hardly know all the guests. Restaurants are a likely choice for such couples as well.

Here are some of the other reasons why restaurant weddings are so attractive.

It is the best option for those who are short on time: It is an easy go-to solution for a couple who are short on time or aren’t too keen on planning every small detail of their wedding day. So, if you are a bride or groom who has many pressing needs at work or otherwise, and fitting in wedding plans is nearly impossible, a restaurant wedding may be the easiest option available.

Budget-friendly options: Restaurant weddings cost a lot lesser than weddings at other venues when you want good quality service and food for a smaller number of guests. Hiring a wedding venue, renting or buying all the things for the reception, hiring catering and serving staff, and planning all the décor can be very expensive and take over most of your budget. When you choose a restaurant, the décor is done and there is no need to rent furniture, linens, or tableware. All that’s needed for the service is available and you do not have to hire extra staff.

Food quality is guaranteed: Restaurants specifically thrive on good ratings, and their ratings are directly linked to the quality of food they serve. If you love a restaurant for their signature food, you know your guests can enjoy the same on your wedding day. So, you needn’t worry too much about the food, or even attend numerous tasting sessions to zero-in on a good caterer. Even when you do, you do not have the same assurance that the food on the wedding day will be the same as what you had at the tasting session. On the other hand, with a restaurant, you have a minimum guarantee of what you can expect.

The setting is cozy and intimate: All are naturally comfortable and settle in quickly when it is a cozy restaurant setting. These venues are used to accommodating guests on a daily basis and assure you of comfortable seating, the right amount of cooling or heating for the weather, and experienced staff who can make your guests feel at home in an instant.

You get classy décor for little to no cost: Unlike decorating your wedding venue from scratch and spending thousands on each feature, a restaurant comes with furniture and tastefully done décor that you don’t have to spend anything on. Instead, you can divert those funds into another wedding detail. Everything is in place, even without your supervision.

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So, what do you think? Isn’t a restaurant wedding a great idea, given all these advantages? If you agree, here are the things to remember and do, when you plan your lifetime celebration at this venue.

Know your headcount

Before you finalize a restaurant, you should have a clear idea of how many guests will be attending your wedding. Restaurants are small spaces, and cannot accommodate more than a certain number of people comfortably. So, make sure that the place you choose will have enough space to seat all your guests. Check it out in person, to make sure there will be no problems. Your guests will not appreciate any make-shift adjustments if they aren’t given due importance. Don’t settle for a place unless it can cater to the headcount you suggest.

Be picky about the food quality

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The main attraction of a restaurant wedding is the food that will be served, and your guests will expect a great dining experience. So, don’t skimp on that factor. Make sure that you choose a restaurant that has great food. If it is a restaurant with dishes that are popular with most of your guests, you do not have much work to do. However, if you decide to go with a unique or distinct restaurant menu, you may like to collect a few opinions first. For example, if you choose a cuisine that most of your guests are not accustomed to, think of how you can adjust the menu so that there will be something for everyone.

Find out whether the event menus different from the regular menu

One of the first things to discuss with the restaurant manager is whether their event menu is different from what they regularly serve customers. This is a factor to consider, since you will be choosing a similar menu for a larger headcount, and the restaurant may have limitations in preparing certain dishes at once for the entire number. Restaurant service is very different from the service that is usually provided in other venues. So, discuss this with the chef, especially if there are certain choices that you must have and want to impress your party with.

Discuss your options to bring food from outside

drinks

Most restaurants do not encourage customers to bring food from outside. So, you may like to discuss this option if the restaurant doesn’t serve drinks or doesn’t have a custom cake service. Discuss with the manager before you sign the deal, so you are not disappointed later. Many brides prefer to have a custom gourmet cake, specially designed by a cake designer for their reception. However, your restaurant may not agree to it, if they have their own pastry chef or bakery section. Similarly, if the restaurant will not serve the signature drinks that you want, you may like to discuss this if it is important to you.

Make an early booking

Although it may be easier to book a restaurant when compared to other wedding venues, there are certain seasons when the rush is high For example, restaurants tend to be busier during the holidays. So, you will have to compensate them for the business they may have at the time when you book the entire facility. When you book at least six months ahead of the date, this should not pose a problem.

Ask about décor options

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Most restaurants are beautifully decorated, and the ambiance is usually a factor that attracts a couple to such places. So, it is a bonus when you think of how you can have a fantastic party without splurging on the décor. However, you may like to add a few special touches to make it more festive. A special centerpiece or some more floral décor may be a good idea. Ask about the extent to which you can add your own personal touches to the décor on the day. What are you allowed to bring in, and what do they restrict?

Talk about the privacy you will have

It wouldn’t be the same if there were other people at the restaurant, while you celebrate your wedding. However, it is a possibility that you have to consider it. Unless the restaurant hosts your party in a segregated hall where nobody from outside has access to, it is a good idea to consider hiring the whole place for the day. Most restaurants have small halls that you can fully book. So, you may be able to do this, if your guest list matches the number that can be hosted in such spaces. Of course, it will end up being more costly than when you just have to pay for the place you will occupy. Nevertheless, it will be worth it, as you will get the privacy you deserve, without any prying eyes. Even if you have to pay more for buying out the entire place for the time you are there, it will not be too much in comparison to hiring a whole other venue and decorating it from scratch.

Discuss the layout and seating arrangements

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Some restaurants are flexible in allowing you to change the seating arrangements, while others do not encourage it. Talk to the manager, and find out what your options are. Your layout should be comfortable for the guests who will be attending. Knowing what your seating options are, will allow you to decide on an arrangement that will work best. If the restaurant has hosted many parties before, you may like to take a look at some of those photos to figure out the different seating options and choose the best one for your function. It will also give you an idea of how space looks when transformed, rather than just going with an abstract idea.

Discuss the extra costs upfront

The overall cost will depend on the number of guests, the food served, and the day on which your wedding is held. You may be able to get a better deal if your wedding is on a weekday, or if you plan a brunch or lunch at a restaurant that normally doesn’t operate during the day. However, you will have to consider the extra cost if your party extends for longer than you anticipate. Apart from the listed cost, also find out about service charges and additional fees. You may also like to add tips and gratuity into the total cost, so you know what you have to budget overall.

Check how kid-friendly it is, if your guest list includes kids

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Most family-style restaurants will be equipped to handle little children. However, make sure you confirm this beforehand if there are children on your guest list. Do they serve special meals that may be a better option for children? Also, do they have seating arrangements that will be convenient for them? Knowing this in advance will allow you to plan any alternate arrangements you may have to make for the youngest members of your wedding party.

Check out previous weddings held there

A restaurant that has hosted many weddings in the past will always be a better bet than one without much experience. This is because weddings are quite different from regular services, for the headcount and style of service expected on the day. An experienced restaurant will be better equipped to accommodate last-minute changes in the headcount and to arrange the service in a seamless manner with minimum supervision. This article on Apartment therapy tells us that a Google search with the name of the restaurant and the words “wedding blog” will most likely turn up photos of weddings that were previously held in the space. If you decide to go with a place that is relatively new, it is a good idea to communicate more and be very specific about your expectations, so they get a clear picture of what you expect.

It isn’t unusual for couples, and especially brides, to feel worried and anxious as their wedding day draws near. With hundreds of details to plan and things to sort out, this is a normal and expected part of wedding planning. Having a restaurant wedding will help you overcome a great deal of stress, as much of it is already sorted out without any additional help. In fact, if you don’t have a wedding planner to oversee your wedding plans or guide you, a restaurant wedding may be one of the best options to minimize stress. With all these details taken care of, all you need now is a fantastic wedding dress to transform you into the beautiful bride you always wanted to be. And, we are here to help you find it.

Best for Bride features a vast inventory of top-class designer wedding dresses, in all price ranges and every type imaginable. Whether you are a modern bride or prefer a traditional wedding dress, we are sure you can find it in our stores. Check out the listings of all the dresses we carry, at our website link here, to see the dresses in our collections. Book your appointment with us today, and come one step closer to nailing your wedding day look.