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Weddings
Wedding planning tips and guides

Choosing a Reception Venue

On-premise vs. Off-premise

An on premise venue generally refers to hotels, clubs, restaurants, banquet facilities and any other venue that has full service food and beverage services on site. When a venue is considered off premise you will be responsible for sourcing your own caterer, bar service, rental equipment etc. Off premise venues could include a tented yard, private home, museum or art gallery.

Ceremony & reception space – one room or two?

If you decide to have your ceremony and reception at one location then you will want to know if the ceremony and reception will take place in one room or will the location be able to provide separate rooms. If the venue can only offer one room then you must be aware that the room will need to be transformed from a ceremony space into a reception space while the guests are still in the room. This will limit some of your décor options. A more ideal situation is to have the ceremony and reception in two separate rooms or locations whenever possible.

Ask the right questions

Asking the right questions will help determine whether a site is viable for your event. See the reception Site Checklist

Having the wedding at home

One of the first ideas that many couples have in order to save money is to have the wedding at home. Consider the following questions before you finalize your decision:

  • If you are planning on having the wedding outside without tenting – will the house accommodate all of the wedding guests if the weather is poor?
  • What is the capacity of the bathroom(s) and if applicable, septic system
  • Where will your guests park?
  • Are there any major home or landscape improvements needed to make the property suitable for a wedding?
  • Do you need to be concerned about mosquitoes or other bugs?
  • How up to date and powerful is the household electrical? Will you be able to accommodate coffee percs and portable convection ovens that the caterer may require?
  • Does the kitchen have adequate space to accommodate a caterer?
  • Will someone be home and available to receive all deliveries: rentals, flowers, food?
  • Who will be responsible for the clean up after the event? Will you be leaving for your honeymoon or will there be time?

Consider using tents

With the unpredictable weather and frequent showers in the Pacific Northwest we strongly recommend tents for all outdoor events and at home weddings. There is nothing more beautiful and unique than an outdoor wedding however they are neither simple to organize or inexpensive. Refer to our “In Tents” event page for specific details regarding tented events.