So you have the engagement ring. You have set the date and perhaps booked the church, but what about the reception? The reception is when the real fun begins. The bride and groom make their grand entrance; they have their first dance, the mix and mingle with guests and eat as well as cut the cake. So what should you look for in a reception site? There are three main considerations. Location to the ceremony, size accommodation’s and budget.
The first and probably the most important consideration is the location. How far is the location to the reception from the church or wedding site? How long will it take guests to arrive? Maybe the distance is not far but what is traffic like the time of day you get married? As an Atlanta wedding photographer for over twenty years I have seen many different scenarios. I have seen the unexpected NFL game or a convention that has just ended and put a couple thousand extra cars on the road in the same travel area and keep guests from getting to a reception on time. Since this is a day you want to be flawless, you can never be too careful in the planning process.
The second consideration is the size of the reception site. How many guests do you expect? I have seen 200 guests try to fit in a small ballroom. This is a quick way to end the reception with people saying a quick hello to the bride and groom and leaving because it was too crowded. I have also seen a wedding with 50 people book a ballroom for 500. This certainly does not make for a very intimate party. Do you want an open elegant ballroom or perhaps a more Southern Plantation feel? They both have their advantages and disadvantages based on your preference. A ballroom allows guests to see everything that is going on without missing anything. A plantation style house has several rooms that break up the guests into several groups. This makes for more intimate gatherings within the large group but does not give everyone a look at the entire night’s events at a glance. This is something each couple would need to decide for themselves. There are also other locations such as parks, convention centers, art centers that work well as a reception location.
The final consideration is your budget. For most people, there is always a budget that needs to be considered. Look for sites that meet your location needs and style and then consider your budget. Before you sign a contract with a reception site make sure to go over all of the details. Find out the deposit requirements, what is included, and what is not included. Find out the policies on your timeline for the night and any cancellation fees. Below are a few of my favorite reception sites local to the Atlanta area.
This article was written by Atlanta wedding photographer, Lynn Brown.