Step Objective

No, not your phone’s reception. Research reception sites and what questions you should ask.

STEP OVERVIEW

Your Wedding Reception

If you’re planning your wedding in Rochester, consider yourself lucky! You have some of the best vendors in the industry at your service. As you pick out floral arrangements with your local florists, decide on a song list with your Rochester DJ, and select a decadent meal with help from your caterers, you’ll realize just how easy planning your wedding reception can be. We promise, this will be a day you and your guests will not soon forget.

Latest Inspiration

RECEPTION CHECKLIST

Book your reception venue

Time to say "I do" to your venue. High-fives all around! First, request a contract and review it carefully. Ask questions and then ask some more. Once you are comfortable, it's time to sign on the dotted line and provide the venue deposit if required.

List reception extras to buy

Prioritize your list. That way, as you get closer to the wedding, you'll have a reminder of which items to focus on and which to ditch if you can't find the time.

Buy reception extras

Start shopping so you can tick off some of those items from your reception extras list. After each purchase, subtract the price from your budget to help you keep track.

Work on the seating chart

The RSVPs should have started coming in (if they don't, pick up the phone).

Work on your escort cards

If you ordered escort cards, it's time to pick them up and organize them. If you're going the DIY route, now is the time to start working on them.

Prepare your toasts

Among the big, glass-clinking moments, there's the rehearsal dinner and the reception. Plan to say a few words, and Wedding Toasting Guide for the Bride and Groom can help you get started on what to say and how to do it.

10 IMPORTANT FACTORS

When you’re ready to search for the perfect venue, consider the following 10 important factors.

1.

Cost

Staying on a budget

As a cost-conscious organizer, you may want to keep the venue cost down to allow more room in your budget for food and beverages and entertainment. Being flexible on the date can be a great negotiating tool, as certain days of the week tend to cost less.

2.

Location

The right venue

A convenient location means different things for different events. For an event with attendees within a limited geographic range, a venue within a reasonable distance from most attendees’ homes or places of work may make sense. However, if many attendees will be traveling from out of town, hosting the event at a venue near the airport or their hotels will be beneficial. Better still, if attendees are being housed at a single location, hosting the event at that hotel mitigates the need for valet parking and the chance that attendees will be late due to getting lost.
How to help attendees have all the necessary information about venue is another important thing to consider. Nowadays offering attendees a mobile event app is a good way to inform them with maps, a right direction to venue, an up-to-date parking / shuttle arrangement information, and local attractions. A top-notch event app like Whova usually supports interactive indoor maps and also driving directions and parking instructions. It allows attendees conveniently navigate and find the exact building as well as indoor booths.

3.

Ambiance

The vibe

Pay special attention to the existing decor inside the venue. What style is the architecture and what does the building’s interior convey? If you’re holding a gala, you’ll likely need different venue accommodations than you would for an expo. The less the ambiance matches the desired feeling of your event (upscale, high tech, etc.) the more decorating you’ll need to do to make up for it.

4.

Services and Amenities

All the does

In addition to the appearance of the site, it is also important to take into consideration the services and amenities that the venue offers. Consider the following:
Does the venue have a kitchen and can it provide catering to your event? If so, often a venue will waive the facility fee and only charge a down payment along with the cost of food for each attendee. Other venues may not have kitchens. Those venues without kitchen facilities may have a partnership with a food provider that you’re required to use, or you may be free to bring in your own vendors. Many venues have an exclusive relationship with certain vendors, typically food vendors. This can be great if the venue has partnered with a fantastic vendor. If not, it can create a huge headache, and negatively impact the experience of your attendees. If you can’t book a venue that serves food your attendees will enjoy, it would be better to select a venue that allows you to bring in outside food vendors.
Does it have tables, chairs and linens you can use? If a venue has these items, you can save a great deal of money and effort by using what they have, assuming it matches your theme and ambiance.
Does it have a setup/clean up crew? If you’ve found a venue which provides a setup and clean up crew, rejoice! This isn’t always the case. If these services aren’t available you’ll need to build your event team.
Does it have AV capabilities? Some venues have a built in audio-visual equipment for you to use, and others will require you to bring that in yourself.

5.

Capacity and Minimums

How big is your wedding

What’s the capacity? If you’ve followed our advice, you already know how many attendees to expect. You’ll need to know the room capacity of the venues for a few reasons. First, for general and practical reasons, 500 people can’t comfortably fit into a room with a 250-person capacity. And second, there are fire and safety codes that the venue has to abide by.
What are the F&B Minimums? If your venue offers food and/or beverages, find out what the food and beverage minimums, also known as F&B minimums, are and get this information in writing. If you have past attendance records for this event, ensure that those records are in line with the minimums. You may have plans to attract an even larger audience this year, but you also want to make sure that your bases are covered in case attendance expectations are not met.
How to make adjustment based on attendee feedback? It is important to be able to make an informed adjustment for rooms and F&B quickly right before or during your event. Many organizers find that a live polling provided an event app helped headcount to estimate attendance on the last day of an event or a reception dinner, which helps make a quick and informed decision that saves time and money. Here lists 5 use cases of a live polling.

6.

Parking

Where will people park

Does the venue have a parking lot or valet parking? A venue with a parking lot is what dreams are made of. If that’s not the case, are there parking lots nearby which attendees can access and use? If there is no parking available, you’re not completely out of luck as you have a few alternatives:

7.

Layout

Room for activities

Even though you’ll be finding your venue early in the event planning process, you’ll still want to have a rough idea of what types of activities you’ll be including, the amenities you’ll require, and the needs of your team and the attendees.
While narrowing down your selection, get an illustrated floor plan of each venue, and walk through your favorites at least once, making note of important things such as where the outlets are and where AV equipment is or can be located.

8.

Accessibility

All your loved ones welcomed

Accessibility refers to the possibility that everyone, especially those with special needs, can access the building and its amenities.You’ll probably know whether there will be children at your venue, but you may not know if there will be individuals with other special needs. In this situation, reviewing recent events hosted by your organization may give you a sense of this.

9.

Insurance

If something goes wrong

According to BizBash, some venues won’t even do business with you if you don’t have insurance. Amy Hallquist-Hamric, president of Hallquist Insurance Agency agrees with BizBash. “There are several venues that require a certain amount of liability as well as them named as additional insured for the event,” states Hallquist. “Typically you can ask your general liability insurance agent for this endorsement for your event. It is also a great idea to START EARLY in planning to have this added; as well as to have all of the wording required, address, etc. prior to contacting your agent.”

10.

Acoustics

Make sure its not to loud

Have you ever attended an event at a venue that was so loud, it was hard to hear others, causing you to strain your hearing and lose your voice, all in one night? That’s caused by poor acoustics. Acoustics is just a fancy word for how sound travels through the venue. A low ceiling will make the venue seem cozy, but it will make it louder if it’s packed. Alternatively, a large warehouse-style venue will result in echoes, or what architects refer to as “reverberation”.

12 QUESTIONS TO ASK

More than any other factor—your dress, your band, your food—your reception venue sets the tone for your wedding.

x.

How many events do you host a day?

If your wedding is in the a.m., you might feel like you’re being rushed out if the venue needs the space for an afternoon party. Or if your party is later in the day, you could show up to a banged up venue and a tired staff.

x.

Is there a day-of coordinator?

Someone going to promise that the tablecloths will be white and the napkins will be periwinkle and there will be a table with purple cloth for your guest book—or whatever—it’s best if there’s someone from the venue on the day of your wedding to make sure all the little details fall into place.

x.

What's the maximum number of guests you can accommodate?

Someone should be able to tell you how many people the venue seats comfortably, and what the maximum number of people is based on fire code. Some venues will say 200 people, max, and then be willing to slip in 10 or 20 more, as long as it’s legal. You should know what the absolute cutoff is.

x.

What's the site fee? And what does that include?

Some venues will charge you $2,000 just for the space, others will include tables, chairs, and table linens. Don’t assume anything’s included—at some venues, you even have to rent portable bathroom stalls! (Chelsea Clinton and I both did!)

x.

Does anything we've seen today cost extra?

It’s nice to visit a venue that’s all set up for someone else’s wedding, but if the bride and groom paid a premium for extra-fancy chairs or a silk aisle runner, you should know that ahead of time.

x.

Is there a space for me to get ready?

Lots of venues have a special room for the bride and her entourage, but if your venue is a hotel, your only “getting ready” space might be your room—and it will stink to end your wedding night back in the room that you, your bridesmaids, and your moms spent four hours trashing earlier in the day.

x.

Can we bring in our own booze?

You’ll save a ton of money if you BYO—even if the venue charges a corkage fee to open each bottle. If you’d like to supply the booze, make sure that’s allowed. It’s not, at many venues!

x.

Will we need to bring in sound equipment?

Event spaces, like ballrooms and country clubs, often have built-in speakers, so all the band will have to do is bring their instruments and plug in. If you’re considering getting married in a winery or museum, you might have to spend a bunch on microphones and such.

x.

Will our guests have to pay to park?

If you’re checking out a space in a state park or beach—or anywhere visitors normally have to pay to park—they’re probably planning on charging your guests. You can usually offer to pay for them ahead of time, but you’ll need to make room in your budget for that.

x.

Is there a noise ordinance we should be aware of?

Our band HAD to stop playing at 10:30 p.m. because of an arrangement the winery had made with the neighbors. How late you can stay will affect the rest of your day, so you should be aware of the limitations.

x.

Are we allowed to bring in decorations? How 'bout candles?

Museums, for one, often don’t allow streamers or anything that would make holes in the walls. And lots of venues don’t allow open flames. In fact, I think most in Rhode Island didn’t!

x.

If the venue is a hotel: What room rate can you offer our guests? And how many rooms can you guarantee us at that rate?

One venue we looked at promised us a super-cheap room rate—but only for 15 rooms. Which wouldn’t even cover our wedding party! There was no way we were going to make people travel to our wedding and then pay a premium for rooms!

TOP RECEPTION TIPS

You reception site sets the stage for the entire party.

1.

Save Money

Know how to save

You have to be willing to be a little flexible but there are ways to cute costs on the reception: marry in a less popular month (avoid June, September, or October); consider a night besides Saturday; or take advantage of your country club membership or alumni status and lock in a member-only-rate. Many hotels will have special rates if you’re booking rooms.

2.

Spend More Time

Plan to spend more time on an unconventional venue

If you choose a creative location such as a art gallery – or any location that doesn’t do a lot of weddings – there will be more details to work out than if you choose a place that’s known for wedding celebrations and has a planning brigade already in place.

3.

Weather Backup Plan

Weather the storm

If your site is outdoors, you should have an alternative location in mind – no expectations!

4.

Lighting

Do a lighting check

Visit the site at the same time of day that you’re getting married. Even if the space looks romantic by candlelight, it may not look so great in daylight.

5.

Privacy

Gauge the privacy

Privacy varies widely from place to place, as does the important couples place on it. Banquet halls and hotels often hold more than one event at a time, so find out whether that’s the case before you decide.

Ways To Wow Your Wedding Guests

(Surprise) Choreographed Dance

Take a few dance lessons before your wedding, but instead of the standard waltz, kick it up a notch by learning a sultry tango or a high-energy swing routine, and then surprise everyone during your first dance.

A Luxe Reception Lounge

Give guests a place to mingle between dance breaks by creating a lounge area at your reception. Fill the space with couches or chairs and plenty of pillows to sink into. It’s the perfect way to keep everyone in on the party even when they’re resting.

Guest Transportation

If you’re planning on shuttling your guests from the ceremony to the reception, make the journey part of the fun by renting some seriously cool mass transportation.

Reception Sites near Rochester, MN

Find a location you like? Add them to your wishlist

JR’s Barn LLC

21573 45th Street, Waldorf, MN, United States
New 1912 Barn/Farm venue for wedding and receptions. Now booking 2017-2018 Located 75 miles west of Rochester 30 mlies souteast of Mankato

Rochester International Event Center

7333 Airport View Drive Southwest, Rochester, MN, United States
As southeast Minnesota's s largest and most experienced caterer, you can count on Rochester International Event Center to provide you with unmatched ...

Kahler Events

Rochester, MN, United States
Kahler Events offers a variety of venue options with capacity to accommodate up to 600 people. From elegant and historical ballrooms to a stunning countryside barn, Kahler Events offer both on and offsite catering, to accompany its indoor and outdoor venues. Craft the wedding of your dreams at one of Kahler’s stunning...

Plummer House

1091 Plummer Ln SW, Rochester, Minnesota 55902, United States
The Plummer House is the former residence of Dr. Henry Stanley Plummer and Daisy Berkman Plummer.

Coop’s Event Barn

65572 200 Avenue, Dodge Center, MN 55927, United States
Coop’s Event Barn is a ten-acre farm setting in southern Minnesota between Rochester and Owatonna and 90 minutes south of the Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Four Daughters Vineyard

Spring Valley, MN, United States
Four Daughters Vineyard & Winery is a charming event space located on more than six sprawling acres of land in Southeastern Minnesota's farm country in Spr

Step Objective

No, not your phone’s reception. Research reception sites and what questions you should ask.

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