When my daughter got married, at Cooks Beach they had to decide where to have the wedding reception and ceremony. They had their ceremony on the beach and their reception was either a marquee, or there was a local hall which was straight across the road from where the accommodation was for the majority of the guests. After we had looked at all the costs of marquee versus hall we decided the hall was the best option.
Some of the things I would advise you to look for when making your decision on your reception hall are;
1. How far is the reception hall from the Ceremony?
If you are planning to have your wedding ceremony in a different location from the reception hall, you need check how easy it is logistically to get guests to the ceremony and then to the reception hall. Is it close enough that they can walk, or do they need to drive. Wedding signs can be helpful to direct your guests to the ceremony and reception. If it is summer, you may want to think about providing bottles of water for those who may need it and if there isn't a lot of shade, maybe some umbrellas or parasols.
2. How long is your wedding reception hall hire for?
When you book the hall, make sure you have access early enough to be able to get everything set up. Make sure you have delegated enough helpers to get everything done in time. You don't want to be stressing on the day, when you should be pampering yourself. The day of the wedding, any last minute jobs, need to be done by someone else.
Remember that using a hall, also means it must be cleaned up afterwards. Make sure you have helpers for the next day and if there are cleaners available in the area, you can always arrange to get the in to do the bathrooms and kitchen and final sweep up, once you have removed everything. Find out what is expected from the hall owners.
3. What is included in the hire of the hall?
Check to see what comes with the hall in regards to tables and chairs. Measure the lengths of the tables and whether they are round or long tables. This is important in planning your seating for everyone and how it will fit. You may still need to hire more tables and chairs. Think about how you want to do your table decorations and this is also depending on whether you are using long or round tables.
4. Is there a kitchen?
If you are planning to use caterers, find out what they will require in the kitchen. Some have their own setups and don't need much, Whereas others may need the use of the full kitchen. Have a look through the cupboards and see what the kitchen has. This will help you when it comes to looking at what cutlery, plates, cups etc you will need to hire. Again, your caterers may include in their price plates and cutlery,
Some kitchens, you may decide to use the counter as your bar, so you will want to use an area of the kitchen for your alcohol to be stored.
5. Can you hang decorations?
Some halls don't like you to put anything in the walls for hanging decorations for a wedding. If you are lucky enough you may find there are already hooks put in place to be able hang decorations off. It is important to think about your wedding reception hall lighting as this will really give the atmosphere you want for your reception. Collect pictures for wedding reception hall decoration ideas and think about your colour theme.
Take lots of wedding reception hall photos and measurements where necessary, so that when you are starting to plan, it is easier to remember what space is available for different setups for your wedding reception.