Engaged in The Lou: Choosing the Perfect Wedding Reception Venue

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choosing a wedding reception venue

Choosing the Perfect Wedding Reception Venue

After finding the perfect dress and maybe the perfect wedding planner, it’s time to find the perfect wedding reception venue to host your celebration. Once you find your venue, the colors, decor, style and other details will all start to fall into place.There are so many wonderful, historic, unique options in the St. Louis area, so it can be overwhelming trying to narrow it all down. This week we are answering many questions that may pop up when searching for the perfect wedding reception venue.

Before answer some questions that may come up during your hunt, be sure to check out some of the venues we cater to under our Venues tab. This can give you a small idea of what is out there and how diverse the styles can range. Whether you are looking for an intimate, immediate family wedding or a huge glamorous bash hosting all of your family and friends, St. Louis has it.  And when in doubt, ask a pro! Give us a call and we’ll help you find a wedding reception venue fit for you! 314-991-6700

Now, our top tips {straight from your friends at Ces & Judy’s} for choosing your dream wedding reception venue!

st. louis wedding reception venue

Wedding Reception at NEO on Locust | Photo: Serendipity Photography

Location, Location, Location

Location plays a big factor when it comes to choosing a venue. You don’t want guests driving all around town all day (especially if drinks are involved), so try to choose a location that offers accommodations nearby, or easy access to alternative transportation. It is nice to be able to choose a venue that is easily accessible to most guests, but that is not always possible. Whether you’re hosting your event close to home or planning a destination wedding in another city, keep in mind the logistics of getting guests to and from the site. If your logistics seem like they may be complicated, you may want to consider hiring a planner, or seeking help from a venue manager. 

jewel box wedding reception venue forest park

The Jewel Box in Forest Park

What style do I want to achieve for my wedding?

What type of feel do you want your wedding to have? Formal, casual, laid-back? Do you want more of a traditional wedding or something more modern and personalized? What time of day do you want to hold your event? Is an outdoor tented wedding in your vision or do you prefer a cozy winter wedding inside? By determining the elements most important to you on your wedding day, you can narrow down the choices of venues greatly. Many spaces have their own feel and style, while others allow more room for personalization. 

How much space do I need?

After you get the tables and chairs, buffet tables, DJ, dance floor, photo booth and gift tables, a wedding reception venue can fill up fast. And that’s BEFORE your guests are there. The best way to get the feel for a space is to contact the venue manager and see if you can peek in on a similar-sized wedding once it is set-up. This can help you decide if there is enough room for all of your friends and their spouses or if you need to cut back. Or, if you want to work backwards and have your reception at a favorite place of yours, you can tailor your guest count to that. Most venues know their capacity, so set up an appointment with the venue manager to talk out your concerns.

Get Specific

Before you even VISIT a venue, be sure that they have your desired date available. Our advice is to find your perfect venue and work around their schedule. Sometimes the setting is more meaningful than the date. Again, think about your guest count. If there is a minimum you need to reach, you need to consider if guests cancel. If there is a max, consider that your guest list COULD grow depending on who you invite. What time of year are you getting married? If it is an outdoor space and it’s a rainy season, does the venue offer a plan B? Or if it’s indoor, what type of outdoor spaces does the venue offer for guests wanting to grab some fresh air?

Again, think about your budget. Don’t look at a venue completely out of your price range, risking falling in love with it. Talk to a planner or someone in the industry for advice on finding a location that fits your budget.

In regards to accommodations, are there hotels nearby? Will the venue assist with calling cabs for guests? Thinking about your guests and whether the majority is from out of town can help you determine what type of location is best. Considering all of these small details before venue hunting can really help narrow down your search and help you land the perfect spot.  

st. louis wedding reception venue

Private Residence Rehearsal Dinner | Photo: White Klump Photography

Stay true to you

Despite what may be popular on Pinterest, it doesn’t mean that that is what every wedding should look like. Think about your style as a couple and what is appealing to you. If you can’t stand the thought of mason jars and lace, most likely a barn most likely won’t be your venue of choice. A sleek city setting may be more your vibe, and you can most definitely find that in St. Louis. You and your spouse need to feel comfortable in the space, and get that “it just fits” feeling. And remember, a wedding reception venue may look breathtaking with a certain color scheme, however it may not be the perfect backdrop for your colors and decor. Communicate with your significant other and make the choice together. It will make your reception that much more special when you choose something that you are both in love with. 


For more wedding tips check out our wedding planner feature. Need help planning it all out on your own? Grab our handy checklist here