the Perfect Place ... the perfect price tag

You’ve heard it all before: It’ll be the party of your life; the reception site sets the mood of the entire event; book your

mass wedding
For a one-of-a-kind venue try searching for unconvential reception sites, says BRIDE Magazine. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

reception hall fast or you’ll miss out. No pressure, right? Well, there really isn’t. Small towns do have fewer traditional reception venues than big cities, and they do tend to fill up, but that doesn’t mean you have to panic, says Modern Bride. The February/March 2006 issue makes it simple with its four-point plan.

First, know the type of place you want. Outdoor summer affairs, for instance, may narrow your search to parks and backyards while fancy hotels and rentable mansions may make for fabulous formal settings. Second, consider all those hidden fees. Sure, the hotel or reception venue may seem more expensive at first, but initially less-pricey sites can add up with modification expenses. Remember for a backyard wedding you’ll need a tent, dance floor, electrical wiring (for the caterers and music), tables and chairs and a place to use the restroom, according to Modern Bride. Third, ask the questions: (1) Does it fit your budget? (2) Is available on the day you want? (3) What is included in the wedding package? (4) Must you use their food/liquor vendors? (5) How is the parking? Is it free? (6) Are gratuities included? And (7) What are the fees if you stay longer than intended? Lastly, for part four, go out and look at each site. Modern Bride recommends at least five.


Now the Decor

You’ve found your place and booked it, and now you’ve got to design it. Décor depends a lot of the site itself, according to BRIDES magazine. If you’ve booked a five-star, art deco hotel, perhaps a country theme isn’t the best match. Still, don’t abide by the rules too tightly. It’s your day, and creativity in designing a party abounds. Here are a few tips to get your imagination a rollin’

Decorating: Cheesey themes and bad colors?

Whether you’re looking for a formal black-and-white affair or a woodsy green-and-neutrals occasion, find out how to choose a color scheme that’s right for you. READ MORE.

Catering: Eat, drink and be broke?

Find out some cost-cutting tips on two of the more expensive elements of a reception: food and alcohol. READ MORE.

Timing: Bored guests a must?

Don’t worry. Even if you’ve never planned a party before, this will help keep your reception alive. Just add in some valuable pre-planning and party timeline. READ MORE.