What You Need to Know Before Booking Your Reception Site

You’ve said “I do,” he’s kissed the bride, and now it’s time to party! Kick off those heels and mix, mingle, dine, and dance the night away with family and friends. But finding the perfect reception spot is no easy feat – Luckily, we’re here to help!

Consider your style, head count, and budget.

Before deciding where to host your reception, there are a few things to consider. To start: What’s your wedding’s style? A casual summer wedding requires completely different accommodations from a formal winter wedding, so first nail down your preferred style and season. Next: How many made the guest list? If you haven’t made one yet, hop to it – you’ll need a head count so you can find a reception site to suit your needs. Finally: How big is your budget? This goes hand-in-hand with your guest list – sometimes, your budget will determine the number of guests you can afford to have, not to mention the caliber of venue. Once you’ve made these critical decisions, start the search.

large_imageSearch for sites that suit your needs.

Local bridal publications and websites, wedding shows, married friends, and Google are all great sources of potential reception sites. Typical venues include hotels, banquet halls, restaurants, community centers, and country clubs. Other options might be country inns, historic homes or estates, city parks, college or university facilities, museums, galleries, and boats.

Each of these potential venues will be one of two things: on-site or off-site. Most on-site locations offer the majority of services needed to host a reception: catering of food and drink, chairs, tables, tableware and linens, and a serving staff. With all these necessities already covered and calculated into the cost of the venue, on-site is an appealing, potentially less-stressful way to go. Off-site locations usually provide only the facility for a flat fee – you’re responsible for the rest. The nice thing about off-site? You have the freedom to do everything your own way and control costs of individual services.

Narrow down your search by focusing on sites that meet all of your needs, including your style, season, budget, and estimated number of guests. Once you have your sights set on a few choice venues, take a day trip to check them out.

Evaluate your options.

t_7a57cca0-a3e4-11e1-a4a8-853ab0600001Every venue offers advantages and disadvantages. Your job is to sift through the features of each and find what works best for you. Here are some things to consider:

Location. To avoid inconveniencing your guests, the reception site should be no more than a 30-minute drive from the ceremony – ideally less. But if there’s no avoiding it and the site is located in a remote area or poses parking and traffic challenges, you should consider providing shuttles for your guests.

Size and layout. Is the venue in question just one large room, or will cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing each take place in separate, smaller rooms? Make sure the cocktail area is large enough for guests to mix and mingle and that the dinner area will comfortably hold the number of tables you’ll need. Make doubly sure that the dance floor is big enough for everyone to bust a move! Beyond spatial comfort, also consider temperature. Throwing a summer wedding? Don’t skimp on air conditioning.

Privacy. If the reception site caters to multiple events simultaneously, find out if there are any other bookings on the date you have in mind. If there are, work with your site contact person to ensure that you will have adequate privacy for your celebration.

Parking. Make sure there is convenient, well-lit, ample parking for your guests. If such conveniences aren’t an option, find out if the site offers valet or shuttle services.

Technical details. Whether you go for a DJ, band, or iPod playlist, inquire after any music restrictions the venue might have. Is there sufficient power for speakers, mixers, and amplifiers? Are the acoustics suited to live music? Some sites have built-in public-address systems that can be used to introduce the wedding party and to toast the bride and groom. If your venue doesn’t provide this equipment, find out if your DJ or musicians can. Or, look into microphone and speaker rentals yourself – your contact person should be able to walk you through the wiring hook-ups prior to your wedding day.

Décor. Most reception-ready sites offer a neutral background to work with, but see that the flooring, ceiling, and wall coverings work well with the style and season of your wedding. So that nothing clashes, some brides even wait to decide on their color scheme until after they’ve procured a venue. In terms of decorative details, find out what you’re allowed to bring in as far as tangible décor and lighting. If the reception location is spacious, decorating can be overwhelming. In this case, try concentrating on one element, such as tablescapes. Or, if funds allow, hire a wedding coordinator to assist with site beautification.

Services offered. With each venue you visit, find out in clear terms exactly what services are included. There’s a lot to consider: catering, bar tenders, wait staff, cake cutting – get these details up front.

Personal touches. When looking at sites and imagining your celebration, ask yourself (and your contact person) if you can have fun with this space. Is there a spot for showing a photo and video montage during cocktail hour? Is the layout conducive to a choreographed entrance by the wedding party? Is there room for a photobooth?

A note about outdoor receptions

Given Wisconsin’s unpredictable weather, it’s critical to have a backup plan for any outdoor reception. It’s highly recommended that you employ an experienced wedding coordinator if you have your sights set on an outdoor reception. A coordinator will ease the workload and stress-factor in the days leading up to a “60% chance of rain” wedding day – and will help to make any last-minute changes run smoothly.

The nitty-gritty

As with any wedding vendor, make sure all the details are outlined in writing. Take into account things like service charges, cleaning fees, insurance waivers, and penalties for not fulfilling the food and beverage minimum. Use a credit card whenever possible to make payments so that you have more protection in the unlikely event of a problem.

For more information about receptions in your local area, go to our Local Resources page and select the area that is closest to you.

Gatsby Revisited

With shows like “Downton Abbey” and “Mad Men”, we’ve begun to revisit the roaring 20′s and what that era had to offer in wedding fashion.  Take a step back and experience life when it was all fresh and new.

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Stunning Aisle Decor

You want to walk down your aisle in style right? You probably have bought your perfect wedding dress, got the show stopping shoes, and have outfitted the groom accordingly. The only thing left for the ceremony is to get that aisle looking absolutely perfect.


The traditional aisle runner is still a very popular option. Tradition states, that when your flower girltraipsesdown the aisle, she tosses flower petals on her way. While this is still a perfectly acceptable option, more updated and modern approaches to this custom have been adapted.

Have you seen the picture of the aisle that is laden with flower petals in a specific design, breathtaking right? How does someone manipulate the petals in that order? Incredible.

You want to create an ambiance so that when your guests enter, they feel as if they have stepped into your wedding day. When you have a similar design for the ceremony and the reception, you will create a sense of continuity that will look great.

Consider your aisle like your runway and illuminate it. Have luminaries available or even mini spotlights at the ready for your big debut. When you walk down that aisle, it is the last time you will be an engaged woman. When you come back, you will be a married woman.


Aisle runners can come in all shapes and sizes and are just another part of the ceremony that is screaming for your personality. Consider a custom monogram on your runner or even a printed runner, like a floral design or a famous painting that you as a couple like.

Another popular idea for decorating your aisle is to have a custom runner made with either your love story, or even your wedding song. This could function after the wedding as a perfect piece of art in your house.

When decorating your aisle, don’t forget yourchairs, they need love too! Consider chair covers in gorgeous fabrics, or even small adornments to make your ceremony special.


A Most Important Job…

Amongst all the stress of planning your wedding day, you have two very important members of your bridal party just itching to sprint down the aisle. Keep in mind the flowergirl and ringbearers have a very important job in your wedding day: the keeper of the “rings” and to make way for the bride by use of flower petals.

This precious flower girl dress has a floor length skirt of lace and pleated organza ruffles. Many bridal gowns have the same features and now we’ve got the flower girl dress to match! As always, the ribbon sash can be ordered in a variety of colors. Swing by to take a closer look at it! Premier Bride's Perfcet Dress

This precious flower girl dress has a floor length skirt of lace and pleated organza ruffles. Many bridal gowns have the same features and now we’ve got the flower girl dress to match! As always, the ribbon sash can be ordered in a variety of colors. Swing by to take a closer look at it!

Your flower girl will no doubt be adorable, so consider her dressing the part. Try to find a mini dress to accompany yours, or have one made. It’s always adorable to see the bride and flowergirl in their matching attire. You might consider giving her an unconventional bag instead of the basket that is a more traditonal option.

The ringbearer always looks daper in his mini tuxedo, just make sure he matches the groom to a tee. If the groom has suspenders, have the ringbearer get them too. A little fedora hat also goes a long way. You can certainly still use a pillow with fake rings, but consider something a little more updated like the ringbearer carrying a sign saying “Here comes the bride!” This is really sweet and can be used for great pictures.

 We have so much fun when the adorable Flower Girl dresses start to arrive. They’re just so cute! This is a new arrival from Jordan, shown in White and Light Pink. It has a satin bodice with a keyhole back and satin waistband. The tulle tutu skirt also has contrasting accents along the edge. This dress is available in any combination of 2 of the 75 colors Jordan offers. Lots of options with this one! http://www.fresnobridalsalon.com/

We have so much fun when the adorable Flower Girl dresses start to arrive. They’re just so cute! This is a new arrival from Jordan, shown in White and Light Pink. It has a satin bodice with a keyhole back and satin waistband. The tulle tutu skirt also has contrasting accents along the edge. This dress is available in any combination of 2 of the 75 colors Jordan offers. Lots of options with this one! http://www.fresnobridalsalon.com/

Your guests want to see the adorable ringbearer and flowergirls antics, so be ready for the comedy hour. Make sure that you put their parents in strategic places in the seating, so that if they do get a little rowdy, they can get them quickly.


Reason to Register – Kohls Wedding Wishes

Kohl's Wedding Wishes Gift Registry

Guest Notification

Share the good news with your friends and family by notifying them you’ve registered at Kohl’s!

It’s Easy!

Create a registry at Kohls.com for everything you want and need.

To notify guests of your registry, just follow these instructions:

1. Access your registry. (You don’t need to sign in, just search for your registry.)
2. Click on “Share Registry” from dashboard, grid or list.
3. Choose to share via email or Facebook.

It’s Secure!

We won’t share the information you provide us, and the email addresses of your friends and family won’t be added to our mailing lists. They’ll get one email from us about your registry.

FREE Announcement Cards

Announcement Cards

Our announcement cards are the perfect envelope stuffer! They tell your guests exactly where to shop for the gifts you want! Plus, your guests will receive a 15% discount on any in-store purchases of $50 or more from your registry.

Requesting announcement cards is easy. Complete the form below and your announcement cards should arrive within
5-7 business days.

Don’t have time to wait? Download and print announcement cards here.

Easy Returns & Exchanges

We understand you may register for an item and decide to return it after your event. Our Hassle-Free Returns Policy gives you the freedom to change your mind.

If you decide you want to return an item, just bring the item and its gift receipt to the Customer Service desk of your local Kohl’s. Or, you can return your item by mailing it back to our return center.

Reasons to Register

Exclusive Benefits of My Account

If you don’t already have a Kohls.com shopping account, you’ll want to create one before creating your registry. This account will give you access to exclusive benefits like the ones listed below.

  • Quick & Easy Access to Your Registry Create a Kohls.com shopping account and you’ll save yourself time. You’ll be able to access your registry through your Kohls.com shopping account. By signing in to one account, you’ll have instant access to your registry, order tracking, contact information and more.
  • Future Registries are a Snap Enjoy registering for your wedding, baby shower or any special day. Create your account and we’ll keep your information on file so you don’t have to retype a thing! For any additional registries you create, you’ll have instant access to your addresses, contact information and more.
  • Emails About Our Biggest SalesEnjoy Kohl’s Sale Alerts delivered directly to your desktop or mobile device. Just provide your email address and we’ll keep you in the loop about our biggest savings, special promotions and other great offers!
  • More Benefits Mean More Convenience There are even more benefits to becoming a registered Kohls.com customer. You’ll love quick-and-easy checkout using a ship-to-address book for one-click shipping, order tracking and more!

Featured Vendor – Reverie “Artsy Fartsy” Cinema & Photo


Check Out Their Awesome Blog Too!

Featured Vendor – Reverie “Artsy Fartsy” Cinema & Photo

If for no other reason than their purely awesome name and tagline, you need to go check out Reverie Cinema & Photo. Then you’ll be blown away by their ability to capture images and memories in a most unique way. We are loving their style and encourage you to head on over and visit their website, Facebook page and well…just go check it all out.

You won’t be disappointed.

About Reverie

Ray is an awesome cinema shooter and started ReverieVP.com after shooting weddings beside Alicia at ThePhotoFriends.com  and seeing a need for a fresh perspective on video here in the valley.

Sometimes they shoot beside other photogs doing cinema, or shoot with other videographers doing photo, but we LOVE LOVE LOVE shooting cinema and photo side by side together.  Their passion really shows through when they collaborate and you can really see that in the work they produce together.

Please look through our photos and wedding trailers, fall in love with being in love and the idea of capturing it.  Let them know if you’d like to get to know them better than on a blog page and you can sit down, have some coffee and talk about your big day.

“We love having fun, we love being happy, we love being in love, and we LOVE shooting weddings! ” ~ Ray & Alicia

Photo by Derek Lapsley

So You’re Interested, eh?

So, you’re interested in what the damage is going to be, huh?  We’ll start off by saying that we ain’t your daddy’s wedding videographer (in a good way!).  We offer an artistic and cinematic approach to traditional videos.  If you haven’t already, spend some time checking out our style, I’m sure that you’ll find it refreshing.

If you’d like more information on what we offer & pricing, the best thing would be to head over to the “Contact Us” page & send us your info, or you can just give us a call @ 559-392-7848.  We’d love to have a sit down with you & chat about your special day ;)

Thank you for stopping by and make sure to check out the “Meet Us” page to see a little more about who we are and what we do.  If you’re looking for a great photographer you should check out our sister company The Photo Friends.  We offer a pretty awesome incentive if you end up booking both photo & cinema with us.  Have a wonderful day!

More awesomeness…

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Beautiful Brides

Make-up & Hair by Emily Johnson

We had such a fun time the other morning with our models and brides-to-be, getting ready for our January Premier Bride Showplace. Here are some great photos from Emily Johnson!

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Lining up for a lifetime of love

This is pretty cool! Very romantic…


Let Jan 4 go down in history as the sweetest day of all. In Chinese, the date 2013-1-4 has a similar pronunciation to “love you for a lifetime”, making it one of the most auspicious and romantic days to tie the knot.

For the rest of the story, click here

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Premier Bride Showplace 2013!

Welcome, Central Valley Brides!

The following sponsors and exhibitors are participating in the Premier Bride Showplace bridal show in Fresno on January 6, 2013 .
Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Center website
Mark Janzen Photography website
Limo for You website
La Ryan Catering website
The Vault website
Oh So Swank! website
Shirley Gambero Designer/Dressmaker website
Barb’s Cakery website
Crème de la Cake website
Eddie’s Bakery Café website
Sweet Dreams Wedding Cakes website
Valley Lahvosh Baking Company website
Black Tie & Bridal Lace website
David’s Bridal website
Ga Ga Chic website
Jones Cleaning Center website
Luftenburg’s Bridal website
Premier Bride’s Perfect Dress website
Shirley Gambero Designer/Dressmaker website
The Classic Catering Company at Six-Two-Five website
La Ryan Catering website
Plates Grilling & Catering website
Ridge Creek Dinuba Golf Club website
Ruth’s Chris Steak House website
Yosemite Events & Catering website
AMS Entertainment website
DJ Bash website
Expo DJ Services website
Good Times Entertainment website
Haro Entertainment website
Mobile Sound Productions website
Music Spectrum Entertainment website
My Dance DJ website
Party DJ Party website
Starberst Entertainment website
TNT DJ & Video website
Wings Away Dove Release website
Awesome Blossoms website
Brown Bunny Flowers website
Country Charm Flowers website
Oh So Swank! website
Sweet Dreams Wedding Flowers website
Bed Bath & Beyond website
National Healthstyle Cooking 4 You website
Williams-Sonoma website
American Laser Skincare website
Bullard Chiropractic Clinic website
EYE-Q Cosmetics website
It Works! website
Makeup by Dara website
Makeup & Hair by Emily website
Mark A. Lowe, D.D.S. website
Spectrum Salon & Day Spa website
Lisa Takao Paper Couture website
Paper Haven website
TradeMark Handmade Inspired website
The Diamond Gallery website
Ara Karkazian Watch & Jewelry Co. website
The Vault Fine Jewelers website
Limo For You website
Royal Coach Limousine website
Arpeggio Strings website
AMS Entertainment website
Classic Party Rentals website
Creative Chair Coverings website
Expo Party Rentals website
Fun Photo Booths website
Go Bananas Events & Rentals website
LIght Up The Walls website
Lounge Essence Events & Rentals website
Maty’s Linens & Decor website
Pnoto A Go-Go Photo Booth website
Pose & Print USA website
Walker-Lewis Rentals website
Brian Bishop Photography website
Choice Imaging Photo and Video website
Creative Captures by David Barrios website
D.C. Photography Studios website
John M. Reynolds Photography website
Kenny Gilman Photography website
Mark Janzen Photography website
Mark Tabay Photography website
Morgan/James Photography website
Puente Photo website
Ros-Lynn Studios website
TMphotography website
Van’s Studio of Photography website
AAA Travel website
Cruise Adventures website
Cruise Planners website
Ships and Trips Travel website
AJ’s Tuxedo Junction website
Black Tie & Bridal Lace website
Luftenburg’s Bridal website
Men’s Wearhouse website
Pat’s Tuxedos Formalwear website
The Big Fresno Fair Event Center website
China Peak Mountain Resort website
The Classic Catering Company at Six-Two-Five website
The Downtown Club website
Duceys on the Lake website
The Fresno Ballroom website
Golden Palace Banquet Hall website
The Grand 1401 website
Historic Seven Sycamores Ranch website
La Quinta Inn & Suites NW Fresno website
Lilly’s Meadow website
The Loft Events website
Moravia Winery website
Paradise Springs website
Park Inn by Radisson website
Piccadilly Inn Airport website
Piccadilly Inn Shaw website
The Pines Resort website
Radisson Hotel website
Ridge Creek Dinuba Golf Club website
Ruth’s Chris Steak House website
Sierra Meadows Country Club website
Smittcamp Alumni House website
Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino website
TorNino’s Banquets website
Tuscan Gardens Venue website
Una Bella Giornata website
Victorian Gardens of Two Sisters website
Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Center website
Wolf Lakes Park website
Wonder Valley Ranch Resort website
Yosemite Weddings website
Choice Imaging Photo and Video website
D.C. Photography Studios website
Good Times Entertainment website
MVP Weddings website
Reverie Video Productions website
TNT DJ & HD Video website
Genesis Master of Events website
Go Bananas Events & Rentals website
Oh So Swank! website
The ONE Wedding Planner website
Premier Bride website

12 wedding planning tips: Tip 6 – Wedding theme

Sharing this post from Vintage by Ethel & Pearl:

Choosing a theme for your wedding can be a really helpful way of pulling your styling elements together. A theme can be as simple as one or two choice colors or a theme which runs through every element, e.g. Pop Art. A theme can be broad, e.g. Literary Greats, or specific, e.g. The Great Gatsby. Sometimes a theme emerges from one simple item like a pair of gorgeous bright blue shoes or a grandmother’s brooch that you want to incorporate into your outfit on the day.

A theme may be so subtle the guests are not even aware there is a theme threading the details together, yet it helps you select complementary elements to make for a beautiful and well styled event.

12 wedding planning tips: Tip 6 – Wedding theme.