After getting engaged, booking a location for the wedding and subsequent reception is one of the first things to check off your pre-wedding checklist. Planners recommend booking at least 12 months in advance of your big day if at all possible. The venue that you settle on will ultimately determine many of the other aspects of your wedding, such as whether you need to hire a caterer and what kind of musical entertainment will be appropriate. Here are a few things to consider when seeking the perfect areas for your reception.

The Date

The day you plan to marry your beloved can affect your choices of event spaces. Some spots are only available during the warmer months, making winter wonderland weddings problematic or even impossible. And some spots are popular destinations for special events, so it might be difficult to book it without months’ or, in some cases, years’ notice. This is part of the reason that it is crucial to book as far in advance as possible.

The Space

If you are planning on using the same area for both your wedding and your reception, then you will want to opt for a destination that has either multiple buildings or rooms. This will allow staff to have separate setups for the ceremony and the after party. Even if this is not the case, having a setting with multiple rooms will allow for a variety of things to be happening simultaneously. Some brides plan multiple forms of entertainment, such as different types of music or even games, to keep even the most fickle of guests occupied.

The Size

Although everyone wants their guests to be cozy, it’s a good idea to book event spaces a little bit bigger than you think you’ll need. This will give you and your loved ones plenty of room to dance the night away. Extra large event spaces also afford room for any unexpected plus ones that your guests might bring.

The Catering

The food is an important aspect of any ceremony. Although traditional ceremonies often serve multiple-course meals, many modern brides and grooms are opting to have self-service dinners or buffets. Depending on your event spaces, you might not have to choose. Many venues have begun offering catering services, with wait staff included in the cost of rental. Some even provide full bars and bartenders. Booking with these venues is a great way to relieve the stress of hiring the necessary people to cook and serve your guests.

The Parking

Parking might not seem very important when compared to the food or the size of a venue, but parking can have a major effect on how the rest of the wedding proceeds. Ample parking close to the location that allows guests to quickly walk inside will set a positive tone for the night.

Speaking with a manager and visiting event spaces are the quickest ways to have these questions answered. The staff will also be able to help you with the process of booking. And once you have a venue booked, the only thing you have to worry about is having a fun and exciting night.