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Alternatives to the Traditional Reception Location
If you are looking for a reception location that is not so traditional, like your banquet/wedding halls and hotels, there are tons of sites that may have the feel of what you are looking for. Such as, country inns, plantations, wine vineyards, historical homes and a party cruise boat or yacht. There are also more contemporary ideas such as art galleries, libraries, aquariums, museums and botanical gardens. The possibilities are endless and the best part is some of these locations can cost less than the traditional wedding hall or hotel.
Find out what your church's decoration policy is. Some churches will not let you decorate at all while others allow limited decorations. Ask about anything and everything that might be used during the ceremony (Candles, flowers, wire to attach pew markers, isle runners, flower petals). You might also want to find out what the church's policy is on officiating. Some churches may not allow you to bring in your own officiant and may also require premarital counseling. It varies by church so be sure to ask about these specifics. Also, be sure to check to see if there are guidelines on the types of music that can be played during the ceremony. Brides and Grooms who are not members of a particular church but want to be married at that church need to get started right away. Churches give priority to their members so if you want to secure a spot, be sure to reserve your date early.
Hotels are also a great option for weddings. One of the benefits of going with a hotel is that you can hold both the ceremony and the reception in the same venue which will eliminate guests having to travel from one location to another. It also is especially convenient if you have a lot of out of town guests. In addition, most hotels employ someone along the lines of a facility coordinator which will be a big help through the planning process.
You may be considering an outdoor wedding held at a park or on the beach. If it is a public space, you'll want to contact the city, county, or state commission that oversees reservations for that particular spot. And of course, if it is private land, you'll have to contact the owner. When having an outdoor wedding, always consider a backup plan just in case the weather does not cooperate that day.