Sunday, September 24, 2006

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: OR IS THERE?: A DISCUSSION OF WEDDING RECEPTION SITES (PART I)

Choosing a reception site is a daunting process. If your ceremony is at a church or synagogue, brides-to-be have the added complication of travel issues to and from the ceremony and reception, as well as the questions about timing (i.e. when things should begin, and end). But even if your ceremony is at the same place as your reception, there are many things to think about.

Indoors or outdoors?

Hotel or private club?

Modern or romantic, old-school elegant?

Large or small?

These are some of the questions that brides-to-be must answer even before thinking about floral arrangements, Band/DJ, and caterers. The choice of the venue is among the most important decisions made during the planning process--PLUS, it will affect your guests, and therefore, becomes an issue of importance.

For some, the answer is simple. Using one's home as the site for a ceremony and/or reception can be both elegant and cost-effective.

When I was eight years old, I was a flower girl in my then-au pair's (Catherine's) wedding--she had been with my family (and lived in our house) for 10 years and had become a second mom in many ways--although she had left our home to get married, my parents offered our home to her as a site to have the reception. Although it wasn't her "home" in the literal sense, it was figuratively. The wedding was beautiful, and we were lucky enough to have gorgeous, sunny weather which allowed everyone to mingle outdoors.

Don't get me wrong, though -- although our house is very pretty, it by no means is the type you'll see in Modern Bride when they do articles on throwing the "perfect" reception at home. I didn't grow up in a mansion (by any means), and it's not as if there were so many options about where to have the actual event in the house (we had one medium sized living room with french doors which led onto a patio - that was the only choice in terms of an indoor scenario).

In this case, size mattered -- we were lucky that there was only sun and clear blue skies -- otherwise, it could have been CRAMPED. CRAMPED. CRAMPED if rain had set in.

Therefore, if having a wedding at home, the first thing is to think about the number of guests in play, as well as if they will fit both inside and outside your home. Otherwise, things could get a little tight and uncomfortable for everyone.

Thinking back, I'm not sure WHAT would have happened if Catherine's wedding day was rainy or freezing cold -- Catherine was lucky, and my parents were even luckier (since I don't think there was a Plan B, and as the ones who offered, it would have been stressful to scramble at the last minute!)

Make sure to have a Plan B if you're having a wedding at home. Although the photographs in Modern Bride always portray picture-perfect receptions on sunny days--with large, white mansions and picket fences, in real life, things won't be as glossy as they may appear in the magazines.

Most of this is straight-up common sense, but best to think about it right off the bat as you try and tackle the questions I posed above (as related to choosing a reception site).

There may be no place like home, but it's best to think long and hard about your options before turning to that as an option.

Stay tuned!

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