The location of the reception venue is important; it must be close (no more than a 30 minute drive) to the wedding ceremony venue.
Size is important: ideally, there should be separate areas for drinks, dining and post-meal entertainment (e.g. disco). If the venue is too small for both, a marquee for the reception drinks or the dinner may be erected.
Some venues come with suppliers or in-house facilities that must be used. Other venues allow for external suppliers to be brought in. For obvious financial reasons, most venues prefer to provide the catering.
Historical properties, although they are frequently subject to restrictions, are popular choices for both ceremonies and receptions. Often, they are large enough to host the whole day and can accommodate the bride and groom, wedding party and guests overnight.
Many couples are looking for something a bit different - unusual wedding venues get booked up quickly so must be chosen well in advance. The facilities and infrastructure must be carefully checked; it is important that style is not favoured over substance.
There must be plenty of lavatories (allow one per 40 guests) of a decent standard and accessible to the elderly and disabled. It is advisable to request a separate dressing area with facilities for the bride, mother of the bride and chief bridesmaid, if they are non-residents; the bride can then touch up her make-up in private and avoid queuing.
Some venues will provide an extra room for children. This can be an area for them to have a rest, and may even provide supervised entertainment such as a computer game console or a television.
Sufficient parking for wedding guests and suppliers must be provided. It is a good idea to find out whether non-resident guests are able to leave their cars at the venue overnight. This is a useful facility for guests who have a few drinks and are happy to pick up their vehicles the following day.
Wedding packages at hotels will often include an allocation of rooms or special rates for guests. The bride and groom should read through the details carefully to ensure that they are not out of pocket if hotel rooms are not taken. They should also check how many nights the wedding package stipulates - some deals, usually ones for exclusive hire, require two nights accommodation which may be too much to ask of the average wedding guest.