When people think of wedding receptions, most picture the traditional ballroom. It might be a hotel ballroom or any facility with a large banquet hall. A ballroom is a classic choice for a reception, offering old-world sophistication and (most times) the convenience of an all-inclusive experience.
To decide if the ballroom aesthetic works for you, visit multiple sites in person; the decadence varies from one room to the next. Some ballrooms are set in historic buildings with lavish architecture and crystal chandeliers. This means very little decorating for you, as these ballrooms are naturally beautiful. Many have ornate lobby areas for hosting a cocktail hour, followed by a dramatic opening of the ballroom doors for dinner and dancing. While these glitzy ballrooms offer plenty of glamor, other halls or large conference rooms are more streamlined and unfussy — a blank canvas for you to transform. Aesthetics aside, the biggest draw of a ballroom reception is the on-site amenities.
“On-site” means that many of the necessary services are provided by the facility in question — and this means less stress for you. Hotels and conference centers are pros when it comes to throwing a wedding reception. They often have a wedding coordinator on staff to work with you every step of the way to handle food, drinks, wait staff, shuttles for you and your guests, and so much more. In fact, most ballroom venues either provide their own food service or require the use of pre-approved caterers, immediately simplifying your choice. You’ll be able to choose from a menu of dinner options provided by the facility, allowing you to meet your budget’s needs while knowing that you’re working with a trusted caterer. However, if you have your heart set on an un-affiliated caterer, it never hurts to ask — the venue might make an exception.
If not the caterer, you can still build your own reception package and make personal decisions, like opting to upgrade to finer china, fancier linen and glassware, or adding a balloon drop or champagne toast. The nice thing about these package deals is the ease of it all. The options are yours for the picking, and you can customize your reception to suit your budget and style within the confines of that venue’s affiliates.
In addition to a ballroom reception being easy planning for you as a couple, it’s also easy on your guests. Ballrooms are typically spacious, and many can accommodate hundreds of people. Since giving wedding receptions are old hat for these facilities, they know how to offer exceptional customer service and keep your guests comfortable throughout the evening. Speaking of comfort: There’s nothing like a ballroom reception in the heat of summer. You can rest assured that banquet halls are air-conditioned.
If you decide on a hotel ballroom (emphasis on hotel), your guests will love you for it. There’s nothing easier for out-of-town — or even in-town — guests than a hotel party. Hotels typically offer special room rates for guests of the wedding, and it’s convenient to be able to stop back at the hotel room during the down time between the ceremony and reception. Guests can also enjoy the open bar without having to worry about getting a taxi back to their hotel across town. And the next morning: continental breakfast. Need I say more?
As for ballrooms without a hotel attached, many venues will gladly arrange a shuttle service to and from a nearby hotel. Special room rates are normally offered, too.