Wedding Venues, Ideas and Inspiration

Real Wedding: Barcelo Los Cabos Palace Resort

It’s a chilly, rainy, evening in the Northeast, so now is the perfect time for our first destination real wedding.  Just looking at the clear skies, white sand, and palm trees in this wedding is enough to warm you up.  Bride and groom Tammy & Scott took advantage of the serene setting provided by Barcelo Los Cabos Palace Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for this picture perfect destination wedding.  With a backdrop like this, a simple blue and white theme is all you need.  Nature provided all the remaining details for this wedding — even a beautiful sunset!  Photographs by KITKO photography & dezine.

Barcelo Los Cabos Palace

Barcelo Los Cabos Palace

Barcelo Los Cabos Palace

Wedding Vendors

Photographer: KITKO photography & dezine
Reception Venue: Barcelo Los Cabos Palace Resort

Real Wedding: Grand Hotel Marriott Resort

A perfect day for a wedding! The sun was shining on Alice & Daniel during their beautiful southern wedding at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear, Alabama.  With over 550 acres of outdoor event space, scenic views of Mobile Bay and newly-renovated banquet facilities, this venue has it all.  Guests were even treated to a dramatic sunset that set the scene for a great reception.  The dress, flowers and theme all perfectly complimented the setting.  Photographs by Kay Meyer Photography.

Grand Hotel Marriott Resort

Grand Hotel Marriott Resort

Grand Hotel Marriott Resort

Grand Hotel Marriott Inspiration Board 2

Wedding Vendors

Photographer: Kay Meyer Photography
Event Planner: Pat Herndon Event Planning and Consulting
Floral Designer: Jubilee Flowers
Reception Venue: Grand Hotel Marriott Resort
Cake Designer: A Taste of Heaven
Ceremony Location: Grand Hotel Marriott Resort

Real Wedding: New Bedford Whaling Museum

We’re very pleased to announce our first Real Weddings post.  In this ongoing series we plan to provide ideas and inspiration to brides and grooms in search of the perfect wedding venue and theme.

What a great way to start off our Real Weddings series!  This beautiful wedding at the historic New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, MA has a bit of everything.  The museum is over 100 years old and just oozes with old-world charm.  It houses the world’s largest collection of whaling artifacts and is nestled between 18th and 19th century homes along cobblestone streets. Vintage signs, high ceilings, an elevated head table, ceiling to floor windows and, of course, suspended whale skeletons, create an ambiance that is sure to fascinate your guests. By keeping the decor simple, bride and groom Nicole & Brad created an extremely open and elegant atmosphere that leveraged the many strengths of the venue.  Photographs are by Lauren Methia.

New Bedford Whaling Museum

New Bedford Whaling Museum

New Bedford Whaling Museum

Wedding Vendors

Photographer: Lauren Methia
Reception Venue: New Bedford Whaling Museum
Cake Designer: The Artisan Kitchen

Wedding reception trends: top venue price per person searches

This is the first in our new series of articles covering reception trends; where we will analyze aggregate data from and provide insights into the wedding reception market. We hope this information is useful for both wedding industry professionals and brides.

This month we’ll focus on price trends on  The chart below is based on 72,000 searches performed on our website from June 2010 – March 2011.  It summarizes the price per person used by people searching for event venues.  Note:  Since the majority of our visitors search by location only (without filtering by price), it is a actually a small subset of the total searches within that period.

wedding reception trends - price per person


As true in most industries, there is a direct correlation between price and volume —  nothing too surprising here.  However, the peaks within the various price ranges are very interesting.  The $50/person peak is especially interesting as it appears to be a threshold on the lower end.  Perhaps, the negative economic environment is putting pressure on the mid-tier price ranges ($50-$70 / person).  When we looked at similar data from a few years ago, there was a more balanced distribution of price searches.

There is also a steep drop-off in the $80/person range that we will explore further.  It would be interesting to find out why so many more people search in the $90-100/person range as opposed to the $80-90/person range. Again, it could be due to economic factors squeezing out the $80-90/person range while brides with larger budgets search for $90 and above.

I wonder if this trend is noticeable in other parts of the wedding industry.


It might be worthwhile for venues priced slightly above $50/person to consider testing some promotional offers bringing them within the $50/person tier.  Since this data doesn’t consider seasonal pricing, it might be worth exploring these promotions at various times of the year and measuring whether there is enough volume to make up for the lower price.

If you have any suggestions for future reception trends articles or improvements we can make, please let us know.

Outdoor weddings: the good, the bad and the bugs

A little over ten years ago, we were saying our vows beside a charming quiet lake.  Our friends and family were all present along with one other guest.  Unfortunately, this guest was uninvited and brought along a few thousand friends — MOSQUITOES!!!

We planned and prepared the details months before to ensure everything went well, but overlooked one item.  It warmed up quite a bit that week (first week of June) and the mosquito eggs must have recently hatched unleashing a swarm of hungry guests — I’m sure you can picture the rest ;-).

Looking back, besides a few bites and annoyance, everything turned out well.  The actual reception was indoors, overlooking the lake, and the bugs were soon forgotten. We still have great  memories of our wedding and quite a few laughs when our friends bring up stories of our “buggy” wedding.  However, the bugs definitely impacted our ceremony pictures and video (lots of  swatting and hand waving throughout).  I also felt bad for our brave string quartet that kept playing throughout the ceremony.  Maybe we should have given out personalized bug repellent as a favor :-).

Planning for an outdoor wedding ceremony and reception:

We have an information page with some things to consider when planning an outdoor wedding reception, but here is a quick list from my own experience:

  • Price and availability: Due to the weather (in most geographic areas), you will likely be limited to the peak wedding season.  Book early and expect a higher price per person.
  • Have an indoor backup: Try to find a venue with venue with suitable in-door space (and be sure it is available on the day of your reception) in case of inclement weather.  Rain, wind or bugs can be a major issue and having a backup option is great.
  • Ask about seasonal bugs, animals and birds around your planned date: We never thought to ask about mosquitoes, but we should have.  It’s also possible that certain seasonal birds, squirrels or other animals might be more prevalent at different times of the year.
  • Visit the venue, at least once, on the same day of the week and time of your ceremony/reception (if possible).  We visited our venue a few months before and moved on to other wedding items.  If we had visited the week before (at dusk), we would have likely noticed the bugs.  Visiting on the same day of the week is also a good idea, since you might notice potential ambient noise due to traffic patterns, etc.

I’m sure there are  things we left out, so feel free to share your outdoor wedding planning tips as well.  Also review some outdoor wedding and reception venues for ideas.

Tags: ,

Introducing the New

We’re very excited to announce the general availability of the new website! Besides a great new look, the update brings major improvements to all of the features you’ve come to expect from along with many great new ways to make your venue search process even easier — and maybe a little bit fun as well :-). Be sure to take a look around and let us know what you think. We’re always open to your suggestions.

Improved Search

Search for reception halls by city, state, zip, venue capacity, venue price and then refine your search even further by features, amenities, venue type, and cuisine style. The search results are integrated with Google Maps, so you can plan your route instantly. We’re planning even more search improvement in the near future, so stay tuned.

Share Your Reception

Finding the right space for your event is never easy and getting advice from friends, family, clients, co-workers or anyone is always great. Now you can share your favorite reception locations with anyone instantly from your My Reception page. You and your friends can post and respond to comments and discuss your favorite venues in a private discussion forum integrated into your My Reception page.

Expanded Listing Content

We’ve made it easy for reception halls to add photos, menus, videos, virtual tours, testimonials and more to their listings. Expect to see many more complete listings, making it even easier to find the location without ever leaving your home.

Reception Hall — Venue Owners…Manage Your Listing Online

Venue owners, you can now manage all aspects of your listing online. From creating and managing listings to generating leads and tracking performance, you can do it all from your computer.

We’ll be going into more detail in future blog posts. Hope you enjoy the new website.