You just got hitched… and you want to party! Along with your DJ/Band you need a place to celebrate the day! In Yuma it can be super easy or super difficult depending how early you book one. Wedding season, for Yuma, is really one continuous season a year… It usually goes from Early October – Early May. Those weekends in between those two months will be the busiest. But we will help you find the right location for you. ūüôā ¬†

Here are a couple steps to follow when picking your reception venue.

Step 1: When?

Don’t even try to visit reception venues before getting your date picked. Most venues (like photographers) like to know the date first before scheduling a consult for obvious reasons such as already being booked. Some venues will book clients up to 2 years in advance for dates within wedding season. Keep in mind that some venues will offer discounts on non-Saturday dates such as Sunday. Even Friday wedding dates may offer you a discount.

Step 2: Must have vendors and brainstorming exercises.

Once you have the wedding date picked out, check with the vendors (such as photographers) who are a MUST have for your wedding to see if they have that date available. If you don’t have must have vendors or you checked with them and they are available, the next thing you need to do is jot down your guest list, at least a rough estimate of how many people you’ll have there. ¬†Consider your budget. Your budget will have an impact on how many people will be there. Next, dream! What do you want your wedding reception to be like? Use pinterest, get ideas!

Step 3: Start the search

The internet is the best place for this obviously.¬†has many vendors but search google too. ¬†Once you find a place that fits your budget, style, and what you want in a venue, do another quick google search like “Hilton Garden Inn Yuma, Arizona Weddings“. Then click images on the search page. This will give you an idea of what the pictures are going to look like for your wedding. Another good reference would be asking family and friends that recently got married and had a reception. Ask to see their wedding albums and such.

There are usually two types of reception venus. Some venues do everything, including; catering, beverages, tables, chairs, linens, staff and more. The Hilton Garden Inn Yuma or Quechan Casino are venues of this sort. In this way you usually pay per head. It can be more costly than the other way but you know you won’t have to worry much about who is going to do what.

Other venues may just let you use the facility only. You would have to find the caterer, the staff, tables, chairs, linens ect. From the Farm and Quarter Master Depot Yuma¬†are examples of these venues. This can be great if you want to customize every aspect of your reception because you can get the catering you want, the linen you like, and the style you’re after. It can also be the cheapest of the two. Normally, in this situation, you pay the venue a flat fee.

Step 4: Evaluating reception sites

Now, it’s time to contact the venues you have narrowed down with considerations of people, budget, type of venue ect. ¬†It’s best to call first and make an appointment. wedding vendors list has most of the information you’ll need.

In Yuma, all venues are pretty much within 15 minutes of each other, but keep in mind distance from the wedding ceremony to the reception venue. Don’t have your wedding in El Centro and then go to Yuma for your reception (We have seen that happen). It takes away a lot of photography time. The guests have to travel too.

One thing you should really ask your reception vendor is if there is other events in the same location. Guests can become confused and you’ll want to make sure they will make it to your reception instead of another wedding. Using ushers and/or signs can help tremendously.

Technical details. Most locations have power ample enough for your photo booth, your DJ, and your band. However please check with your venue AND your DJ or band. Your DJ and/or band will be able to tell you if they ever have had problems using your venue’s power. We have been in weddings that were inside and completely DARK because the power went out. No joke. Do not skip this step. ūüôā

Room decor: 1 quick tip here… If you want better pictures, make sure the DJ brings uplighting. Uplighting are¬†lights that go against the walls, these lights can provide different colors that match your style and wedding. Most of the walls in Yuma venues are pretty¬†neutral and bland, not great for photography. This will instantly provide you with better reception pictures if the photographer knows what they are doing.

Usually venues will have you sign an agreement with all the details. Make sure you’re clear and know what your getting for renting their location. Make sure you’re getting the staff and¬†silverware that you think you are getting.

Other tidbits:

In Yuma, weather is mostly sunny and 75… or rainy and sandstorm like, like our wedding. Seriously, our wedding was outside and it was cut short because of wind and sand and rain. Let’s be honest here… we don’t want the same for you. Make sure you have a backup plan, or a least heavy plates, cups and tie-downs. No seriously, it has happened where wind has been a nuisance. A tent, with wind walls do help quite a bit, but we know those big tents can get super expensive.

Again, make sure there is a agreement between you and the reception venue that lays out all the details. Make sure your contact person is someone you want to work with and has great customer service.

Hope this helps with picking out your reception location. :). Do you have any other tips? Would love to hear them! Put the in the comments section.

Vince and Tarah,


Fallbrook Photography
Instagram: @fallbrookphotography
Snapchat: @vincebenjamin


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