Welcome to the third post in The Casual Gourmet’s series of tips for newly engaged brides. You can view all the tips (once published) here or learn more about the author, Olive Chase (THE Cape Cod wedding expert) here. Check back often for more tips!

Now that you have your guest list in hand, the next step is deciding where you are going say, ‘I do’ — a destination wedding to beautiful Cape Cod or a reception close to home, a big church ceremony or a small gathering down by the beach? Do you have a meaningful location already in mind? These are important choices that will define the character and, ultimately, the memory of your big day!

Many couples like to recreate that special moment in their relationship by having their wedding either at the same location he proposed or at a location where much of your time was spent together.

The answer may not come easily. The best approach is to sit back and figure out what are the deal breakers. Do you want to get married with your feet in the sand? Do you want the party to go on till 2am? Figure out what is a must and go from there.

For instance, Cape Cod is surrounded by beaches but maybe you want the view without the sand and dunes — Nauticus Marina in Osterville fits the bill (Photo by Bello Photography — website, facebook):

Or, perhaps you want a ceremony in the great outdoors but still want an intimate, indoor reception — Heritage Museums and Gardens offers both (Photo by Steve Haines Photography):

The key is to figure out what you really want and narrow down your choices. Check out The Casual Gourmet’s list of wedding reception sites for an idea of the types of sites you might look for. It is important to compare and contrast the variety of sites for your reception.

Wedding receptions at non-traditional sites: mansions, museums, beaches and historic landmarks

Great Because…
• Impressive architecture and manicured grounds provide a distinctive setting
• Ability to create unique one of a kind event
• Privacy – these venues usually host one event at a time

The Downside…
• More restrictions — noise, décor and rental times
• Outdoor disturbances — dirt, mud, allergies, noises, temperature
• Must plan a backup for inclement weather

Wedding receptions at function halls

Great Because…
• Hassle free wedding packages available
• Tons of wedding experience makes site coordinator an invaluable resource

The Downside…
• Weddings can look mass produced
• Multiple events held per day, affecting your starting and ending times

Wedding receptions at hotels and resorts

Great Because…
• Onsite accommodations and added amenities (concierge, shuttles, spas etc.)
• Proximity to airports and/or vacation destinations
• Low or no rental fees

The Downside…
• Hotel ballrooms and cuisine can be generic
• Ballroom dividers may be unappealing (ask to see in advance)
• Potential lack of privacy – larger hotels host multiple events at once