When considering your drinks reception or cocktail hour, have a think about where people will be likely to congregate. This will help you decide where to place key features. Is there seating for less mobile guests? Is the guest book or photobooth somewhere visible and accessible, to encourage people to take part? Will people spread out to explore the different spaces your venue has to offer, or cluster together in one spot?
All these factors are particularly important if you’re planning to have entertainment too. My role tends to be background music, so I don’t want to get in the way of people milling around or deafen the people right in front of me, but I do need to be visible (otherwise why bother having live music). Also bear in mind that some performers might need access to mains electricity – fortunately my setup doesn’t require this so I can play anywhere!
Usually the best solution is at the edge of a large space, in sight of the seated area but not right on top of it. Bonus points if it looks purposeful rather than a random spot I happened to stop in! Near a fireplace, in an otherwise empty corner, on a beautiful terraced area, at the foot of a beautiful staircase, you name it. Have a think about your venue and what unique features it has.
Pictured: Coombe Lodge, Blagdon. This has a lovely covered area (great for me on a hot day!) in view of the outdoor space near the bar but not in the way of the door. Perfect.