In my own small town, there are 2 standard venues for wedding receptions—the Sons of Hermann Hall or the American Legion Hall. Both spaces are relatively large, open spaces with the requisite dance floor in the middle. The Sons of Hermann Hall is a little larger, but both spaces generally offer the same features. A kitchen for the caterers of your choice, a “Bar” consisting of a couple spigots for a Keg or two or ten, a stage for the band or more common DJ, and a fantastically undecorated interior—Standard rectangular tables and metal folding chairs included.
Almost all weddings in our area are held in these halls. The same goes for the surrounding towns. My cousin B’s reception will be held in the KC Hall (Knights of Columbus) in her hometown of Schulenburg and two of my close friends (C & C) who were wed last summer held their reception at the SPJST Hall in nearby Dime Box.
This type of venue literally opens the door for creative decorating. At C & C’s wedding in Dime Box, they created a drape over the center of the dance floor centered around the venue’s gorgeous antique chandelier. Many years ago, when my cousin B’s sister, K, was married, they created a gazebo in the center of the dance floor using a PVC pipe structure covered in Tulle.
My cousin A got married this past summer as well and her now-husband’s mother, who is a caterer, brought in round tables, pretty chairs, and ice sculptures and wowed the local crowds who were used to the rectangular tables and folding chairs!!
We will be holding our reception at the Sons of Hermann Hall. I’d always dreamed of a reception somewhere fantastic, not just the Hall like everyone else, but after researching venues within a 50-mile radius, I determined that any space that was large enough to hold my large reception would A) break the bank or B) require my guests to drive 45 minutes. I decided the Sons of Hermann was something we could work with. My immediate family is the most crafty/handy/creative group of people I know.
The Sons of Hermann Hall does not let you hang anything from the ceiling or the walls, so this was my mom’s first decorating hurdle. She cleared it with ease by enlisting my dad & brother to design and create metal stands to anchor strings of lanterns strung across the room. (The stands are still in the design process…when my family takes on a project, they do it right. I’m talking exact measurements, levels & t-squares, and perfect craftsmanship. My brother especially, a few years ago, he built a trailer sprayer (farm thing) from scratch and won prizes all over Texas for his work….but enough about that, more to come later).
My mom may be the only person who notices, but against the back wall of the hall, there are very obvious air conditioning units (added after the hall was built, this place is old…my parents had their reception at the same place). Mom has taken on the challenge to hide them by enlisting Dad & Bro again to create a framework to hang vertical strands of clearance Christmas lights (we definitely hit up the Wal-Mart 75%-off Holiday Sale) to hang in front of the units. Always a thinker, Mom found a way to make the units less obvious while still allowing airflow to cool the hall in early September, way to go MOM!
Instead of using the traditional rectangular tables in the usual way, lined up in rows, we will be using the tables in pairs, pushed together into squares. We also plan on using several round tables, borrowed from a family friend.