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Just engaged and wondering how on earth you go about finding the perfect wedding venue for you?
It certainly is one of the biggest decisions you will make for your wedding and the pressure to get it right can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.
The ultimate goal is to narrow down your search to 3 to 5 favourite venues which you will go and inspect in person. But how do you discover the hundreds of local venue options out there and create your shortlist?
The first step...
is to think about what type of wedding you would like as well as your deal-breakers, would-be-nice features and theming/styling ideas you love.
That way when you start your search you will be able to sort and filter according to your personal list of needs, wants and love.
This makes the whole process much simpler and quicker and a whole lot more enjoyable for you and your partner. Actually, especially for your partner – they will love you even more for involving them in the final selection from your top 5 venues, rather than dragging them to every single venue in town only to discover they just aren’t right for you.
Suggested Venue Types: Sporting clubs, your/friends house, marquee on friends property/public space, community halls, barns, any venue with DIY catering or alcohol
• Can be a cheaper option. DIY saves on all-inclusive package prices and less ‘glamorous’ venues will have lower operating costs which they can pass on to you in their pricing
• Divert more of your budget to cool wedding extras
• More control over every detail from dates to décor, and you call the shots on things like start and finish times
• Stamp your personal style and make your wedding more personable
• DIY options are much more consuming of your time and mental energy
• No wedding planning expert on your team (unless you pay for them seperately)
• If DIY means a marquee or outdoor location, beware of weather implications. Having a solid indoor backup plan can add unexpected cost
• Unlike packages with hotels, DIY venues or marquee hire can often have hidden costs. For example, make dance floor hire, flooring, a wedding coordinator to coordinate proceedings on the day, catering staff, etc.
Suggested Venue Types: Marquees, decks, beach venues, gardens, hinterland or mountain retreats, parklands
• If you love the serene beauty of the outdoors, this may be the obvious or only choice for you from the outset anyway
• The beauty and splendor of nature, creates instant ambience for your wedding, potentially saving you money on syling and décor
• If you’re planning a big wedding, an outdoor location can give you a lot more leeway with capacity to fit extra guests
• Whatever the actual location style, outdoor weddings provide terrific backgrounds for photo opportunities
• Most of us can’t help but feel a little more relaxed at an outdoor wedding, creating a calm wedding vibe
• No-one can predict the weather. All you can do is prepare and make sure you have a solid indoor/undercover option organised.
• Uninvited guests, namely flies and mosquitos, are a definite negative. Be prepared for this by keeping repellants at hand (citronella candles or mozzie spray).
• The nature of outdoor spaces can mean you don’t have them all to yourself. Be prepared to share your wedding with curious onlookers (which may even be a positive for some).
• Be cautious of budget with outdoor venues as there can be many hidden costs associated with marquee hire fees, staffing, styling, catering, site hire fees and so on.
Suggested Venue Types: Restaurants, bars, private members clubs, retreats, small boutique hotels
• Romantic and personal – a true reflection of your style as a couple
• Smaller weddings often mean we invite only our dearest and dearest, which means they can be quite a social affair. And you’ll both have time to mingle with and enjoy the company of all your guests.
• Less guests equals lower cost
• With the smaller venue you can afford to be more extravagant or luxurious with your styling and guest inclusions
• DIY options are much more consuming of your time and mental energy
• No wedding planning expert on your team
• Your guest list naturally includes fewer people, which can cause friction and drama for those not invited
• If you aren’t the jealous type then wedding envy won’t be an issue. Just be conscious of any potential regrets of going ‘too small’; particularly if other friends are planning more elaborate weddings with an extended guest list
• Fewer guess means fewer wedding gifts, which may be important for you if you want to recoup some of your wedding expenses through cash-based gifts like a wishing well
Suggested Venue Types: Theme parks, boats, museums, warehouses, heritage venues
• We all want our wedding to be memorable and unique venues give us a great start in achieving this
• Option to add your own styling and personal touches
• No need to worry about creating activities for guests between your ceremony and reception – the location itself will often take care of that
• Great backdrop for wedding photos
• Many of these venues can often go under the radar as they don’t actively promote themselves as a wedding venue. Getting availability on your preferred dates may be easier than the bigger wedding venues.
• May not have in-house Wedding Coordinators so coordination could be hit and miss
• Packages may not be all-inclusive, so be mindful of extra costs
• Museums and heritage style venues can often require a large security deposit
• Will rarely have on-site accommodation for you or your guests
• May not have an on-site ceremony venue
Suggested Venue Types: Golf clubs, dedicated function venues, wineries
• Most have a dedicated wedding coordinator who you can be confident will look after your best interests
• Depending on the venue, specialty boutique venues can often have a bit more flexibility with their packages and wedding day details than big chain hotels
• Weddings are a huge focus for these venues and so they take a lot of time to make sure they create the best possible wedding experience for you
• Typically a one-stop shop for the wedding itself - offering ceremony space, pre-dinner drinks and reception space
• Good with having alternate indoor spaces for wet weather (ceremony and receptions)
• As one of the most popular venue styles, finding available dates can be tricky
• Most don’t provide onsite accommodation
• If the reception space is a regular indoor function room, you might need to spend extra on styling upgrades or hiring a stylist to give your wedding the wow factor
• Their popularity as well as their focus on delivering exceptional weddings, means these venues don’t usually come cheap. This can be tempered a bit though by choosing a cocktail style package or one with less inclusions.
Suggested Venue Types: Hotels, resorts, retreats, estates
• Weddings are big for these venues and so typically they do them very well. If classical elegance and/or glamour are your style, then hotels or resorts might be a great option for you.
• Often a one-stop shop, offering ceremony space, pre-dinner drinks, reception space and accommodation all in one venue. And so a great option for guests coming from interstate or overseas.
• Provide an onsite wedding coordinator for both wedding preparations and to be onsite to ensure everything runs smoothly on your wedding day
• Onsite wedding night accommodation for you and your guests
• Their brand is very important to them and so is delivering on your wedding dream
• Standardised packages can sometimes mean less flexibility around price, inclusions and details like package duration, finish time, etc.
• Hotel function rooms can be a bit bland, so be sure to discuss styling options or consider hiring a stylist to give your wedding the wow factor
• May get less personal attention than some of the more boutique venues (although this isn’t usually the case)
• Delivering a 4 or 5 star service isn’t cheap and so often hotel and resort venues are at the higher end of the budget