Top tips for choosing your dream wedding venue

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Planning a wedding is something that can be overwhelming. There is so much to consider, so much to take in and so many things that need your attention! As soon as you say ‘I do!’ – that’s when the whirlwind starts. You’ll get a million and one congratulations texts and messages, but you’ll also get a million and one questions about the wedding itself: Where are you having it (I know a great waterfront venue in Melbourne!), what season (Spring is divine), who’s coming (i.e. Can I come?), what are you wearing, can I bring my children/partner/Tinder date… It’s potentially exhausting. I can’t help you with the seating plan and with figuring out where to seat your cantankerous, meddling Aunt Susan so she doesn’t make anyone cry, but I can help you to nut out the details about how to choose the perfect venue for your nuptials. Sadly, the days of choosing the reception hall in your home town are all but gone (unless you’re going for a retro, ironic vibe – in which case, good for you!) and so you need to think a bit more creatively in order to make it only the wedding blogs du jour. Let’s take a look and figure out what venue to choose!

Rule One – know the movements and logistics of your event

It’s an exciting time, getting hitched. It’s easy for you to go and view a venue, to get all excited about the prospect of saying ‘I do’ under that super cute faux wooden portcullis in the Japanese gardens, but what about the rest of the venue? You need to think about your guest list and to think about who is coming. Are there a million and one steps and no lift? How will your elderly guests go with moving around? You need to do a rough guest count and then pick the venue. It’s not the easiest thing to do; counting up the attendees a week after you’ve agreed to spend the rest of your lives together, but it will make things a lot easier. Have a rough size, whether it’s 10, 60 or 100 guests, and then work from there. You can cross off venues based purely on the guest count and that will make things a lot easier.

If you know what season you want to get married in, that will help a lot as well – and many venues will be unsuited for certain climates. So cross them off too. Many venues may showcase shots from their reception area in the best season – but it might not work for your big day, so know when you want to have the wedding and ask appropriate questions. If it might rain, ask if they have a wet weather contingency space. If it’s a Winter wedding, ensure that there’s sufficient heating and lighting for the event.

Rule Two – Check out the venue at the time your wedding will be

While it seems a bit obvious, check out the venue you’re considering at the time of day you want to hold your wedding. You need to see everything, from the light and the space to how it looks in the evening as well, if you’re considering a night-time event.

Rule Three – Find out if the venue is full service or not

Full service means that the venue has everything from table and chair rental, to linens and catering. A non full service venue means that they offer the space, and everything else is up to you. You will have to book all of the extra stuff, from furniture to bands to heaters. Some venues have preferred vendors, and it’s worth having a chat to the different spots and asking what they offer.

Rule Four – Figure out your wedding style and feel

Are you after a romantic wedding, an elegant wedding, or a modern wedding? You need to plan the wedding and choose your space accordingly, as it’s far easier to set the tone of your event when the space matches it.

Rule Five – Ask a LOT of questions

Make a big list of your question and then ask them all. You need to know who you’re dealing with and to have a big list of all of the things you’re doing. Important things you might not think to ask are, ‘how many weddings do you hold here?, and ‘who will help me on the day of my wedding?’ It also helps for peace of mind to get things in writing! That way, you are safe. Happy planning!