Weddings begin with just one huge, life-changing question. Once it's popped and the answer is yes, you'll find you've got a load more questions to answer.
Organising an actual wedding is filled with huge decisions, and one of the first you'll need to make is where you want to tie the knot. We asked our professional wedding planner for advice. Here are her top 5 tips to keep in mind as you shop for venues.
If you get married in a cathedral, you will automatically have a far more formal ceremony than if you get hitched on Gnarabup Beach. Brides may not be able to have bare shoulders or minis, grooms won’t be allowed to wear shorts, and everyone will have to wear shoes. Consider if the venue’s atmosphere is really what you want for your wedding. Is it hats and gloves or boardies and beers?
It’s easy to see a beautiful venue online and want something similar. When you get the quote, check it thoroughly. The fancy chairs, the pretty harpist, the string quartet, the gazebo and even the red carpet might all be pricey ‘extras’ that you have to pay for on top of hiring the venue itself.
A venue that offers the services of a wedding planner makes your life much easier. They’ll get your input and then go away and arrange all the service providers, sometimes right down to getting permission for the ceremony to be held from the relevant authorities. DIY might seem like a good idea but remember, you may be hours away from the venue, you have co-ordinate everything yourself AND you have no one to bounce decisions or questions off.
But, if they have a dedicated planner, do you gel with each other? Do they get you, are they friendly, professional, helpful and
knowledgeable? There’s no point choosing a venue because a planner is thrown in if you don’t actually get on with them!
We’ve already tipped you off to look at what’s included and what’s not but we suggest you look again. Some venues will load all sorts of small costs for things you’d assume would be taken for granted. Want a cake. No problem. Want to actually cut and eat your cake with your guests? Oh, there’s a charge for that (it’s often called ‘cakeage’). Want to have speeches? Sure. Want your speakers to have a microphone? Oh, there’s a charge for that. Extra staff, more chairs, an earlier start or a later finish – check what the hidden costs around these elements will be.
Some venues have strict rules around the number of guests, the duration of your ceremony and reception, and even whether you can include children or not. Find out how flexible they are and what they can accommodate and what they won’t. If you’re hoping to add a few personal touches, see how open they are to helping you achieve this. Is there any choice within packages and menus, or is everything absolutely set in stone?
A venue is more than just a lovely backdrop to your wedding: it will shape the type of reception you can have, how guests can or can’t behave, and have a massive impact on your budget. Once you choose a venue that’s 100% right for you, then many other decisions will quickly fall into place. Good luck!