We know that choosing a wedding venue is the biggest decision, which you can’t take back (or it would be too much hassle) so make it right the first time, it’s really important. It will set the mood of your wedding and will influence the style and your vendors. Also, you can’t start booking other vendors until you pick the place. Keep reading if you are interested in how to find a venue and what questions to ask 🙂
SET A REALISTIC BUDGET
Be ready that the venue and food will cost you 30 to 50 per cent of your budget. It’s the most significant investment of all items.
ALWAYS ASK WHAT IS INCLUDED
Every venue has different packages and what is included, so don’t be fooled that some venues may seem cheaper than others. It’s always important to check what is part of the packages and what you have to pay extra. Some venues might include a venue coordinator, styling, florals, tables, and chairs but some might charge for it.
THE NUMBER OF GUESTS WILL AFFECT THE WEDDING VENUE YOU CHOOSE
Most of the venues charge per head. The average price was $157 per guest in 2019. So how many guests you will have will eventually affect what venue you can afford and what venue can accommodate such an amount of people.
Do you want to get married close to home or interstate or even overseas?
If it is not close to home you should check the availability of accommodation nearby, how far your guests will have to travel and how much it will cost them.
You should also check whether there are no major events around the day of your wedding in the region which could cause a shortage of accommodation.
If it is a remote area check what wedding vendors are around or if the vendors are happy to travel to the location.
Use Google and Instagram for looking; type place plus the word “wedding venue”. If you spot the venue you like, it’s also good to look at the images from previous weddings. You can do this either on the venue website but the much better resource is if you go to Google Images.
USE PINTEREST AND WEDDING BLOGS TO FIGURE OUT THE STYLE
Before you start looking you should figure out what wedding style you like. Is it romantic, classic, modern, bohemian, beach, rustic or vintage?
You can also check out some wedding blogs for inspiration. They feature real weddings. Try White Magazine, Hello May, Hooray! Nouba or some locals such as Queensland Brides.
DO NOT JUDGE THE WEDDING VENUE JUST BY LOOKING AT THEIR WEBSITE
Sometimes they don’t have the best images to showcase their space so if you are not sure then go and check them out personally. Sometimes boring space (hall) or a field can be turned into something magical if you style it. Always read reviews from past brides or ask in Facebook groups for some reviews. Check their availability and book in for a viewing. Be aware that many popular venues are booked one and a half to one year in advance so be ready to change the date if necessary.
Ok, so at that moment you should have a couple of venues that caught your attention, and you are ready to see them.
On the day of viewing, take your fiance, and comfortable shoes and don’t forget to bring your notes and a camera.
VISIT THE WEDDING VENUE AROUND THE SAME TIME AND SEASON OF YOUR WEDDING
Try to visit the venue when there is a wedding, and around the same time and season, you will get married if it is possible. It’s because you will see how the space will look like, and you won’t be disappointed. Sometimes, the couples visualise their photos in the vineyard or lavender fields, but none of this grows in winter!
CHECK THE CEREMONY OPTIONS FOR LIGHTING
Another important reason, why to see the place around the same time is because of the lighting during the ceremony. Do you want to get married under a big tree? It’s always good to go and stand in the same place and watch how the light behaves on your face. Especially with trees, be careful of patches of light from the branches on your face and look for a spot where both of you have full shade on your faces.
Are you dreaming about a ceremony in a chapel or wooden arbour? Although, a great wet weather option, neither of these places is good for lighting. Chapels are usually dark with no or limited daylight. Their only light source is the artificial lighting causing a yellow or orange tint on your skin that is very hard to remove in post-processing. If you want to get married in a chapel, look for a chapel with enough daylight and white walls.
The best spot in terms of lighting is an open space with a small arbour. Keep it simple.
CHECK HOW BIG THE SPACE IS
Will my photographer will be able to move around during the ceremony? Is there enough space for both photographer and a videographer? How many bridesmaids and groomsmen will I have? Will they block space for a photographer/videographer? If you are unsure, it’s always good to ask your photographer/videographer.
BRIDAL PHOTOS OPPORTUNITIES
How big venue is? Are there enough locations for portrait photos or is there anything nearby where we can have our photos taken? Don’t forget to count the travelling time from and to the location on your timeline.
GETTING READY SPACE
Is there accommodation on-site or at least space for the bride to get ready? This will save you time on travelling and you will have more time for yourself.
It’s a great idea to have your ceremony & reception in one place. Again, it will save you time travelling, and you will have more from your day. Believe us the day goes so fast so it would be a shame to spend it in the car.
Check the space for lighting. If it is too dark, it might be tricky for your photographer to capture all details and candids and you might end up with too much grain in your photos. If the venue doesn’t provide additional lighting, you can hire an external company. Also, the positioning of the tables can cause photographers some difficulties in moving between individual tables, and they might miss some great moments because they are blocked by your uncle or venue staff serving the food and drinks.
WEDDING VENUE COORDINATOR
Some venues offer coordinator services. They will be in touch with you before and on the day of your wedding. Many people confuse them for wedding planners, but they don’t provide the same services as outside planners. You have to communicate with the venue to clarify what they’re responsible for and what you can expect. They don’t help you with planning, vendor communication or your wedding timeline. They will advise you on the ceremony, canapes and reception start though. If you don’t want to worry about anything on your day, you have to hire a wedding planner or on-the-day coordinator.
Also, don’t forget to ask if there will be another wedding on the same day. If so, will they use the same ceremony space? This has happened to one of our past brides. Another ceremony was running in the same space, resulting in 40 minutes delay! There was no time for congratulations, group photos, or family photos and we had to do their bridal party photos in 30 minutes! That is why is important to ask this question and read reviews from past brides!
Lastly, take many photos during the viewing to remind you of the place and make notes. You won’t remember everything after a couple of days and after seeing other venues.
QUESTIONS TO ASK THE WEDDING VENUE
What services are included in packages, and what do we have to pay extra (hire)?
How many hours are included in the rental?
Do you have preferred vendors, or can we choose ours?
Can we style the place on our own?
Can we bring our alcohol or not?
Will we need to bring our sound system?
How many cars can park here?
Is there a bridal accommodation or any space for the bride and bridesmaids to get ready?
What is your wet weather option?
Will we have exclusive use of the wedding venue or will there be another event?
When can we start setting the place up?
Will there be someone here on the day? Who can we contact if something goes wrong?
Can we have candles?
Can we throw confetti or rose petals?
Do you allow drone on your property?
Do you have in-house catering or do we have to hire someone?