Long gone are the days where planning a wedding was a relatively simple affair assigned to a partner with the luxury of time. Nowadays, it’s a whole different ballgame and we understand that the modern complexity of planning a wedding is something that needs to be juggled with the demands of your work, family obligations and social life.
Without a doubt, the most fraught and time consuming aspect of planning a wedding is choosing your venue. The fact that most venues book out at least 12 months in advance means that it is the logical first step in planning your big day. Not only can it dictate the actual wedding date, but you’ll also need that date to be able to make all your other bookings.
If you’re considering engaging a wedding planner, this is the stage to do it as a good wedding planner can save you thousands of dollars through strong negotiation, asking the right questions, and getting you the most inclusions.
If you’re going it alone, we hope that the following tips will make your search for your perfect venue just that little bit easier.
Inside or Outside venue?,
If outside, what will be your wet weather Plan B?,
What menu style do you prefer (e.g. Buffet or Banquet)?,
Do you want a marquee (bearing in mind that marquee weddings can cost 2 to 3 times as much as function/reception venue)?,
Do you want the same location for your ceremony and reception?,
What are the transport and parking options?,
What kind of location do you want: garden, beach, harbour views, out of town etc.?,
How many guests (This is critical. Consider the maximum capacity of the venue as well as the minimum number of people you venue will accept)?,
What time of day (many venues in Sydney have curfews and noise restrictions)?
The more detailed your criteria is, the easier it will be to the right venue when you see it.
Budget: How much are you prepared to spend all up on your venue? Again, this will help you eliminate venues outside of your range and not waste your energy on places you can’t afford. It’s a good idea to add 10% to your original quote as there are always little additions made as your wedding plan evolves.
Bump In/Out: This is the length of time you are given to set up and dismantle your venue. If you are planning an elaborate event, ensure you will have enough time to set up. Some venues insist that everything is dismantled straight after the function. Styling companies often charge overtime and venues often charge for storage after the event.
Spreadsheet: Spending time on this step will save you more time than just about anything else. Use the information from the above steps to create a spreadsheet that will enable you to list and compare venues. This is especially useful as venues rarely give you the exact information you need in a way that allows for direct comparison. Your spreadsheet will make it possible for you to compare apples with oranges by highlighting information gaps. It also helps if you devise a scoring methodology to help rank the venues. Don’t forget to include any deal breakers (e.g. BYO spirits, sparkler exit, etc.)
Go online: Before rushing out to see every venue on your list, populate your spreadsheet with as much information as possible via venue websites and email enquiries. There is little point seeing a venue that doesn’t meet your personalised criteria. Be sure to search for reviews and ‘real-life’ photos of the venues as well to see what others have said to say about it. I’m sure you can think of better ways to spend your weekends than seeing reception venues that are too small for your guest list or won’t allow you to light the candelabras you have your heart set on.
Visit the shortlist: If you’ve done all your legwork in the planning stages, you shouldn’t need to visit more than 3 venues. Schedule visits to these to get a proper feel for the venue and the people you will be dealing with. Don’t be shy, poke around, make sure the venue is right for you and lives up to your online expectations.
Know whom you’re dealing with: Make sure you ascertain who your actual point of contact will be and make sure you meet them and feel comfortable with them. Ask what sort of support they will give you in planning your wedding. Ask for examples of their planning documents and timelines. Find out how you can communicate with them. Are there any restrictions on the number of visits you can make? Will your main point of contact be attending on the day?
Don’t sign on the dotted line: There may be pressure put upon you to sign a contract up front to secure a venue. Stand your ground and make sure you understand all the ramifications including hidden costs and cancellation fees. You also don’t want to close yourself off to other venues on your shortlist before you’ve seen them. On the other hand, don’t take too long to decide as good venues book up quickly! Ask if they will hold your date tentatively for a week or two. Most venues will do this and contact you if they get another enquiry for your date.
Contact us today and find out how much time and money we can save you email@example.com or call +61 414 419 895
Image of Burnham Grove Estate in Camden