What to consider when booking a wedding venue
Selecting your wedding venue is one of the most important and exciting aspects of the wedding planning process. After all, your venue will truly set the tone for what kind of celebration you are having, and from there it will help you navigate other important aspects of your day.
However, with so much choice, it can become an overwhelming task. From exquisite winery vistas, blissful beach escapes and chic city bars, knowing where to start can be the trickiest part. This is where we step in, with some handy hints and advice for what to consider when it comes to booking the setting for your dream day.
When it comes to choosing a venue it’s important to have a discussion with your partner about a few things.
For instance, what kind of feel or vibe do you want the space to have? Are you looking for a beachside beauty, a winery wedding, a country affair, an urban space or the perfect private property? Sit down and chat, maybe over a glass of wine, and write down all that you want from your wedding venue location and space. Once you know what kind of space you ultimately want, let the research begin!
Research, research, research.
Now it’s time to get stalking, and who doesn’t like a wedding planning scroll! It goes without saying it’s important to research venues. Websites like Ivory Tribe make it easy with our own dedicated directory of venues you can avail of. However, ask family and friends, research venues websites, stalk their social media. You will soon get a feel for what works for you.
Nail your numbers.
It’s important to number crunch when it comes to the who’s who of your guest list. Basically, if you’re wanting a guest list of 250, there’s no point viewing a venue only able to accommodate 100 guests. Nail how many guests you want at your wedding and then as part of your research, find out how many guests your chosen venues can accommodate. Need a hand in handling your guests list? We have our top tips for you here.
Reach out to your potential venues and ask about their availability. This will help you know if their dates match up with your potentials. Venues book up quickly so it’s good to get in early, especially for Saturday weddings or in the popular months of Spring and Summer. If you’re set on having your wedding at a particular venue, keep in mind you may need to be flexible with what they can offer.
As much as we all love to dream, at some point we have to think about the dollars! Don’t be afraid to ask venues for their costs, as this will help you create a shortlist that you love and know you can afford. Most wedding venues will have wedding packages they can send your way, clearly outlining prices for food and beverages and all the little details you may not yet have considered. Also, keep in mind that some venues have an additional fee to hold your ceremony in the same location, so be sure to check this out too. If you need to set your budget, we can give you a helping hand.
Scope it out.
Book a time to visit the venue and speak with their event coordinator. There’s nothing like seeing a space in person to really experience how it feels, as well as whether it suits your vision. This is also a good opportunity to talk further about the costs involved as well as specifics around what they offer.
When you attend the space, here are some handy questions you might wish to ask;
- What time will you be able to host your ceremony/cocktail hour/reception from?
- What time will your wedding have to be finished by?
- Is there catering provided and if so, what do they offer when it comes to food and beverages? You may also like to ask if they can tailor their offering to suit your needs.
- Are tables, chairs, décor or other essentials provided?
- Does the venue have a sound system, and can your MC access their microphone?
- Are there any restrictions on noise levels? Are they happy for you to book a band or DJ?
- Do they have any restrictions on which suppliers you can book?
- What time can your other wedding vendors be there to set up? Think florist, stylist, celebrant, entertainment etc.
- Is there a backup plan if the weather is inclement?
- Are there any additional fees? Eg dance floor hire, extensions of time if you want to party later or start earlier, security costs?
- How do you secure a booking and what are the payment terms?
- In the event of a cancellation/postponement, what is their policy?
We all love scrolling through a gorgeous wedding album, reliving the memories and soaking up every divine detail. Whilst wedding photographers are incredible at adapting to changing conditions, it is helpful to consider the lighting levels of your venue. Will the full sun be in your faces during the ceremony? Will it be intense and moody inside during the reception? Do you dream of a fairy-lit dance floor and if so, will this work for the venue you’re considering? Illumination plays an important part in creating atmosphere, so chat to your venue coordinators about what works best in their space.
Consider your guests.
Whilst a remote ocean clifftop might seem like a dream destination in your imagination, it is always worth thinking a little about your guests. After all, if Grandma can’t make the 5km walk to the ceremony location in a remote forest, or if your guests are shivering with cold as you stand on a mountaintop, those incredible emotions you want surrounding you on the day may be overshadowed by discomfort. So when considering your venue, think about access for you and your guests, shelter from the weather, and general comfort.
Help on hand?
Each venue differs in how they approach a wedding day. Some will provide you with a venue coordinator or event manager who will be there just for your event, from the beginning of the day to the end. Some will just provide you the space, and it’s up to you and your vendors to ensure it all runs smoothly on the day. We recommend chatting to your potential venues early on about this one as it may affect your budget and how you see the day unfolding.
The uncontrollable… weather.
As we all know, the best-laid plans can be derailed if the weather takes a turn on your big day. The best way to shift the stress and prevent you from becoming a BOM expert in the weeks leading up to your wedding is to have a plan b you are happy with and know how to instigate. Check out the inclement weather options at each of the venues you are considering, and chat to the venue coordinators about how these may work. A great rainy day option can make for a gorgeous, intimate celebration, so don’t be afraid to think it through!
Lock it in.
If you’ve seen your venue and fallen in love, it’s best you secure the space as soon as possible. Confirm via email or phone, lock in your deposit, and get excited knowing that you’ve secured a stunning space to celebrate one of the most incredible days of your life!
On the hunt for the perfect venue but don’t know where to start? Check out our favourite wedding venues and know you’re in the best of hands.