Congratulations, you’re getting married! This is a time for happiness, so definitely take it all in - pop some champagne, get all blissed out on your soon-to-be lover for life, and welcome everything that comes with him or her putting a ring on it, but get ready for some big decisions, too, starting first and foremost with a pretty big thing to tick off the list: the venue.
In addition to being one of the biggest investments you’ll make while wedding planning, the venue also sets the tone for the entire event. It’s like the glue that holds all the elements of your wedding day together, from ceremony all the way to send off. Needless to say, choosing a venue is a big decision!
Whilst this subject may seem intimidating I’m here to hold your hand with all of the do’s and don’ts and walk you through the entire process including the search, questions to ask and what elements to consider when choosing the perfect place to say your I do’s.
Set a Budget
Determining a wedding budget should be right up there in your list of priorities. Knowing who is going to be contributing to your overall wedding finances
will help you set realistic expectations on every decision you will be making.
Granted, that conversation, whether it be between the two of you or all
of the parents (and even extended family members), could be a tough one. So, in our experience, it’s best just to bite the bullet, sit down with your beverage of choice, and figure it ALL out together.
Keep in mind that exploring expectations vs. reality can be a learning curve, and things may need to be adjusted down the road.
There are a few things to consider when considering a date for your wedding. The first step is to sit down and consider what season you and your partner would like to get married. You may ask yourselves
“Is there a particular time where life is a bit hectic for you?”
“Is there a date or time of year that holds some significance to you as a couple?”
“What kind of climate, floral’s and general feel do you envision for your day?”
Narrowing down the possibilities with those questions will help you come up with an overall plan for the day. If you want a cosy wedding with dramatic lighting and lot’s of leafy greenery you may consider a winter wedding. Whereas your more typical springtime wedding may have more pastel blooms and light, airy colours. There are advantages and disadvantages to all seasons, so be sure to weigh the options carefully. Check weather patterns and plan accordingly, from the beginning, for a pleasurable experience for guests, rain or shine.
If you’re not particular about the season or range of dates, there are a couple things you can do to save money. First, consider booking an off-season wedding.. In addition, booking a day other than Saturday (which used to be the gold standard in wedding-perfect days of the week) can also help the budget, but in return could be a bit less convenient for guests. Remember that dates that play with numbers (11/12/13, 08/18/18, etc.) tend to be popular and more expensive, so if booking one of those dates is important to you, reach out to venues sooner rather than later.
The biggest factor in selecting the date is the actual availability of the venue! Venues often book 12–18 months in advance, so keep those timelines in mind when setting appointments.
Destination or Domestic
Destination weddings are becoming more popular and it’s not hard to imagine why. When deciding on whether to have a domestic wedding or have a domestic wedding, consider what makes the most sense for you based on your style, budget, guests and schedule. In addition you may consider tourism seasons. High tourist seasons may find it difficult to find transport and accommodation and bump the costs up. It can be quite a challenge to plan a wedding in a country you don’t live in but a destination planner will be able to help. These professionals know all of the ins and outs of curating celebrations and they will handle a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
You may want to consider potential language barriers and cultural differences and in the current climate and travel restrictions and rules.
Determine your guest list
It’s easy to underestimate how many people will actually end up on your guest list, especially if your parents are contributing to your budget, as they may wish to invite a few of their own friends. Having a firm idea on the number of who you’d like to be invited will determine the cost not only of the venue but also centrepieces, catering, chair covers and stationery.
Of course, not all of your invited guests will not be able to make your wedding, it is normal when estimating numbers for the day for around 85% of invited guests to attend a local wedding and around 55-65% to attend a destination wedding. Keep in mind that it is best to be more generous with plus ones for destination weddings or in any situation where a guest is travelling a long distance, so you’ll find that your guest count, here, will need to increase.
When choosing your venue it’s wise to consider how much can be done in house by the venue and whether they have a preferred supplier list for you to use. Some venues will be able to point you in the direction of trusted suppliers they work closely with and even insist on you hiring their DJ or caterers for example.
It’s then important to factor in those costs too as it may work out more expensive than sourcing your own. Venues will also mostly insist that suppliers you hire on the day have relevant insurances.
Ask your coordinator about any restrictions they may have, for example on the time the reception can go on until, whether they’ll allow fireworks, insist on biodegradable confetti, whether they’ll allow corkage, if they’ll provide a room to get ready in on the day and whether they’ll allow you to put up decorations on their walls. The answers to these questions will determine who then you need to hire for the day.
Choosing a venue can seem like a minefield however it’s a really exciting part of the wedding planning process. Getting your venue locked in nice and early will then enable you to plan other aspects of your wedding and get your invitations sent out.