If your wedding planning ‘to do’ list is about to run on to the third (fourth, or fifth) page, we hear you! It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the number of things you need to do before the big day, but trust us: some elements are far more significant than others and should take priority on your checklist.
So, feel free to bump the scheduling of Aunty Nora’s surprise performance of hits from ‘The Bodyguard’. Once you secure a date, you’ll need to agree on your wedding venue – it’s a big decision to make as a couple, and it’s potentially the first wedding-planning hurdle you’ll encounter before you seal the deal.
Here, we give you the six easy steps to help you choose the perfect venue for your dream wedding.
Step 1: Think of the kind of wedding you’ve dreamt of, and then set a (hard and fast) budget
Do you want an intimate dinner for 30 of your closest pals, or will you have a big, fat wedding of 200+ guests?
These questions are really important when narrowing down your dream venue – that restaurant you love, or the country pub you covet, might not be able to house your full party.
Once you’ve agreed on numbers, it’s time to talk to turkey. Give careful consideration to your finances, and what’s realistic for you as a couple: you don’t want your big day to set you back on your plans for the future.
Step 2: High-class or rolling grass: what environment most suits you?
Sometimes, this choice is super easy. If you both love to surf and laze about on the sand, a beach wedding is a must.
Or if you prefer rolling hills, sumptuous vistas and wide, open spaces, you’re headed for the country.
But for other couples, it’s not quite so simple. Think of your overall ‘vibe’: do you prefer trendy, cool spots that have all the must-haves, or does the idea of a big dancefloor and glittering chandeliers send you into a spin?
Whatever venue you choose, you’ll need to make sure it’s right for you. While family and friends can certainly weigh in, at the end of the day, remember that you’re the bride or groom, and you’ll have those memories forever.
Credit: Something Blue Photography
Step 3: Location, location, location
If you (or your partner) belongs to a church that’s local to them or their family members, some of the decision-making might be taken out of your hands.
If you’re getting married in a church, you’ll need to think about picking a reception venue that makes sense in terms of its proximity to the ceremony.
Do you think you’ll put on buses to ferry people to and from the reception? If so, where should they park their cars at the ceremony, or even leave them securely overnight?
And – perhaps most importantly - do you know what the cost will be for a minibus (or three) to shuttle all those guests?
If not, you’ll need to think about whether your reception venue is easy to find… there’s nothing worse than a wedding full of latecomers who couldn’t locate the party.
Step 4: Never fear the whirlwind engagement
It’s really not usual for couples to book their dream venue a year (or more!) in advance, so if there’s a location that speaks to you or that has special significance, you don’t want to let it fall through your fingers.
In saying this, if you’re on more of a ‘whirlwind romance’ timeline, there might be bargains to be had. This is particularly the case if you’re getting married outside of a peak season, like Spring or Summer.
Ask for any dates that have no current bookings, or for a cancellation or a last-minute unavailability: whatever the reason, it never hurts to put yourself on a waiting list.
You could also consult the in-house wedding coordinator (if there is one) to ask about any package deals or last-minute discounts they’d offer if you took the spot.
Step 5: Make like a library and BOOK IT!
There are so many different things to consider when you’re choosing a wedding venue, but chances are, you’ll know when you walk in if it’s right for you. If you get that feeling: lock it down ASAP.
Step 6: CELEBRATE!
Whoop, whoop! You’ve overcome one of the biggest hurdles any would-be betrothed has to endure. Now, you get to do all the fun bits… invitations, wedding décor, theming, bonbonniere and more.
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