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Choosing the Perfect Wedding Venue

Choosing the Perfect Wedding Venue

Your choice of wedding venue sets the scene and tone for your special day, so it’s an important but often difficult choice. There are so many factors to consider - your budget, available space, the number of guests you’ll be inviting, the time of year and day, religious requirements, noise, facilities for catering, accessibility and of course availability. Here are just some of the important things that you’ll need to consider, helping get you started when choosing the perfect venue for you.

Budget

As you start planning your wedding, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your budget gets used up. So before you can begin to decide on a location you must first take a look at your total spending budget.  If you have a small budget you may not want to choose a lavish location.  You want to make sure that your location and venue choice is well within your spending limits.  Your total budget does not need to be finalised right at the outset of your wedding planning, but you need to have a good idea of the total you plan to spend so you can stay inside your spending limits.

What percentage of your budget should you spend on your venue? As reported on government website Money Smart, the average Australian wedding costs $36,000.  This has slightly reduced compared to previous years due to the covid's impact on the number of guests who can attend. 

However, the venue cost per person works out at about the same as before covid, $150. The average number of guests has reduced post-covid to 88, so the estimated venue cost in Australia in 2021 works out at about $13,200.

Of course, these figures are just an average so what you’ll spend for your venue will depend on the particular costs of the venues you are considering and your number of guests. As a general rule of thumb, you should expect to spend approximately 50% of your total wedding budget on your venue, food and alcohol.

Style

You have probably been dreaming about this day since you were a little girl.  Now that your big day is approaching you need to figure out the style or theme of your wedding.  Rustic, Boho, Barn and Garden weddings are all currently very popular styles.

If you are having a smaller, more intimate, ceremony you may opt to choose a small, meaningful location such as somewhere near the place you met.
Regardless of your choice, many venues have wedding packages available that you can purchase.  This means that they will include your tables, linens, catering, some or all of the decorating and clean-up.  

You will need to check with each vendor to make sure what they provide and what you can and cannot do at each venue.  For example, a venue may offer catering but do not allow you to bring in food or workers. They may also require that you use their baker for the cake and may even charge you a cake cutting fee.  

These things all need to be taken into consideration when you're choosing your venue and working within a budget.  

Another thing to consider would be the colour scheme of your wedding.  For example, if you choose turquoise and silver chosen as your colours, the venue’s colours may not compliment yours

All of these are very important when working with your style and theme of your wedding.

Visiting the venue

When you get a list of the venues together that may be a possibility, you will want to make sure you visit them more than once.  They need to feel right as well as have the right facilities.

Make your venue visits at different times of the day – for example at about the time the ceremony would be held and later for the reception itself. This will help you determine if the lighting and check that everything else is something you will be able to work with.  

For your second visit you will also want to meet with the key staff that may be involved in your event.  You will need to make sure that each of them are able to answer any questions you may have.  

The people who may want to meet include coordinators, managers and even the technical people controlling the music or slideshow at the reception. What audio equipment will they have available – built in speakers or a dukebox?

It certainly pays to do your research. You might also want to consider talking to other couples who have used the venue for their events, if you are able to. You could also try looking up photographers who have used the venue and ask them to view photos that were taken at the site.  

These kinds of things will give you an example to help you visualize how the event worked at that venue and help you determine if the place if right for you.

Requirements

Once you have narrowed down your venues, you will need to make sure you are able to meet all the requirements for the event.  

For example Are there any religious restrictions to using the venue for your ceremony? Some religions the ceremony be held at a particular location like a church. For inter-religion ceremonies, you will also need to make sure that there are no religious conflicts for a particular venue.  

Is your venue close by to your friends and family or out of town? If you’re planning a destination wedding or one that’s quite some distance from where most of your friends and family, are located then you need to consider accommodation as well.

Ready to book?

When you are ready to secure your venue, make sure you book as early as you can as they may require a contract and deposit.  If you are not exactly sure of the date but don’t want to miss out, check what flexibility the venue has to save a particular date and to let you know if someone else is also planning to book that date.

Your choice of venue makes up a big part of your wedding but carefully chosen, and chosen early you can make sure that you set the scene for a wonderful day that you and your guests will remember forever.

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