1. Location – This sounds obvious but location can be really hard, just like a destination wedding this can limit family and friends who can afford to attend. Think about where your family and friends are coming from, will they require accommodation in order to come, if so is options onsite, motels or caravan parks nearby? If the majority of
your family and friends will require accommodation do some leg work and check out the accommodation and include these in your invitations or even approach one to see if they can offer your guests a discount.
Another thing to consider about location is it easy to find, remember great grandma and grandpa might like to attended and can still drive but can they find it without a GPS?
2. Distance – If your not having your ceremony at the same location as your reception you need to consider can your guests get between the two easily. If your not remember to allow enough time for your guests to get between the two locations with traffic or bad weather. Its also great if there is something for them to do between your ceremony and reception, if its separate venues a pub on routine or nearby is great to grab a drink and refresh otherwise speak to your venue about pre reception options.
3. Size – Size can be a BIG factor; all function centres will have a maximum number who can fit comfortably within their room. This could also affect your choice of tables quantity and style (round or long) or if you are able to have a sit down meal or just finger food with tables scattered.
If your planning on having a large wedding remember to check they can fit you all before you get your heart set on the venue, a lot of venues include this on their website so its great to check before that you simply can’t all fit in.
4. Availability – When it comes to wedding planning the sooner is ALWAYS the better!
You should try book most, if not all your vendors, at least 1 year in advance to ensure you get the one you want on the day you want. Peak wedding periods differ depending on the service they provide but are usually between October and March so keep this in mind and book early.
Many venues will offer discounts for winter weddings and/or weekday weddings so keep this in mind as a possibility if you are booking in a short time period.
5. Theme/Style – Each venue has a different personality “dressing” their room/s so although there are 3 venues on the same street doesn’t mean they are the same internally, you might find a rustic venue next to coastal themed venue, so be sure to check out the inside of a venue before crossing it off your list.
6. Facilities – Apart from a room what else does this venue have on site. Do you have to supply your own caterer? Does this caterer need to bring its own “kitchen”? Do you have to walk down a wobbly old brick path to reach the restroom.
Remember its most likely dusk/evening at your reception time so are any outdoor facilities going to be lit enough to enjoy or find them?
7. Price and inclusions – We believe these two items go hand in hand as the price might fit your budget but if its only room you also need to consider the other items for your reception – caterer, chair covers, DJ and MC, decorations, flowers and cake to list a few.
Can you have you ceremony on their property too?
8. Weather – This one is hard to pre plan but worth considering especially if your venue is a marque or you decided on your venue because of the view. What will you do for rain? If the fog/sun blocks the view you wanted the venue for?
If you’ve planned far enough ahead go to the venue during the chosen season and approx. time you plan on being there. See where the sun is? See if it’s really windy? Do the trees nearby cover the grass with dead foliage?
Once you’ve decided on a few go for inspections, go several times if need be, take your time asking questions and looking around. Its great if you can take some people with you, a bridesmaid or your mum to help you decide and possibly consider questions you might not have thought about.