Soon after a couple gets engaged not only do they get endless messages of “congrats”, but this is followed by the inevitable questions of WHEN and WHERE? The answers to the when and where are not always as straightforward for the couple as they may like it to be. Gone are the days where you would choose a simple venue in the local town. Nowadays, couples look for elegance, scenic large grounds, and a venue that is different and unusual. Since the number of wedding venue options are infinite now, couples need to do their research and consider a number of questions before they make their final decision.

DATE OF EVENT

If you have decided on a specific date and it is set in stone, check the availability before you visit a venue or any other supplier. If you’re flexible about the day of the week, month, season, or even the year of your wedding you’ll have a much wider choice of venues.

GUESTLIST

While it may take some time to send out invitations and wait for the RSVP’s to come back, it is important to have a rough idea of how many guests you are expecting. When speaking to potential venues, after asking you the date of the event, the next question will be how many guests will you have? Having a rough idea of your wedding size will allow you to cross-venues off your list without having to go look at them in person. This will not only save time but avoid the disappointment of visiting a beautiful wedding venue only to find out it is too big/small for your wedding.

Deciding how many guests you want to invite is crucial when evaluating wedding venues and you may have to pay per person as part of the hire charges. Also consider practicalities like being able to change numbers, whether the venue is suitable for younger and older guests and disabled access.

YOUR BUDGET

Working out a budget early on will help you to shortlist potential wedding venues. But whatever, you’re budget, with the right planning, you can find a venue to make your day unforgettable.

LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION

Location is a key factor in determining your choice of venue. Choosing a venue where your guests have to travel miles or even book a hotel room may not be so appealing so ensure that your venue is in a reasonable location depending on where your guests are traveling. Weddings are usually made up of two parts the official ceremony (whether in a church/temple/licensed registry) and the reception. If you are looking for two different locations, then transport for all your guests between the two must be considered. It’s also important to consider how far your guests will need to travel to your wedding venue and if this is a viable option for the majority of them.

Deciding what type of ceremony you would like will highlight the area in which you should look for a wedding venue, as your wedding reception venue should ideally be within a 20 – 25 minute radius of the church/temple. If you want to avoid incurring expensive taxi charges and hotel bills for them or coach costs for you, look for a wedding venue near to where the majority of your guests live.

If you are on a tight budget then it is worth noting, many wedding venues are licensed to conduct civil ceremonies, which will minimize the amount of traveling involved and may help to keep overall hire costs down.

TYPE OF VENUE

There are so many types of venues to choose form. This will all depend on your personal preference, number of guests, budget, theme etc. Stately homes, palaces, historic venues and luxurious hotels are all popular options as they provide a once in a lifetime experience. However, you may prefer a marquee reception for a summer wedding or even a restaurant, sports club, school, sporting ground or garden for your wedding venue.

LAYOUT & FACILITIES

There should be logical places within the venue where guests can eat, drink, talk, and dance. When you’re standing in the space, try to envision where each activity would happen (especially if your ceremony will be there). Also, note the locations of columns or other obstructions in the room — will they block people’s views of the dance floor or the cake table where the best man will give a toast? Is there space for children to play and wonder? Are there baby changing facilities? Disabled access?

Do not assume the venue will allow you to have rooms/areas for free. If required, will there be a changing room area for the bride/guests to change? It is important to confirm use of the different rooms is included in the price.

CAR PARK

Make sure there is ample parking for guests. An onsite free car park it ideal, otherwise ensure that the venue is near a good parking lot or big, empty (safe) street/s where it’s legal to park.

If parking is a problem, look for other ways to get everyone to the party. While, insufficient parking will not be a deal breaker, it will mean that more time and money is spent on finding a viable vehicular alternative as guests may need to be transported from the ceremony to the reception.

THEMING

Is the venue a large simple open space, which sets for a blank canvas that can be creatively transformed by adding dramatic lighting, carpeting, draping and props, into almost anything you want. If you have a particular theme in mind then this type of venue is ideal. Tented receptions are a good option because they are blank canvases, which have a lot of scope to set of your imagination making anything possible.

Alternatively, you will find venues that are set in beautiful acres of greeny or picturesque views, which do not require money to be spent on lavish decorations and props.

Another point to think about is your photographs. Photos of your big day will be treasured for many years, so your chosen wedding venue should provide a wonderful backdrop. If you have a particular theme, you may want to pick out key spots and backdrops for your photos. Popular options include landscaped gardens, seaside locations and historic houses.

THE PACKAGE

Some venues will have “preferred suppliers”, such as caterers, Dj’s, etc. which means you will be restricted to use vendors who you may already have chosen. Remember that no matter how beautifully decorated the venue might be, catering is also very important. Make sure that you don’t fall for a venue, without scrutinizing and tasting the menu (read our article on choosing the right caterer)

This type of venue usually offers everything from table and chair to linens and catering supplies, and can sometimes work out as a cheaper option and also less planning for you. While other venues will have a set hire charge, giving you the flexibility to book everything else. With each venue it is important to confirm what is and what is not included.

SOUND SYSTEM

If the venue is a big open space the sound may be too echoed, it could give some reverberations to the band/DJ, not to mention make it difficult for guests to hear one another talking. A tile or wood floor, for example, will amplify sounds, while a thick carpet will tend to muffle them. Check out the room’s sound quality during an event. And tailor your music/entertainment to the acoustic conditions.

LIGHTING

Light can make — or break — the mood and the venue space. If you’re marrying during the day, make sure your hall has plenty of windows. Your guests will not want to spend their afternoon in a dark room when the sun is shining? If it’s an evening affair, make sure the room’s not too dim, or that the lighting can be controlled for the big entrance, dinner, and dancing. If you’re marrying outdoors, say, at dusk, will you be able to set up candles if necessary?

It is advisable to visit the site at the same time of day that you’ve chosen for your wedding. Even if the space looks romantic by candlelight, the sight of that 20-year-old carpet may surprise you during the day. You’ll also miss a chance to see how sunlight streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows completely transforms the room, if you only check it out in the evening.

There are a lot of big and small issues that need to be ironed out with your potential venue. Decide what key features are absolutely necessary for your big day (Catering? Setting?), and which ones you can compromise on.

Below, is a list of some of the questions you should be discussing with the Events Managers at your chosen venue/s and REMEMBER ensure that everything you have agreed on is confirmed in writing:

Is your venue available on the required date?

How many people can you accommodate?

Is your venue licensed to carry out civil weddings?

Will ours be the only wedding at your venue on our wedding day?

Is there enough parking for my guests and is it complimentary?

Do you have a noise limiter fitted or can we turn the music all the way up?

Do you allow candles to be lit in the reception room?

Who will actually be here on the day? Is there an in-house wedding coordinator? If there is a coordinator, will they be there for the duration of the reception?

Can the bridal party get ready at the venue?

Is the venue child friendly? What facilities are available for entertaining children?

Is there a lift/facilities/access for the elderly and disabled?

How many toilets are there? Will there be staff on duty to check and clean the toilets regularly throughout the event?

Is there somewhere secure to store wedding gifts?

Does the venue have public liability insurance?

Is there a payment schedule? What kind of deposits are required?

What’s the cancellation policy? What costs are incurred if the numbers on the day differs to the final numbers?

Are discounts/packages dependent on certain numbers of guests booking? accommodation?

Are there special reductions for off-peak (e.g. Mon – Thurs or Oct, Nov, Jan– March)?

What’s the last possible date that we can make changes?

AND FINALLY – CORKAGE

What is your pricing for alcohol?

Will you allow us to bring our own liquor? If so, is there a corkage fee?

Are there any consequences for not fulfilling the food and beverage minimum? Is the champagne toast complimentary?

Are there any additional charges for bar staff/waiting staff?

Whatever your type of venue, budget, location we are here to help. All we require if for you to enter your details and requirements then you can sit back while we find you the best and most suitable options for you. It’s that simple – http://clicknplan.com/plan_event_form/