Booking a wedding venue is often the first task to check off on a long list of your wedding planning.
In many ways, it’s the most critical decision of the wedding planning process because it sets the tone for the whole celebration and helps establish a theme, colour scheme and guest list size.
While it can be stressful choosing a venue, it’s good to get the most significant decision over with soon after you become engaged so you can enjoy the rest of the planning journey.
Picking a venue sets the foundation for your entire wedding; so, no pressure! The property you choose will influence the overall feel of your wedding and be one of the most significant impacts on your bottom line. At Brighton Savoy, we have compiled a list of the Best Photobooth Hires in Melbourne to help you choose who captures your magical day.
Start by checking out our list of top venues and, once you find a few favourites in your area, start scheduling appointments to see the spaces in person.
Crucial Things To Consider Before Booking A Wedding Venue
Think you’ve already found the venue of your dreams? Here are a few crucial things to consider before you sign a contract:
Time of the Ceremony, Cocktail Hour, and Reception.
This especially is important if you’re having a church ceremony.
Most will only offer an early mass/ceremony time which will sometimes leave a 3-hour gap between ceremony and cocktail hour.
This is why it’s essential to start thinking about your wedding day timeline early on!
The Time You Want Your Event to End.
Many couples want to have their reception last until after 10:00 pm, but there could be some limitations preventing that from happening.
For example: If the venue only allows for a 5-hour open bar, and you want a 4:00 ceremony followed by a 4:30 cocktail hour, that means your event will have to close the bar no later than 9:30.
If you wanted the party to end later, you would then need to reconsider your ceremony time.
BUT if you had a later ceremony time, the lighting may change with the photography schedule if you wanted to have those gorgeous natural lighted portraits of you and your partner, either stick to the 4:30 ceremony time and have an after-party or do a first look.
What’s Your ‘Type’?
Some brides-to-be will be able to picture their wedding venue before they’ve even seen it, while others will need a bit more guidance.
Castles, stately homes and marquees all offer food for thought, as do hotels that provide a blank canvas and an accommodating set-up that provides comfort and convenience.
Whatever your thoughts, the choice is yours, and your venue should reflect precisely what you want out of a wedding.
What’s The Capacity?
This is perhaps the most critical question to consider when venue shopping. If you envision a large wedding, then a small, intimate restaurant venue probably isn’t for you.
Even though you might not know your exact guest list, you’ll want to leave some wiggle room for plus-ones and people you may have forgotten.
The space capacity sets the tone for the entire event, so you’ll want to make sure you choose a venue that isn’t too big or too small for the number of guests you’re inviting.
What’s the Vibe of This Space?
Is it upscale? Modern? Rustic? Cozy?
Please pay attention to the feelings you get when you enter the space for the first time because this is how your guests will feel when they walk into your wedding.
If you want your guests to feel comfortable and at home, maybe a rustic lodge setting would be best.
On the other hand, if you want your guests to be dazzled and wowed by the luxury of your celebration, then maybe an ultra-upscale hotel wedding is for you.
Whatever the vibe you’re going for, make sure the venue you choose mirrors the intention.
Consider the Setting
Play to the strengths of your venue by incorporating its setting into your theme. For example, if you’re looking for a coastal location, a seaside venue could be the perfect place – taking it one step further with a marine theme and nautical colour scheme.
Check Out the Packages
All wedding venues will have a host of wedding packages to choose from, which can usually be tailored to the wants and needs of each couple.
Pricing should be transparent and communicated to you from the outset, so make sure you’re clear on this before you book.
Before you book a venue, you’ll want to sit down with the property’s wedding coordinator and make detailed notes about everything a standard package includes, so you can decide what you need and what you don’t.
Are the catering and staff included? Are there extra fees for cake-cutting, corkage and clean-up? Make sure you’re clear about exactly what you’re paying for.
Is This Within My Budget?
If you’ve already set out a clear budget for your wedding, and the venue accounts for over 50 per cent of it, then it could be out of your range.
When you set out a budget, make sure you figure out how much of it you’re willing to spend on a venue and how much you want to set aside for other things like flowers, a dress, etc.
If the venue is the most crucial aspect of your wedding for you and your groom, then it could be worth the splurge–but the key is to make sure you know this from the get-go.
Meet the team
Most venues offer a dedicated events coordinator or wedding planner to help you arrange all aspects of your big day.
Ask to meet these team members in the initial meeting to be sure that you are going to get on.
Sample the Menu
Tasting sessions are usually offered to couples once the venue has been booked, but you should be able to gauge an idea of the standard of food from the wedding menu.
If you want to test out the talents of the in-house team, visit the venue’s restaurant (if it has one) to give a good indication of how your menu will taste on the day.
Request the Rule Book
Check that the venue has the correct licensing to host a bar and live music in the evening.
It is also worth asking what time the bar can stay open and the live music can remain playing to ensure that you are entirely in the know when guests pose the question.
If a wedding planning team is in place, they will usually help you with venue styling and décor suggestions.
Alternatively, if they don’t, you will know to bring in extra recruits to help you set up – remember to check how far in advance you can begin decorating.
Take a Tour
Don’t just restrict yourself to the ceremony and reception rooms; look at the entire venue.
Even if you aren’t using any additional rooms, gardens or accommodation, it will give you a more well-rounded view of the venue and exactly what is on offer.
And don’t forget to see the bridal suite.
Don’t Act on Impulse.
When visiting the venue, you don’t have to decide there and then.
Give yourself some time to think about it and digest all the information before you rush in; just don’t let the opportunity slip away by sitting on it for too long.
The deal clincher; read up on reviews before saying “I do” to your chosen venue.
None will give a more honest and reliable account than the brides who have been there and done it themselves.
How Many Guests You Want to Have.
Tell your venue how many guests you plan on inviting.
Be sure that the venue can fit every guest on your list because the 80/20 rule of RSVPs has quickly become an old wives tale, and it’s likely that more than 80% of your guest list will come to your wedding.
Always overestimate so that you aren’t in a pickle when the final RSVPs come in.
One thing you want to consider before booking a venue is transportation options for your guests.
If the venue is two hours out of town, will you provide some shuttle service for your friends and family? And where will they sleep when the night is finished? Here at Brighton Savoy, we have compiled an exclusive list of Wedding Photo Locations in Melbourne to help you decide on your special day.
These are all critical things to consider because you don’t want to leave any of your guests stranded at the end of the night!
Getting a Deal for a Particular Day? Ask Why.
If you are offered a “deal” for a particular day, ask why. Don’t just consider the discount as a gift- there is always an underlying reason.
Case in point: We have seen venues that offer a Sunday brunch to their members and book brides for a Sunday event date by saying they will get a discount.
They fail to highlight that they cannot get into the venue until after their members leave, which is around 2:30 pm.
The venue (and sunset) also mandate that the ceremony be set for 4:30 because they only provide a five-hour rental period, so the farewell is 9:30.
Doing things ensures their staff won’t have a late-night and can prepare for an early Monday morning.
That bride is going to have to hire pros to set up her wedding in that 2-hour window of time and keep her fingers crossed that it’s enough!
Tips to Consider Before Booking Your Venue
Go With Your Gut
We would say the most important thing to consider is trust! Trust your instincts about the venue, from the space to the team you will be working with.
Your Budget Should Drive the Decision
Budget is perhaps the most important thing any couple should consider before selecting a venue-or even beginning the planning process.
Budget dictates almost every aspect of a wedding, which is especially true in selecting a venue.
While it’s easy to dream big, couples are often surprised how quickly costs add up.
Take Into Account the “tone” Your Venue Will Set.
When choosing a venue, there is one key factor that brides and grooms need to consider: the tone of the space.
When a guest reads the venue’s name on an invitation, it speaks volumes about both the couple and the mood one can expect to experience.
Space should serve as a reflection of both the bride and groom’s lifestyles, interests, and personal tastes.
Pay Attention to the Details
The details! Of course, you want to choose a beautiful, comfortable, and accessible venue, but some media have hidden hurdles that can make logistics a nightmare.
On the flip side, when a venue has thought through every detail, you can be more confident and focus on enjoying the celebration.
Think About Your Guests
At some point in our lives, most of us have envisioned the ‘where’ and the ‘how’ we wanted to experience our special day.
But not only do we need to consider ourselves but the logistics of many guests and family members that will travel many miles to witness and support you on your new adventure as husband and wife.
Venues are not the only aspect that should be considered when making final decisions but climate, accessibility, transportation, required travel documents, and safety of the guests.
Know the Real Costs
If you are looking at a raw space, couples need to have a real grasp of how much it will cost to bring everything in.
The last thing you want to do is blow your budget on a beautiful venue and then have to scrimp everywhere else.
Calling desirable vendors and making sure everything fits within their budget is essential before booking.
Get to Know the Team Behind the Venue
The most important thing that a couple should consider when choosing a venue is if they are comfortable with space and those with whom they will be working on planning their wedding.
There should be a sense of calm and happiness within the venue brought forth by the space and aesthetic and those who will be their point of contact.
Finding this extraordinary relationship will make for a much smoother planning process.
Prioritise What Matters
Before deciding on a venue, a couple should determine and rank what is most important to them for their wedding day.
For example, if a couple values a fantastic dance party, make sure the venue doesn’t have noise or end-time restrictions.
If a couple values food and drink, the venue must have excellent food, a fully stocked bar, and well-versed bartenders/mixologists.
If a couple of values getting married outside, ensure the venue has a beautiful outdoor ceremony option.
The Property Matters as Much as the Location
One of the most exciting decisions a couple makes when getting married is selecting the destination, but that is only a part of the first step.
It’s also about finding a quality venue in that location that makes the ultimate difference.
The proper venue and the team behind it can make your vision come true-creating an event that not only shows off your personality but also presents memorable experiences for guests that extend beyond the ‘I do’s.’
Service Is Key
The couple should love how they feel when they walk in. However, they should also think about what they want their guests to take away from experience the night of the wedding.
Consider the guest-to-staff ratio because, in the end, it’s all about the service, food, beverages, and of course, the music.
Know What’s Included in the Price
The couple needs to think about the budget when choosing a venue and research what is included with each platform they are interested in.
Every property is different. This will lay the groundwork for the rest of their planning for whether the process will be as enjoyable and stress-free as possible or hardship as expenses start to take over any excitement that should come with planning your wedding.
Be True to Who You Are as a Couple
“Ensure that the venue you select embodies your combined vision and is an accurate representation of who you both are.
Of course, you want to be sure that the venue will provide you with a seamless experience, but most importantly, never lose sight of the foundation of the evening: the coming together of two individuals.
Opt for Unique Features
Every venue has and offers unique features. Find a platform whose features suit you as a couple. Check out our extensive list of Wedding Photographers in Melbourne to help capture your special moments.
For example, if you love the outdoors, select a venue that has expansive outdoor landscapes or if you have exceptional food you love, find a platform that features that!