Engaged or have an inkling you might be heading down that path soon? Huzzah! Congrats. You’re seriously about to experience one of the best days of your life.
Weddings are awesome. At what other time do you get to gather all of your nearest and dearest, put on a massive party, and dance the night away? And it’s all in honour of the fact that you’ve partnered up with the most amazing person you know. It’s got to be the biggest win-win ever.
But. And we hate to have to mention a but.
Finding the place that all these celebrations are going to go down at can be seriously tricky. Trust us, we’ve been there. Hence why WedShed exists.
We decided to put together some tried-and-tested tips to help you find and choose your ideal wedding venue.
1. Set a tentative budget
Sorry to begin with a boring one but it has to be said. Your budget will probably shape the style of venue you’re working with. We use the word ‘tentative’ because as ladies who have gone down the wedding planning path before, we realise that despite all good intentions, wedding budgets have a tendency to stretch. Budget blow-out is apparently a contagious condition that affects 98% of brides, us included.
Nonetheless, it’s worth deciding what you’re happy to spend on a venue and trying to stick to it. When choosing a venue, keep in mind what’s included – do you still need to hire in tables and chairs? Extra portaloos? Don’t get caught out with surprise costs – ask the venue owner or manager exactly what additional items need to be brought to the venue to get a fully informed idea of the actual hire price.
2. Try to define where you want to get married
Keen to do a destination wedding? We don’t blame you. Plenty of couples are heading away for their nuptials and really giving the wedding thing a good nudge over a few days.
By narrowing down the regions that you’d be happy to get married at, you make the venue search much easier on yourself. Consider things like availability of accommodation, how far your guests will be willing to travel and how much it will cost them. Check on the region’s tourism website for major events that might mean there’s a shortage of beds for visitors and try avoid those dates.
Just remember, the more remote you are, the smaller the pool of local wedding vendors (e.g. celebrants, bands, florists, etc.) to choose from. That said, the majority of our amazing wedding vendors will happily travel to you, so no biggie.
3. Use Google creatively
A tip we use to dig up hard-to-find wedding venues is to enter a region name plus the word ‘wedding’ into Google (e.g. ‘Byron Bay + wedding’). Then, click on Google images and scroll through previous weddings that have taken place in the region. Often this will lead you to local wedding photographer’s blogs featuring celebrations held at exciting spaces you may never have found by doing a standard Google search.
4. Get pinning
Know exactly how you want your big day to look and have hundreds of pre-planned, amazing ideas ready to implement? Neither did we.
Get onto Pinterest, make yourself a ‘Wedding Planning’ board (set it to private if you’d prefer), and start searching for inspiration. Chances are you’ll stumble upon some cool venues along the way and help to define the type of venue you want. If you find yourself pinning hundreds of pictures of ocean-view ceremonies or barn-style receptions, listen to your subconscious and search for venues that fit these categories. Find and follow us on Pinterest while you’re at it.
5. Ask local wedding vendors for their advice
If you know where you want to get married but are struggling to find the right venue, why not ask some of the local wedding vendors? After all, they have first-hand experience working at many local wedding venues and might be able to suggest a few that you haven’t discovered.
(PS – you can find a bunch of wedding vendors Australia-wide here).
6. Get stalker-ish
Found a wedding venue you like? Let your inner-social-media-stalker out to play. Search online to find other weddings held at that venue – often these will link to the wedding photographer’s blog. Scroll through photos to see if there are any pictures showing a wedding hashtag that you can creep on via Instagram (often couples will chalk it onto a sign that ends up in the wedding photos). This way, you’ll get a more personal look at the venue through the eyes of a guest.
7. Be clear on what’s flexible at the venue
If you have your heart set on a particular caterer for your big day, there’s probably no point in viewing a venue that works with a preferred company only. Find out before you make time for a viewing what’s flexible. Are you allowed to work with your own vendors of choice? Can you DIY-style the venue space? Can you BYO alcohol or does it need to be purchased through the vendor? These are all things to consider when choosing your venue.
8. Prepare for your viewing
Chances are you’ll be viewing a few different venues before choosing ‘the one’. To avoid them all becoming one big blur, we’d suggest getting a little prepped before you go. We’ve put together a wedding viewings 101 guide with questions to consider and ask. Our biggest tip would be to take photos at the viewing – we sure wouldn’t be trusting our own memories to remember all the unique and beautiful elements of each venue.
9. Check out wedding blogs
Wedding blogs are an awesome source of inspo when it comes to finding wedding venues. Plus, the bonus thing is that they typically only feature beautiful weddings so you get to see venues in their full glory. A few we love are Hello May, Nouba and Hooray!.
10. *Self-promotion alert* Check out our collection of recommended WedShed venues
Ahem, we might be able to help too. Find unique wedding venues from right across Australia here on WedShed. Feel free to email us anytime too, as we might be able to make some extra suggestions if you had something specific in mind.