Choosing where you’ll get married is usually the first, and one of the most important wedding decisions you’ll make. Before you start visiting venues and begin making your way to the numerous possibilities, here are some suggestions to assist with narrowing your search:

Deciding on your budget and number of guests before venturing out will avoid wasting time visiting venues that might not be viable. It’s important to find out what is included in the hire and the cost per person. Many venues will have a rate to hire the reception hall and charge per head for catering, while others may give an all-inclusive figure, incorporating the venue, catering and various services into a cost per person. Most often, the venue hire includes the use of tables, chairs, basic linen, cutlery and crockery. Some may include the use of specialised chairs or even a limited selection of décor. Don’t be shy to find out these details up front, as it will avoid unnecessary disappointment when extras are added after you have paid a deposit.

An important aspect to keep in mind is the inclusion of a chapel. Most venues will have a chapel nearby, if not on the property, and this may add additional costs. If the venue does not have a chapel, you could erect a marquee or tent on the same property – just make sure that the venue will allow this. The setting might be ideal for a garden or outdoor ceremony but remember that you cannot control the weather and you’ll need to have an alternate option.

The type of venue should be chosen based on the atmosphere and style you desire your wedding to have. Whether informal, elegant, formal or opulent, it should reflect your personalities as a couple. When choosing the setting and location for your wedding, remember that this is about having your friends and family in one place to celebrate with you, so consider practicalities versus making a statement in pursuit of being unique. If your reception is more than an hour away and your guests cannot easily return home, you will also need to consider whether there is enough accommodation on the premises, or close by. At this point, your wedding becomes a ‘destination wedding’ and available entertainment for the weekend should be considered. Be aware of how long in advance you may have to book your venue, and at what time of year it will be so that weather conditions can be taken into account.

The level of service you receive when being shown around a venue is usually indicative of what to expect on the day. Most venues will have staff on hand to show you around and answer questions but it’s advisable to make appointments to ensure they are available. Once you have booked, most venues are happy for you to make appointments throughout your planning to discuss details or questions you may have. Keep in mind that it is generally easier to do this with your venue co-ordinator telephonically or via email. After your first viewing, it’s natural to want to take respective families to see the venue and though it might not be necessary to have a meeting with the venue staff at this point, it’s a good idea to let them know you are coming so they can assist with questions the family may have, especially about finances when parents are footing the bill! Menu decisions and finer details regarding décor etc can also be discussed telephonically but it’s a good idea to meet with your specialists (particularly with your décor supplier and florist) at the venue at least once closer to the day, to ensure you are all on the same page. Once everything is finalised, you’ll probably want to visit the venue often but keep in mind that the venues are very busy with other functions and will appreciate you being respectful of their time as well as their other brides.

To help narrow your choices, use the ‘Venue Finder’ tool on the landing page of our website or download the WedPlan’ App which is available on Apple or Android devices. You will find information for a wide range of wedding venues at your fingertips, but remember that there’s nothing like actually seeing the venue to get the right impression.

To find details and costs of our recommended venues, click here.

We wish you loads of fun as you set out to find your dream venue.