Choosing Your Wedding LocationTuesday, March 16, 2021
You've asked and we've answered! Welcome to your weekly column 'Planning Your Happily Ever After' with wedding consultant Shikima Hinds. Her focus this week: Location, location, location!
There are numerous factors to contemplate when planning your wedding. However, one decision you absolutely should not underestimate is selecting your wedding venue. Choosing your wedding venue is one of the biggest decisions you'll make during the planning process. Your wedding venue is one of the most critical elements of your wedding, as it forms the backdrop for your wedding photographs and becomes the place where memories of a lifetime will be created.
I suggest including the following items on your wedding search checklist:
Guest count & space
To choose your ideal wedding venue, you need to have an idea of the number of guests you want to invite, to establish the size space you require. Make sure the capacity fits your event. It sounds obvious, but when it comes to what you should look for in your wedding venue, this is so important. Make sure the room or space is large enough to accommodate the number of people on your guest list, especially in these times when social distancing is required. The location may look large when it's empty, but when all the essential wedding elements are in place — tables, chairs, a buffet, bar, the DJ set-up, the dance floor — will fill it quickly. There should be logical places within the venue where guests can eat, drink, mingle and dance. Try to envision where each activity would happen when you're standing in the space.
Privacy varies widely by the venue, as does the importance couples place on it. If you're having a daytime event in a public spot, large resort, beach or botanical garden, be prepared for strangers to trek past your party. If you want to host your wedding in a venue with complete privacy featuring just you and your guests, then you need to opt for a venue offering exclusive hire.
Your wedding theme & style
Your venue needs to match how you envision your wedding. If you're considering a certain theme and colour palette for your party, make sure the venue's existing décor doesn't clash with your vision. The walls, carpets, chairs and curtains shouldn't drastically conflict with your wedding's mood or theme unless you plan to disguise it with extra décor.
A view you like
Keep in mind that your venue will also serve as a backdrop to the events taking place, so you should consider the view. What will your guests see when they walk into the room? Whether it's your city skyline, a stunning view of the mountains or crashing waves on the beach, locations with exceptional views are always a hit. If there is no view, the architectural details will come into play.
Rates & budget
Find out the cost of the location rental and see if it fits in your budget.
Restrictions & facility extras
Does the venue list any major restrictions, such as a definite end time, décor limitations? What are the items included with the venue: A/V equipment, chairs, tables, linens, etc?
See if they have restrictions on catering, such as an in-house caterer or a preferred list of caterers you are required to work with. Would you prefer your venue to include catering as a part of their service or do you want to bring in your special caterer?
A back-up plan option
You might not even want to think about rain putting a damper on your outdoor wedding, but you can't look at venues without considering an alternative plan of action in case it rains.
Venues featuring on-site accommodation can be seen as a necessity, especially when hosting a wedding with a majority of guests not local to the area.
Once you begin shortlisting venues, availability needs to be high on your priority list. Some venues will have their most desired dates booked and as of 2020 postponements and cancellations have increased demand for popular dates.
I recommend a site visit, as it allows you to visualise the space. It allows you to take in the atmosphere whilst giving you a better idea of scale and space, plus you have the chance to speak to the people who will be organising your special day. Prepare for your site visit by taking a checklist and list of relevant questions you want to ask about things that you need to know and things to consider.
A quick tip before you begin: Take your time. Once you've chosen a location, then comes the fun part of making it your own.
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