What to look for in a wedding venue

Your wedding venue sets the tone for your big day. Before you can send out ‘save the date’ cards, hire vendors or even accurately plan your budget, you need to decide where you’re getting married.

Whether the area you have in mind has five or fifty possible venues, the same decision-making dilemmas tend to arise. The venue not only has to tick all your logistical and aesthetic boxes, but also be run by people you can trust throughout the planning process. 

Good wedding venues book up fast, especially during popular seasons like autumn, spring and summer. Understanding what to look for in a wedding venue can help save you time, money and make it easy to recognise your dream place when you see it. 

Keep reading for tips and tricks for choosing the right place to say ‘I do’. 

Check availability early 

Most engaged couples book their wedding venue around six to twelve months in advance. This means venues you’re interested in may already be booked out during the entire month, or even year, you and your partner have set your sights on. Save yourselves from disappointment by asking potential wedding venues about their availability before booking a tour.

If they’re not available when you hoped, have a conversation between the two of you about whether you’re willing to move your wedding date for the right place. If you are, go ahead and book that tour! 

Define your price range

Your venue will likely take the biggest chunk out of your wedding budget. Decide on an amount you’d ideally want to spend on a venue – this is the goal price to look out for. Then, determine the absolute maximum you would spend on a venue – this is the absolute most you can spend without having to sacrifice another element of your wedding (like a dress or rings) that’s really important to you. 

By defining your price range before browsing venues, you can feel prepared to walk away from places that stretch your budget too much.

Read the fine print 

Before signing on the dotted line with a wedding venue, do a deep dive on what exactly you’re paying for. Many wedding venues have ongoing contracts with vendors that’s included in your price. Figure out if your money is solely going towards use of the space. Or, if you’re also paying for extras such as:

  • Caterers and waitstaff
  • Back-up tent or space in case of rain 
  • Furniture and decor
  • Tech support and equipment 
  • Set up and pack down

Once you’ve determined what is and isn’t included in a venue, outline the total cost of your wedding if you choose it. You can do this by requesting a wedding package from the venue and creating a budget using a spreadsheet. Or, speed up the process with an app like Let’s Predict It. We use a predictive formula to estimate the total cost of your wedding based on your wedding venue costs and number of guests. Based on the total predicted cost, you can make a final decision on whether or not a wedding venue is ‘the one’. 

Map it out

Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of a sun-kissed wedding on a secluded beach. Or, maybe you want the cosmopolitan glitz of an inner-city ceremony. Based on your dream wedding aesthetic, make a list of areas you can see yourself getting married in. 

Narrow down this list by considering the convenience of those areas. Where you get married is completely your choice. However, it’s important to keep in mind that certain locations may make it difficult for guests to attend. For example, make sure there’s ample accommodation and transport options nearby.  

Listen to your heart

Your wedding day celebrates a lifetime of love, so it’s important it takes place somewhere that feels right for you and your partner. Sometimes a wedding venue can look perfect on paper but fall short of your expectations in person. When this happens, continue your search knowing you’re one step closer to the wedding venue of your dreams.