Couples typically spend between $100 to $200 per guest with their marriage and wedding reception venue.
It’s a very expensive experience.
Be aware that no wedding venue is perfect, and you should be aware of the compromises you are making.
Let’s assume you are choosing a wedding venue which offers a marriage location on-site, as well as the location for the party afterwards.
Having both events in the one location is by far the best option.
Choosing an outside location is the subject of another blog.
Wedding venue sales staff are very keen to sell you their venue. One of the things that they will tell you is that they do many weddings at their venue. The fact that they do many weddings does not actually mean that their venue is that good. It can just mean that they are good at selling their services.
Some wedding venues are staffed by super helpful, motivated people, who know their jobs, but some are woeful.
Some venues are in the habit of taking your booking and letting you find out what the problems are afterwards, in which case you must spend your way out of the problems you come across. Be sure to ask the venue before you book:
- What happens if the sun comes out and the temperature hits 40 degrees. What shade do you provide? Under a big tree is lovely. No shade on a hot day can be terrible for all concerned.
- If it pours with rain what’s your wet weather option? Do you have an inside option? A big tree is a problem after big rain as it will drip stuff all over everybody. Also, even when the rain stops, the ground can be very wet and ruin guest’s shoes.
- For the bridal entrance, how far do I have to walk? If you have to walk for 200 metres in full view, it’s not a great look. It’s much nicer if you appear from behind some cover near to the beginning of the aisle.
- How public is the space which you are renting to us? Some venues will give you only part of the available space.
- Some wedding venues that do lunches and afternoon teas, close the venue until they have reset the venue. They don’t allow anybody to enter until they are ready.
- That’s quite reasonable, but be aware that if your guests have just driven a long distance they will need bathroom facilities. Make sure that your guests won’t be marooned outside the wedding venue with crossed legs, getting grumpy.
- Once your guests have arrived on site, they do not like having to drive between your marriage venue to your reception venue – so it’s good to have everything it the same place.
- Do you have accommodation on site? It is very relaxing for the bridal party, more fun if the bridal party can stay overnight, get prepared on site, and don’t have to travel, just walk to the marriage site. This will save you the expense of wedding cars.
- Is the dance floor contained within, or separate from the dining area? It is much better to have the dancing in full view of the dining area – leading to a more energised party.
- What infrastructure do you provide? Some wedding venues don’t provide any seats and don’t dress the area. You will have to bring in a hire company and a florist, a very significant additional expense, and organise it yourselves. If you dress it yourself, who is going to undress it before the venue opens for business the next day? Not you I hope.
- You don’t need to provide seating for all your guests. It’s essential to have two rows of seats to define the stage, so to speak. For a wedding list of 150 you’ll need 50 chairs. Some venues put out so many chairs that it looks like and open-air church, and the people at the back can hardly see what’s going on.
- Be very careful about extras. Some venues have a basic price, and sting you with all the extras you’ll find you need. Some venues include everything in the price they quote you.
- Ask the venue if they have an inbuilt sound system (speakers in the ceiling) in the restaurant where you are holding your reception. Some venues do not have such systems and that’s why you must employ a DJ so that you can have speeches and music for dancing. This can be a significant expense.
- Don’t worry about a sound system for your marriage celebrant. Every professional celebrant has their own sound system.
- Some couples don’t want to employ a DJ and just play their music out of their iPad. If the venue does not have a sound system that means you will have to hire a sound system for an additional expense and that’s one more thing to organise. If you intend to play your own music, ask the venue to show you where you connect your iPad. (One well known, expensive, Sydney venue has a lead coming out from under the coffee machine.)
You can see that there is more to this than meets the eye.
Don’t take the venue’s word for it. Consult a professional marriage celebrant about your wedding venue, and a professional MC about your reception. You won’t regret seeking their advice.
Your wedding is one of the biggest emotional and financial investments you will ever make. If you want to make it a stand out success, give me a call.
I love my job and I’d love to hear from you.
I am a full-time professional celebrant. If you are looking for a ceremony that is different from the ordinary, and actually miles better, then choose me.
Allow me to maximise your enjoyment and minimise your stress.
VOW TO WOW! COMMIT TO A FUN, RELAXED AND FABULOUS MARRIAGE CEREMONY.