How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Venue
— By Lydia Martin
15 October 2015
With dozens of beautiful wedding venues to choose from in Auckland, deciding where you will hold your once-in-a-lifetime event will likely be one of the most difficult decisions you and your partner will make during the entire wedding planning process. So this week we’ve compiled a list of the questions you need to ask before signing on the dotted line!
When brides and grooms start looking for wedding venues, all too often they fall in love with the beauty of a place and sign a contract before they've considered the more practical aspects of their big day. Of course, when you’re caught up in the moment, imagining how stunning everything will look, you don’t want to ask: "Is this practical"? But, unless the place is so wonderfully magical that you're willing to plan your whole event around it, you need to spend some time working out exactly what you need in your wedding venue.
Firstly, you shouldn’t choose a wedding venue until you've decided on approximately how many guests you're inviting and the size of your budget. Size and price will both have a significant bearing on your choice of venue. You also need to decide if you want to have your ceremony and reception at different locations, or if you want an all-in-one wedding venue.
Once you’ve made these decisions, it’s time to start making a list of wedding locations. Don’t be shy in asking for recommendations from a professional wedding planner, family, friends and colleagues, and make sure you take a look at Auckland Weddings list of premium venues. As soon as you have a few wedding venues in mind that fit your budget and size requirements, then it's time to start asking questions!
Everything You Need To Know
- Since environment and ambiance help set the tone of a wedding, ask yourself if the location will accommodate the mood you'd like to create. What's the decor like? Does it match you and your partner’s style and wedding colours? Will you have to spend a lot of money on flowers and decorations to make it look beautiful?
- Does the venue have an in-house caterer or restaurant, and do you like their food? How is it served? Do they have any limitations on which outside caterers you can use?
- Do they have adequate bathroom facilities for the number of guests you’re inviting? Is there a space for the bride and groom or any guests to change and/or relax just before the receptions starts?
- Is the wedding venue accessible for wheelchairs? You don’t want to make it difficult for any elderly relatives. If not, are there many stairs to climb? How close is the parking to the ceremony and reception rooms? Do they have disabled car parks?
- Before you sign any contract, you need to read it carefully. Is there a payment schedule? What kind of deposits are required? What is the cancellation policy?
- Are there any hidden costs? What are the overtime charges? Make sure you also ask about the venue hire fee, sound system fees, and corkage fees.
- Do they have a liquor license? Will they allow you to bring your own liquor? And if so, what is the corkage fee?
- Does the wedding venue already own a sound system with adequate speakers or will they need to be rented separately?
- Is there room in the wedding venue for a band and/or dancing?
- Who will be supervising and troubleshooting before and on the day of your wedding? Can you meet them well in advance of the wedding?
- Where can the guests park? Are they easily accessible or do they require guests to walk a long way? Are there extra fees for parking? Is valet parking available? Is the wedding venue close to public transport, especially if the wedding is taking place in the city? Roughly how long will it take your guests to get there?
- Especially in museums or private venues, are there any limitations on decorations? Are candles or other open flames allowed? Are food and drinks limited to only certain areas of the wedding venue?
- If you’re looking at an outdoor location, you need to consider the backup plans for rain or other severe weather. If there’s nothing indoors, is there a place where you can put up a tent?
Separate Ceremony & Reception Locations
- How far is it from the ceremony location to the reception venue? How long will it take to get there?
- Do the two places have the same level of formality and a similar style to suit your wedding themes and colours?
- Do they both accommodate roughly the same number of guests?
- Has the wedding reception venue had any previous experience with weddings from your ceremony location?
An All-in-one Venues
- Does the venue own enough chairs for the number of guests coming to your ceremony, or will they need to be hired?
- Does the wedding venue have an entirely separate area (either outdoors or indoors, such as a chapel) for the ceremony?
- Or will the venue staff and caterers transform the ceremony room into the dining room and/or dance floor. How long does it typically take for the staff to change over the room?