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10 Things To Think When Finding Your Perfect Wedding Venue

We booked our wedding date!

After weeks of trying to find our dream wedding location, negotiating prices, and visiting locations, we found the place we want to share our vows. We will be getting married at Long Reef Golf Club on the lawn by the beach, with our reception in the Golf Club overlooking the ocean.

But how did you know you've found the perfect place to get married?

1. Your Dreams

Close your eyes, and picture your wedding day. Where are you? Do you feel the ocean breeze in your hair, hear the echoing of the inside of a cathedral, or smell the pure air of the countryside?

From the start of our relationship we’ve always wanted to get married by the beach. We first fell in love at the beach.

Photo Credit: Long Reef Golf Club

2. Guest List

Before looking for a venue, make your wedding list. You need to figure out how many people you will need to fit in the space. Put people in three groupings based on importance of attendance: Must Attend, Maybe Attend, and Optional.

The “Must Attend” list is of course for the people most important to you that must attend your wedding or else it will feel incomplete. The “Maybe Attend” is for your friends, and relatives that you aren’t so close to nor obligated to invite but it would be nice having them there. Lastly, “Optional” is for partners of attendees, kids, acquaintances, distant relatives etc.

3. Venue Capacity

Now that you know how many people you want to invite you have an idea of the necessary venue capacity. For the wedding reception, how many guests need to be seated such as elder relatives? How many chairs are included in your package, and if more are needed, how much are extra chairs?

Photo Credit: Long Reef Golf Club

As for the reception, ask for floor plans with variations of table settings so you can see if the guests can fit comfortably in a certain way.

4. Logistics

How easy/hard is it for people to get there? Is it near public transport? Are there uber/lyft drivers in the area? How long will it take a taxi to reach there? Does it require a long commute?

5. Accomodation

The wedding party is usually covered in a deal with the venue for accomodation but what about everyone else? Is there adequate accomodation on the property? How far are the closest hotels/resorts/motels/airbnb’s? What is the nightly price range of the nearby accomodation? What are the reviews of these places?

If planning in advance, contact an appropriate hotel saying you are having a wedding in the area. Tell them that you are inviting X amount of people, and try negotiate a special price if X amount of people book at this hotel

6. Wedding Ceremony to Reception Proximity

Honestly, how close is your wedding ceremony venue to the reception venue? Try find a place that does both on the same property, or as close as possible. While your bridal party has the free ride, your guests need to come eat cake with you too!

Photo Credit: Long Reef Golf Club

7. Inclusive Packages

When I was looking I wanted a venue that provided good value all-inclusive packages that had the flexibility to alter the parts in the packages I wanted to use external contractors. For some brides they prefer to plan their wedding head to toe but I really wanted my wedding planning to be easy, and almost stress-free. It's supposed to be the happiest day of my life to date, and I know if I had to run around on my wedding day making sure every detail was perfect that I wouldn't enjoy it.

My tip is to find a venue that provides these all inclusive packages! Venues usually have special deals with their preferred contractors so you can get your flowers, cake, lighting, and more at a better price than you would if you planned it alone. The venues have been doing this for years, and have a great understanding of what works in their spaces so their packages reflect this. What you don't like, just ask them to swap for something else! Nothing is set in stone so negotiate!

8. Price

Of course everything has a price tag, especially when it comes to weddings. I swear, people just slap on "wedding/bridal" to a product name/service, and the fee skyrockets!

Find a venue that is within your budget, and if it's out of range, try negotiate pricing. For the package deal we organised, we're swapping out a few of the inclusions as we found alternative contractors which has brought down the price per person dramatically.

9. Lighting

You're going to want to have your wedding photos for your whole life so make sure they're something you'll look happily on! Most places use warm lights as it makes people hungrier but for our lighting we want LED lighting. To counteract their light fixtures, we'll be hiring professional lighting so every part of the wedding is a photo opportunity!

10. Is it really what you both want?

People generally say that weddings are for the bride. It's HER big day. But you gotta remember, it's his day too (or whatever sexual preference you have, it'll love after all).

Your partner's experience of your wedding, and the wedding preparations is an important consideration for all of this. Do they want you to spend this much money? Do they like the venue? Would they eat anything on the menu? Did they want to get married in a church, or at your special place?

If weddings are the first day of your new life together, remember to make their's as special as yours.

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