Things to Know: Wedding Venues

Where you host your wedding is one of the most important decisions you will have to make throughout your planning process. It's where you're likely to spend the most money on and rightly so - its where you and your guests will spend the most time. 
So how do you even begin the arduous task of choosing a venue? The best (and wisest) thing to do would be to first decide on a budget of how much your are willing to spend and to stick to it. The budget can be an overall total amount including venue hire and catering, or you can separate these two expenses out. With an idea of budget in place, a lot of venue options will become excluded from your list.

To further cut your venue list down, decide upfront as to what kind of venue (and wedding) you would like. Would you like an outdoor country wedding? Or are you more of a city venue kinda girl? Maybe you want a beach wedding or maybe your adore the rustic flare of a bush wedding. Deciding these kinds of details upfront will cut down your list of venues by a lot and give you a narrower list to work from. 
Once you have decided on your venue aesthetic and your budget, writing a list of non-negotiables will really seal the deal about which venue is best for you. 

Here are a few things to consider: 

1. Does the venue come with an indoor and/or outdoor chapel?
Most ceremonies take place on the same property as the reception, so be sure to check that this is an option for your wedding. If there is no chapel available, be prepared to find a church nearby! 
2. Is there a contingency plan for rain? 
This is sometimes overlooked by brides - make sure the venue not only has a plan, but that it's one that you are satisfied. 
3. Are you paying for just the venue hire or does it include catering? 
Most venues will charge a minimal hiring fee and then charge a catering price per head. The menus are often flexible so don't be afraid to ask for alternative options. Remember to enquire about corkage fees. 
4. Does your venue package include a honeymoon suite? 
This is a great added bonus as the bride can get ready in the room during the day and you can party through the night and not have to drive anywhere afterwards.
5. Do they offer accommodation for your guests? 
If your venue is more than an hours drive for your guests, chances are they will want to stay over for the night. Find out if your venue offers accommodation and if it is at a discounted price. It will also be a good idea to scope the area of your venue for adequate accommodation nearby. 
6. Find out if the venue has a required closing time for the reception. 
Most venues will close at 12.00am and charge an hourly rate after that. Some may insist on closing at a certain time. 
7. Does the venue hire include chair, table, cutlery and crockery hire? 
While most venues do include this in their fee, it's always better to ask. You don't want to have a nasty surprise when you are charged for every item under the sun. 
8. Wedding Planner 
Most venues offer an on-site co-ordinator that will ensure the smooth running of your big day. A huge bonus to any venue. 
9. Check out the facilities and size 
Will it be a comfortable size for your number of guests? Are the bathrooms adequate and is it wheelchair friendly? Is there space for children (if you are having children at your wedding). 
10. Limitations 
Some venues will have limitations on what decor elements you are allowed for your day. Some may only allow biodegradable confetti (i.e rose petals) and some may even ban candle use. Find this out before hand. 
Choosing a venue can be daunting, but at the end of the day with the right boxes checked and a with good feeling about the place, you'll find it in no time at all! Stay in touch for a comprehensive wedding venue checklist that we'll be making especially for our Ruby readers - carry this list around with you and you'll know pretty soon if the venue you're looking at is the one!

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