Tips for Choosing Your Ideal Wedding Venue:
Often the first decision you will make in the planning process, the venue sets the tone for your wedding day. Selecting a space that captures your heart while serving the needs of your wedding vision is a daunting process, especially with modern wedding trends bringing venues never previously considered for weddings to the forefront. After photographing more than 100 weddings in the province of Ontario and seeing venues of all sizes and themes, I have compiled my favourite considerations to aid in your search for the perfect location to host your dream day.
1. Consider the overall theme of your wedding day. Are you looking for the rustic charm of the countryside? A chic ballroom done up with glitz and glam? A spacious golf course?
2. Are you willing to think outside-the-box and go with a less traditional venue, or do you prefer something more mainstream? Established venues come with the benefits of experienced staff and often include rentals of tables, chairs or decorations that make planning your day much easier. Considering a more abstract location may require more effort to bring a wedding atmosphere, but also allows more of your own personality in the space. What about renting a local Provincial Park pavilion? Your favourite museum, concert hall, or zoo? An industrial warehouse? If you are having a smaller gathering, a local B&B might do the trick! What about renting a tent for your own backyard and dancing under the stars? The possibilities are endless!
3. Will your wedding be the only event taking place on your special date?
Some venues are multi-purpose facilities that accommodate unconnected events on a single day, often using divided banquet facilities, with one on each side of the wall. Golf courses often have the course in full operation during a wedding. Hotels continue to receive guests in the lobby while a wedding takes place in their event space. If your venue does have multiple events, ask how the facility manages this and how the flow of the day may (or may not) be affected.
4. Do you have guests attending your wedding from out-of-town? If so, does your venue offer accommodations on-site? Do they have a partnership with the local hotel? Will you need to arrange transportation for guests at the end of the evening?
5. Consider the season in which your wedding will be held. If touring in the opposite season, ask to see photographs from past weddings that may more accurately help you picture the space on your day. During your site visit, ask whether an indoor space (used in the event of inclement weather) is included in the facility rental price, and make sure you see this space!
6. Consider your budget. This is an important one, of course. How many guests are you planning to invite? What is the cost per person? If a caterer is on-site, is food service included in the price?
7. Does the venue allow you to bring in "outside" vendors? In other words, can you choose the professionals who will support your wedding day, or are you restricted only to those on a list they provide? Seeking of the list — are those vendors who have paid a fee to be advertised (and may never have actually worked at the venue!), or are they true partnerships that have been built over many successful interactions, earning a preferred status?
8. Perhaps this one should be at the top of the list. Does the venue feel "right"? When you look at the space, can you imagine walking down their aisle? Can you picture your first dance? Can you see yourself sitting down to a meal surrounded by those you love? If so, you may have found the perfect venue.