OK, it’s probably safe to assume that if you’re reading this, you’re either 1) planning a wedding; 2) expecting to plan a wedding soon (yew!) or 3) helping a friend plan a wedding. Either way, hooray! Exciting times ahead for you and your loved ones. In fact, some of the most exciting times. Weddings are awesome. At what other time do you get to gather all of your nearest and dearest, put on a massive party, and dance the day/night away? And all in honour of the fact you’ve met someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. Damn, that’s some good feels right there.
However, finding the place that all these celebrations are going to go down at can be tough. Trust us, we’ve been there. In fact we’ve built Wedshed – a business dedicated to solving this problem. There are plenty of unique venues out there but the trick is knowing how to find them. We’ve put together ten tips to help you track down and choose a unique wedding venue. Willow Farm Berry. Photography by Red Berry Photography.
1. Set a tentative budget
Sorry to begin with a boring one but it has to be said. Your budget will probably shape the style of venue you’re working with. We use the word ‘tentative’ because as ladies who have gone down the wedding planning path before, we realise that despite all good intentions, wedding budgets have a tendency to stretch. Budget blowout is apparently a contagious condition that affects 98% of brides. Nonetheless, it’s worth deciding what you’re happy to spend on a venue and trying to stick to it.
Keep in mind when choosing your venue what’s included – do you still need to hire in tables and chairs? Extra portaloos? Don’t get caught out with surprise costs: ask the venue owner or manager exactly what additional items need to be brought to the venue to get a fully informed idea of the actual hire price. Byronviewfarm.
2. Define where you want to get married
Keen to do a destination wedding? We don’t blame you. Plenty of couples are heading away for their nuptials and really giving the wedding thing a good nudge over a few days. By narrowing down the regions that you’d be happy to get married at, you make the venue search much easier on yourself. Consider things like availability of accommodation, how far your guests will be willing to travel and how much it will cost them.
Check on the region’s tourism website for major events that might mean there’s a shortage of beds for visitors and try avoid those dates. Just remember, the more remote you are, the smaller the pool of local wedding vendors and suppliers is likely to be. Just make sure to factor travel costs for your fave vendors into your budget.Eagle Bay Brewing Co. Photography by Ben Yew.
3. Use Google creatively A tip we use to dig up hard-to-find wedding venues is to enter a region name plus the word ‘wedding’ into Google (e.g. ‘Melbourne + wedding’). Then, click on Google ‘images’ and scroll through previous weddings that have taken place in the region. Often this will lead you to local wedding photographer’s blogs that you may otherwise never have discovered and present different venue options to those that appear in the normal web search section of Google.
4. Ask local wedding vendors for their advice If you know where you want to get married but are struggling to find the right venue, why not ask some of the local wedding vendors? After all, they have first-hand experience working at many local wedding venues and might be able to suggest a few that you haven’t discovered. Mindaribba Weddings. Photography by Ben Howland.
5. Get pinning
Know exactly how you want your big day to look and have hundreds of pre-planned, amazing ideas ready to implement? Neither did we. Get onto Pinterest, make yourself a ‘Wedding Planning’ board (you can set it to private, don’t worry), and start searching for inspiration. Chances are you’ll stumble upon some cool venues along the way and help to define the type of venue you want. If you find yourself pinning hundreds of pictures of ocean-view ceremonies or barn-style receptions, listen to your subconscious and search for venues that fit these categories. Fig Tree Restaurant. Photography by Bushturkey Studio.
6. Get clear on what’s flexible at the venue If you have your heart set on a particular caterer for your big day, there’s probably no point in viewing a venue that works with a preferred company only. Find out before you make time for a viewing what’s flexible. Are you allowed to work with your own vendors of choice? Can you DIY-style the venue space? Can you BYO alcohol or does it need to be purchased through the vendor? These are all things to consider when choosing your venue.
7. Get stalker-ish Found a wedding venue you like? Let your inner ‘social-media-stalker’ out to play. Search online to find other weddings held at that venue – often these will link to the wedding photographer’s blog. Scroll through photos to see if there are any pictures showing a wedding hashtag that you can creep on via Instagram (often couples will chalk it onto a sign that ends up in the wedding photos). This way, you’ll get a more personal look at the venue through the eyes of a guest. Wildwood at Kangaroo Valley. Photography by Anthea & Lyndon.
8. Get ready for your viewing Chances are you’ll be viewing a few different venues before choosing ‘the one’. To avoid them all becoming one big blur, we’d suggest getting a little prepped before you go. We’ve put together a wedding viewings 101 guide with questions to consider and ask. Our biggest tip would be to take photos at the viewing – we sure wouldn’t be trusting our own memories to remember all the unique and beautiful elements of each venue.
9. Check out wedding blogs Wedding blogs are an awesome source of inspo when it comes to finding wedding venue – and hey, you’re here on HOORAY! so you’re obviously already across this, you clever duck. Wilgowrah Weddings. Photography by Mitch Pohl.
10. *Self-promotion disclaimer* – check out WedShed Ahem, we might be able to help too. Check out www.wedshed.com.au to find a collection of unique venues from across Australia, all able to be booked for weddings. Feel free to email us anytime too, as we have quite a few up our sleeve that aren’t yet listed on our site.