10 Things to Consider when choosing your Wedding Venue
Congratulations, you are engaged! Now for the first big step – Choosing your wedding venue! Make a note of these 10 things that you should consider while shopping around. All 10 are equally important.
1. How many guests will attend your wedding?
Deciding on the number of guests will greatly narrow down your venue choices. Majority of South African wedding venues can cater for about 120 guest but indoors with a dance floor. However, there are bespoke venues that can cater for smaller weddings of 50 guests but only a few venues that can accommodate a party of 200 people and more. Given the current restrictions on South African gatherings be sure to keep your guest list to a maximum of 100 if you are having an indoor wedding and 250 if you are having an outdoor wedding.
2. What does the venue cost to hire?
Your venue hire and catering should make up no more than 50% of your total wedding budget. Take the venue cost and multiply it with 5. If this figure is above your total budget, then it is too expensive and you will be better off to continue your research in finding your perfect venue. Booking a venue that takes up more than 50% of your wedding budget means you will have to cut costs on other elements and might make you look like a Queen serving McDonald’s at a royal feast!
3. What is included in the venue hire fee?
Venue packages differ enormously from one to the other. Find out where these things are included – If not, then you are looking at added hiring cost:
- Tables and Chairs to seat all your guests – Do you like what they include?
- Crockery and Cutlery for all – have a look at the quality and make sure you are happy with what they offer.
- Waiters and Bar Staff
- Do they allow outside Caterers
- Can you bring your own wine and what is the corkage fee?
4. Shortlist venues in the area you want to get married in!
Do a basic Google search before you hit the road on venue scouting. Narrow it down to a list of three venues that you absolutely love and three that you like. Before you visit the venues on the shortlist, send a basic email and request the wedding package. The Pink Book Website has a time-saving function whereby you can enquire with multiple venues in one go – Have a Look at our Venue Directory. Also, have a look at the Top 10 Wedding Venues in the Western Cape according to ZaraZoo Photography.
5. Is the venue available for your date?
The popularity of season, unfortunately, creates a peak in demand and it is for that reason that you will have to start looking around at least 1 year ahead of time if you want to be certain of getting a specific date. In the Western Cape, summer and autumn (due to high winter rainfall) are the best seasons to get married in. In Gauteng, that gets summer rain, you might decide to rather go for a crisp clear winter wedding.
But there are more factors than the climate to consider as venues can look vastly different from season to season. The best advice is to do a web search for weddings around the time of the year you want to get married in.
If cost is a factor, then you can consider taking a risk and booking a venue out of peak season. But if you do take this risk, then make sure your venue has suitable indoor facilities should the weather gods let you down. Most Venues offer better low season rates!
6. What Overnight Accommodation does the venue have?
With safety in mind and the strict drinking and driving laws in place in South Africa, suitable overnight accommodation is an essential consideration when choosing your wedding venue. Guest accommodation on-site or within close driving distance is even more important if you have guests coming from afar. A Bridal suite or preparations room at the wedding venue is a must. This will save you unnecessary travel time, which means more time to spend with your favourite people on your big day.
7. Are There Other Events on the Day?
Make sure that you have exclusive use of the venue on your wedding day. The last thing you want is to compete with another couple for the best photo opportunities or run out of parking space or guest accommodation. But then again, if you don’t mind the above and want to save on cost, sharing a venue might help to lower cost and your ability to afford the venue.
8. Catering and Bar restrictions?
Does your venue have a fully stocked kitchen that is open to use for outside caterers? If not you are restricted to the capabilities and menu offered by the in-house caterers.
Make sure the venue has a liquor license as this might hugely affect the way your beverages are handled on the night. If they do not have a license, then they most probably also do not have a bar and you will have to add extra cost to get a bar and staffing company to handle your beverages.
Most venues will require you to make use of their bar facilities as this will generate extra income for them. Be aware of the cost of beverages as an “Open Bar” might add a huge amount on to your wedding cost.
Corkage is another consideration – How much will it cost you to bring in your own wine and bubbly. If this cost is high, then it might be worthwhile to opt for the wine on the menu. Make sure that the wine offered by the estate is of the standard that you are happy with.
Lastly, you should find out whether the venue comes with waiters and bar staff and if not what the costs will be to hire additional staff to fulfil those functions.
9. Are there any lighting and sound restrictions?
Ask the venue manager about the power sources and whether the existing infrastructure can handle more lighting and the power needed for your speakers and sound equipment. If not, you will have to notify your DJ and lighting company to bring additional leads to avoid overloading and embarrassing power cuts during the evening – We’ve all experienced those! Be sure to ask whether the venue has a generator on-site as this has become extremely important due to power outages associated with South Africa.
Due to their location close to residential areas or sensitive neighbours, some wedding reception might have noise regulations applicable to them. Find out whether this is the case and if so, until what time you can lift the roof of the house. If your venue needs you to turn down the sound by 11PM, there are other options available to keep the party going. One such solution is that of a Silent Disco – we suggest Perfect Tone so you can party to all hours of the morning without disturbing anyone!
10. Google other weddings at the venues you like
Previous weddings at the same time of the year as your chosen month will give you great insight into what you can expect. Furthermore, it will help you to ask questions when you do a site visit. You might notice the ceremony conducted in different places of the venue utilised in ways you could not imagine. In your web search, make note of these things:
- Weather conditions
- Are the Bridal and Groom preparation facilities up to scratch?
- Indoor / Outdoor Ceremony options
- Pre-Dinner Drinks areas
- Couple photo Opportunities
- Reception Options
- Dance Floor options
- Can the venue be styled to your theme
Now that you are clued up on the 10 Things to Consider when choosing your Wedding Venue hop over to Wedding Venues page and start enquiring with your dream venues.