Choosing the perfect wedding venue is the most important thing to consider for your special day, even more so than your wedding dress or guest list. Providing a comfortable and memorable atmosphere for you and your future spouse as well as for your friends and family will create memories that will be treasured forever. So here are our top 10 tips to finding the perfect wedding venue:

  1. Think about a guest list 

Before you can start weighing up which venue best suits your wedding day requirements you need to decide on whether you want an intimate wedding with just close family and friends or if you want to invite the whole extended family as well as all your friends on Facebook. Most wedding venues have a guest count minimum – so make sure your number estimates are conservative. 

  1. Settle on a budget

Depending on the lavishness of the wedding venues you are researching you will need find out the going rates of all your options. Its best to have a rough estimate in mind, a range of sorts. Typically, you shouldn’t spend more than 50% of your wedding budget on the venue because there is so many more expenses to consider.

  1. Pick a date 

It seems like the most basic of things but as soon as your spouse proposes and the answer is yes, the next question is when will we actually get married? Engagements can be famous for lasting years with both partners tentative to set a physical date. Don’t over think it – i.e. we need to get married on the day we met or on our parents wedding anniversary date. If you’re flexible on the date you could choose an off-season month and you’ll surely be able to get a better rate.

  1. Pick a venue nestled in nature

A venue with an abundance of natural landscape such as a beachfront, park reserve or vineyard provides a beautiful setting that will reduce the need to spend big money on décor.

  1. Make sure the venue has good lighting

If you pick a venue that is dark and gloomy it will make the job of the photographer particularly difficult. A venue with plenty of natural light, set in nature, is always preferable and when night falls you can utilise additional lighting such as uplighting, intelligent lighting or projected gobos in-house. Having spectacular wedding photos will be something you treasure for every anniversary thereafter!

  1. Think about how your guests will get from A to B

Make sure the venue has plenty of parking and make it easy for your guests to get from the ceremony to reception if they take place at a different venue. If you expect a lot of guests to arrive from out of town then do a bit of research around local hotels and accommodation.

  1. Have a Plan B for bad weather

Although you pray to god that the weather will bless your special day, the chance of rain, especially in New Zealand, is always there. Before booking a venue ask what the plan is for unpredictable weather, and make sure that you like the backup spaces that the venue offers.

  1. Seek a venue with an on-site coordinator

Normally on-site coordinators can help set up your wedding and help to solve any problems that may arise on the day. This can save you money by not having to commission a wedding planner.

  1. Taste the in-house catering before deciding 

There would be nothing worse than providing your wedding guests with underwhelming food that puts a dampener on proceedings. Find out if you can do a tasting of the food before you book, and do research on any dietary requirements that may arise. Of course, you should consider the drink preferences of your guests – wine connoisseurs, craft beer or top shelf whiskies.

  1. Choose a venue that feels like home

Walking down the isle in a place that doesn’t feel natural, perhaps a church when you never go to church, can be aesthetically pleasing but may not make you feel entirely comfortable on the day. Pick a venue that feels like your coming home – could be a barn that resembles your backyard growing up or a vineyard that you spent time as a kid with your parents.