I’ve been on the hunt for a wedding venue for a while and have come to the conclusion that there are four types of wedding venues. The venue creates the vibe of the wedding, so I need to think it through. Above and beyond that, I need to consider budget, availability, and a whole lot of other factors. As I tend to get distracted by sparkly things and “wow” (I’m a sales person’s dream…), I’ve made a location check list PDF to help me decide between venues. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but its helping me compare venues which are not in anyway similar, and remind me to ask questions when at the venue.
1. Hotels and Purpose Built Wedding Venues
I would lean towards a hotel wedding for a formal event (and MAN do I love a black tie event!). And there are some stunning venues out there. Luminaire is a rooftop venue in South Melbourne with an EPIC balcony facing the city, it can be configured in an endless array of designs, and is perfect for a black tie event. And STOP THE PRESS! Did you know gorgeous hotels like the 59 room Hotel Lindrum (above) can be booked out for private use. I’d LOVE to book an entire hotel and fill it with my family and friends. There’s also a newer style of venue emerging like Baxter Barn. A little bit more country, but set up to serve your every wedding desire (and GREAT for photos too)
Pros EVERYTHING is in the venue, they are seasoned professionals at functions; you can get ready and stay there, your guests can also stay the night, can cater for most sizes of weddings. BLACK TIE BABY!
Cons tends to be on the pricier end of the scale (but you get great service!), not as much choice in decorating the venue, older venues can look a little tired – choose wisely.
Restaurants and bars are great for the foodies out there and for more intimate weddings. I’ve been to some fabulous weddings in restaurants and the atmosphere has been rad! Collins Quarter, East Elevation, Krimper and Trunk are four that spring to mind, although, if I knew enough people I’d LOVE to have a wedding at Panama Dining Rooms (above). Who am I kidding – I just want to live in there.
Pros Food Food FOOD! Also set to deal with functions, great for smaller weddings, more intimate atmosphere, great locations
Cons not as much choice in terms of decorating the venue, often not set up for dance floors
3. Wedstival Venue
I won’t lie. A wedstival is my first choice. Most of my friends have kids now and a sure fire way to have EVERYONE at the wedding is to have a wedstival. I have imagined all of it. Everyone would arrive on a Friday, a BBQ and getting settled in follows. Saturday (The BIG DAY) sees all hands on deck – kids craft tables for decorating the venue, or cake, one of the dads would lead the charge on building an alter, everyone has kitchen duty at some point, there’d be some games, maybe some swimming in a lake, then in the evening a big party with wonderful share food and a bonfire into the night. I’d love to do this as one of my favourite weddings ever was my friend Jo’s wedding. She organised it in 6 weeks (that’s right folks…SIX WEEKS) and on the day of the wedding, she enlisted the help of the guests – we were all down at the venue hanging decorations, fluffing up tissue paper pompoms and making everything just right. We were ALL involved. It was an awesome sense of community and occasion. And we all got to know each other and bond before the big event.
Then I saw this Brittania Park Wedstival. And I was convinced. My grandparents were caretakers at Brittania Park some years ago, and while its unlikely my Grandmother would be able to travel to the event, I feel there would be a great honour on having it there.
Wedstival venues can be ANYWHERE! On a family farm, a school or scout camp, an entire Caravan Park (This Cumberland River Caravan Park Wedding was awesome. Onsite cabins and gorgeous scenery)
Pros You can get married anywhere, you can stay as long as you like, you can hang with your favourite people for a bit longer, you can style the venue anyway you like. Generally there is no kick out time or noise restriction. You can save money *see cons below, People with kids can hang out more comfortably.
Cons You have to think of and bring/hire EVERYTHING – sometimes even the toilets. It can end up being more expensive depending on what you decide to bring in, the cleanup can be a nightmare (I have watched guests zip off leaving a hung over bride and groom picking up the pieces) Make a solid clean up plan.
4. Blank Canvas Spaces
A blank canvas venue is practically any space you can throw a party in. A Photographic Studio like XO Studios (Pictured above), a town hall, a scout hall, a church hall, a warehouse. You are only limited by your imagination. And the same applies to what you can do to decorate the space. This appeals to me a lot as I have seen some amazing installations and creative transformations of these venues. It requires a bit of vision (or a wedding stylist who can have bags of vision for you!) and generally involves a whole lot more work and decision making, but it will definitely be a one of bespoke wedding.
Pros You can get married ANYWHERE, you can style it how you choose, you can break from tradition, you can do a lot yourself, it can be cheaper
Cons you have to bring in EVERYTHING, yes sometimes even the toilets, so you have a whole lot more decisions to make. It can be more expensive to bring in everything, it can be more labour intensive to organise, set up and pull down.
So How Do I Decide?
As I don’t have my heart set on any particular style, I have a lot to choose from. Obviously when you knock out places based on budget or availability you are getting close to a decision. I would recommend a visit to the venue as a memeber of the general public – I recently went for lunch at a venue I practically had my mind made up on and the service was terrible (as was their lack of response to my event enquiry) and within a heartbeat I knew it wasn’t the venue for me. I highly recommend doing this is you are able as it gives you a great insight into how the venue runs without the wedding sales pitch.
Now for me to hurry up and decide so I can get some save the dates sent out. And if you’re totally confused by this blog post – go back to the beginning of my journey, here.