Your wedding is the biggest — and most likely the most expensive! — party you will ever throw, so getting started on planning can be daunting. There’s just so much to consider! Every detail matters, from creating a guest list to selecting a theme and ensuring the menu pleases everyone.
The venue is the most important detail of all. Most of your options can be as extravagant or as simple as you want, and you can even skip out on traditions like bouquets and cake, but you have to get married somewhere.
Fortunately, selecting a wedding venue does not have to be difficult. Once you’ve determined what’s available, you can use a few simple steps to create an initial wish list and narrow things down from there.
Three Alternatives for Choosing a Wedding Venue in Sydney
When it comes to selecting the ideal wedding venue, you have three basic options:
All-Inclusive: These venues frequently specialise in weddings and offer nearly everything needed for a wedding reception. A large number of these venues also have dedicated areas for wedding ceremonies that you can rent. They typically provide meal and beverage packages, tableware, and some decorations. A DJ and/or MC are included in some packages to keep the party going. All-inclusive venues frequently offer a basic wedding coordinator service to assist with some of the wedding reception planning, and they handle all logistics.
Indoor Venues: A building, historical house, vineyard barn, art gallery, dance hall, or other large space where an event or party can be held. They provide shelter but not much else (if you’re lucky, the venue may have tables and chairs available); you’ll need to coordinate with the other vendors. Most venues of this type, however, have hosted numerous weddings and can provide you with a list of recommended vendors to help you streamline your planning.
Outdoor only Venues: Certain locations are ideal for outdoor weddings, and you can be quite creative in terms of where you hold your wedding ceremony and reception. You’ll need to plan catering, tables and chairs, tableware, music, and other vendors on your own, just like you would for an indoor venue that isn’t all-inclusive — including a marquee for shelter, and possibly even lighting and amenities like portable toilets.
Your Step-by-Step Guide to Selecting a Wedding Location
1. Get to Know Yourself
Only you can decide how much time and energy you want to devote to wedding planning. If the thought of trying to find a caterer, bar service, tableware and glassware, tables & chairs, venue decorations, and lighting on your own makes you nervous, don’t! Spend the extra money to hire a wedding coordinator or select an all-inclusive venue. All-inclusive wedding venues are extremely popular in Sydney for a reason.
If, on the other hand, you want the freedom to make every creative decision on your own, coordinating the event on your own may be more comfortable. This is doable but time consuming if you are a highly organised person.
2. Establish Your Budget
It’s time to face the facts: weddings are expensive. It is critical to enter the process with your eyes open so that you can plan appropriately. That means determining how much money you’re willing to spend on your wedding. If you believe you will receive financial assistance from your parents or grandparents, now is the time to have an open discussion about it. You’re ready to shop around once you’ve decided on a price.
In general, the venue, food, and rentals (if necessary) account for roughly half of the total wedding budget. If you use an all-inclusive venue, keep in mind that decorations and music typically take up another 15% of the budget, so your total venue cost could be up to 65% of your budget if these items are included.
3. Make a preliminary guest list
How many guests do you intend to invite? Make a master list of everyone you want to invite first. Then make a secondary list of everyone you must invite. You now have a range to choose from when looking for a venue. This will assist you in narrowing down your search to locations that can accommodate your guests. You’ll also get the most accurate estimates if you know how many people you’ll invite.
4. Create a lengthy list
It’s time to go online! When it comes to conducting an initial venue search, Google is your best friend. This blog post lists the Top 105 Sydney Wedding Venues if you are looking for a wedding venue in Sydney. As you start looking through wedding venue websites, add places to your long list that:
Are appropriate for your guest list.
If you prefer, a wedding ceremony location is included.
Is it in a convenient location for you? (inc being close to the wedding ceremony location)
If you prefer, they are all-inclusive.
Fits into your budget
You like the look of.
If you’re having trouble finding venues you like online, you can also ask friends, family, or your social media circle for recommendations.
5. Request More Information
Once you’ve compiled a preliminary list of venues, it’s time to narrow things down. Many venues do not publish their rates because there are so many variables that influence the price, so call them to find out more. You’ll want to know whether you call or email:
The cost based on the estimated number of guests (a range is fine).
What exactly is included? (food, alcohol, decorations, DJ, etc.)
If the date and time of your choice are available.
If any of these answers are a deal breaker for you, cross that venue off your list immediately.
6. Go to the Venues
It’s time to vet your venues now that you have a more manageable list of places you know will work for you. Set up a time to scout the venue and speak with the manager or event coordinator. Listen to your instincts when you get the tour: does it feel right when you walk in the door? Can you see your wedding reception taking place here? If you get a bad vibe, don’t try to persuade yourself to do anything.
Of course, you’ll be gathering information about your visit as well. Inquire about menu options, seating arrangements, and decorating packages, among other things. If at all possible, try to sample the food and beverages. If you’re inviting elderly or disabled guests, make sure they can get in.
What else should you look for during your venue visit:
The various rooms/spaces that you will require (ceremony, seperate room for the bridal party during cocktail hour, cocktails, reception, and dancing). Each of these spaces will have a different significance for each couple.
Examine the venue’s lighting – both in the reception area and in potential ceremony locations (if you are looking at having your ceremony onsite)
Wet weather options, especially if you want to hold an outdoor ceremony on-site.
Inquire about the wedding coordinator’s role in assisting you with reception planning.
Determine whether there are any vendor or decorating restrictions.
Determine the venue’s closing hours, especially if you want a reception that lasts past 11 p.m.
If you value privacy, enquire whether you will have the venue to yourself.
Inquire if there are any restrictions on adding your own personal touch to your wedding, such as whether you want a sparkler exit, fireworks, or a smoke machine. Can you throw confetti or rose petals if there is a ceremony there as well?
Consider your guests’ transportation options, such as the amount of onsite parking, access to public transportation, taxis, or Uber (particularly if your venue is more remote). In Sydney, alcohol consumption at weddings can be quite high, so make sure your guests have a safe way home.
7. Narrow Your Focus
Following your visit, you should be able to narrow your list down to the top two or three contenders. You and your partner will then have to decide which is best for you. You can’t go wrong because you’ve already narrowed your list to include places that are within your budget and in a great location. All you have to do is figure out which one has the best features and provides the most bang for your buck overall.
After you’ve secured your wedding venue, it’s time to book your photographer and plan your wedding theme and outfits. Read this blog on the best tips for finding your dream wedding photographer to find your ideal wedding photographer.