Wedding Reception

Wedding Venue 101

By Alice Prendergast, the 08/01/18
Alice Prendergast
Wedding Venue 101
Laura Kelly Photography

Want to start searching for your venue, but don’t have a clue where to begin? We’ve prepared a crash course just for you.

Finding your dream wedding venue is one of the first steps you’ll make in your planning journey. You definitely want to start things off on the right foot, so you should know the basics of wedding venue scouting and booking. If you’re clueless when it comes to deciding between barns and ballrooms or just want a little budgeting guidance, you’ve come to the right place.

This is wedding venue 101.

What do I need to know before looking for a venue?
There are a few key details you need to have hashed out before you even start looking at venues. Things like your budget, style, wedding date and guest count will help you determine the right place for your “I dos”, so set them in stone before you begin your search.

The Great Hall

When should I book my wedding venue?
You should nail down your wedding venue ASAP. You won’t be able to send out invitations or purchase any wedding decor before you know exactly where your wedding will take place, so this step is really what gets the ball rolling. Booking about a year in advance is advised so that you have time to work out the rest of your big day’s details (and book the venue of your dreams - the good ones go quick!).

Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier

What should I look for in a wedding venue?
Well, that really depends on the type of wedding you’re planning on having. If you want to throw a huge dance party with hundreds of guests, you’re going to need enough room to fit all your tables and still have room for everyone to boogie down. If you want to have an outdoor component with games or an open air lounge, you’re going to need a spot with a pretty sizeable terrace or a lawn. We suggest making a list of all your must-haves before you start hunting so that you know exactly what you’re looking for.

Graydon Hall Manor

How much should I spend on my wedding venue?
Unless you’re hosting your wedding in your own backyard, your venue will probably cost a pretty penny. Typically, venue(s) will eat up around 9% of a couple’s budget (but it can definitely be more or less, depending on your priorities). If you need help keeping your spending in check, try using our handy dandy budget calculator to monitor yourself.

Estates of Sunnybrook

How do I know my wedding venue style?
By now, you’ve probably made some wedding-themed Pinterest boards and/or dog-eared a few pages in bridal magazines, so you know what you like. If you don’t have any wedding venue images saved, try to figure out the vibe you’re going for and let that be your guide. Maybe you’ve flagged images of shabby-chic decor, naked cakes and fairy lights? A barn venue might be right up your alley. Or, perhaps you’ve got pictures of lace gowns, vintage-style invitations and suitcase card boxes populating your vision board? A old-school mansion may be the perfect place for you to tie the knot.

Merridale Cidery & Distillery

Where should I look for wedding venues?
Don’t have a clue where to begin? Start with a little bit of online research. We have a venue directory brimming with everything from stunning Toronto ballrooms to beautiful mountain top retreats in B.C. Once you’ve done some digging on the world wide web, you can take to the streets and scope out potential spots IRL, or, if you absolutely loved where one of your besties tied the knot, you can ask them for all the sweet details on they’re venue (and about their runner-ups, too!).

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Who will be my point person?
Venues usually have on-site coordinators that manage everything from booking the place to making sure everything runs smoothly on the big day. Before you say yes to a venue, you should sit down with its coordinator for a quick Q & A (don’t forget to ask these important questions).

InterContinental Montreal

What’s the next step?
Your wedding planning work is far from over once you’ve signed on the bottom line. The next step is dealing with the finer details of planning - like choosing your cake flavours and confirming deadlines. We’ve made a list of all the things you need to do after you book your venue to eliminate any guess work from the equation.

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