The Perfect Site
Choosing the perfect venue can be the most stressful part of the wedding planning process. Bhria Vellnagel speaks to Kristy Ouwerkerk, the founder and CEO of Veilability, who offers some tips and tricks she’s discovered from years of being in the industry.
Image Credit: Ben Clark Photography
A wedding venue is where you’ll spend the most time celebrating, but there are thousands to choose from when planning your day, which means finding the perfect one can often take time.
“Choosing a wedding venue is one of the biggest and most emotional decisions couples make for their wedding,” says Ouwerkerk. “It locks in the fundamentals of what your entire wedding experience will be, so it’s a decision that demands a lot of thought.”
Deciding on a location is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning a wedding. Couples also need to consider the size of their guest list, as well as the style of their wedding and the season in which it’ll take place. Veilability is an online directory that allows couples to filter through wedding venues to find the perfect one for them.
“Couples can immerse themselves in content [that has] never [been] available [before],” says Ouwerkerk. “[There is information about] every venue [and] reception space, [as well as] packages, pricing, menus [and] real wedding galleries.”
Choosing the perfect venue can be time consuming, which is why Ouwerkerk suggests narrowing the list down to a few favourites. “You’d be surprised at how many hidden gems are out there that could actually be a perfect fit for your wedding,” she says.
Building The Foundations
Ouwerkerk has expertly compiled a selection of criteria to make the process as easy and stressfree as possible. Her first tip is to develop your prerequisites, such as the number of guests, your budget and any other important features you’d like your venue to have.
Ouwerkerk suggests forming a ‘would love to have’ list, which will help couples narrow down venues even further.
“These can be fairly broad, such as location setting, package type, venue type and views,” she says. “You can get very specific and include exact venue features such as BYO, disability access or close [proximity] to public transport.”
The Must-Have Few
To narrow the list even further, cut out venues that can’t accommodate the date or theme of your wedding. Many venues offer packages with wedding planners, which can take a lot of stress off couples who may not have the time to worry about décor and styling.
“Having someone on your side that can make sure everything runs smoothly can take a lot of the pressure off you, and they can help with styling ideas, recommended vendors and scheduling,” says Ouwerkerk. “With the right styling, you can transform most venues into your dream vision.”
Whether you’re leaning towards a DIY wedding or a fully styled event, working with a wedding planner can also help you to decide which venue is perfect for you.
Ouwerkerk recommends compiling a final list of three to five venues that you’re interested in, because scouting each location can take time. If you’re struggling to pick a final five, visit a few well-known areas on your list and decide after the initial visit.
Check It Out
Once you’ve decided on a list of potential venues, it’s time to hit the road to find out more about each location. The venue’s wedding coordinator will guide you through the tour, so now is the time to ask questions.
On your wedding day, you and your groom-to-be will share your love and commitment with your family and friends. However, a tight budget can often lead to a smaller guest list, with couples opting to travel overseas to try and cut prices.
Ouwerkerk says Veilability gives couples the opportunity to scout local venues that fit within their budget, before deciding to travel elsewhere.
“Couples are becoming more aware, through sites like Veilability, of the amazing breadth of local venue options we have that deliver amazing wedding experiences on all budgets,” she says.
Timing Is Key
Depending on when you’re aiming to host your wedding, the weather can certainly sway your decision when choosing a venue. The flowers that are blooming when you visit in spring won’t be there for your winter wedding, and some venues may not have undercover areas should a downpour be forecast.
Ask the venue’s wedding coordinator, or research pictures of previous weddings that were held in the same season as yours, to get an idea of how your day will turn out. The photographs will also give you some inspiration for decorations and set ups.
At each location, take plenty of photos and ask lots of questions about the limitations of the venue to determine whether your décor will work within the space. It’s imperative that the venue is easily accessible and has accommodation options for guests, should they need to stay the night.
“Walk through the venue in the eyes of your guests,” says Ouwerkerk “If accessibility is important, [consider] how [the venue] would work for guests who might be in wheelchairs or have difficulty navigating stairs.”
Make It Your Own
Decorating a venue gives you the chance to make the space your own. If your chosen venue doesn’t offer decorating services, ask the venue’s wedding coordinator for their preferred vendors. These vendors will know the layout of the venue, and be able to work with you to create something magical.
Ouwerkerk also suggests sourcing inspiration from other couples who have married at your preferred venue.
“Have a look at other real weddings at the venue [that may have had the] same theme as yours,” she says. “Couples can do all of this at Veilability!”
Choosing the perfect place to say your “I Do’s” is one of the biggest decisions you and your groomto- be will make. There are myriad of aspects to consider, but sites like Veilability promise to make the process fun rather than stressful. When it comes to finding the perfect venue, remember to choose a space that complements you and your partner’s style and personalities. After all, it’s where you and your guests will spend the most time celebrating, so it should tick all of the boxes!