Choosing the ultimate wedding venue for your budget
Choosing a wedding venue can be one of the most stressful parts about planning a wedding. Venues are often booked-out early, and some can be surprisingly difficult to deal with.
It's easy to quickly find yourself in a position where your favourite venue is unavailable, and the alternatives are both shockingly expensive and not quite what you had in mind. You then find it hard justifying spending extra money on something that is a compromise. Here are a few tips and tricks to choosing a wedding venue in your budget.
(a) Acknowledge early that there is no such thing as a "perfect wedding venue". This is the same advice that first home buyers are given before going to an auction. Weddings carry huge emotional burdens and sometimes it is good to take a step back and acknowledge that a venue won't ever be 100% perfect. Bearing this in mind, pick a venue with a bit of head to go along with your heart. Look for ways that you can work around limitations rather than immediately dismiss a venue because it doesn't have "X".
On the same note, if you had your heart set on a particular venue, remember there are so many places out there that can offer something incredible for your wedding day. If you can't get your dream venue, take a deep breath! There are so many ways to make a wedding special and a venue is just one part of the picture.
(b) Cross-shop left-field alternatives. Before locking in a venue, spend a bit of time looking at other options that don't immediately spring to mind.
For example, if you love the idea of a wedding in wine country, but the only venue options are far out of your budget (read: big wineries), consider cross-shopping them with places like community halls or farms on Airbnb (an awesome option!). Often these places are vastly cheaper and offer the same backdrop for a fraction of the cost!
Pokolbin Hall sits right in the middle of Hunter Valley's wine region with a vineyard backdrop. It's a community hall and can be hired for a fraction of the cost of a big venue. You can decorate it any way you want!
(c) Watch out for per-head pricing at fully catered venues. This is almost always a place where costs blow out as the guest list grows. One minute you are saying "I don't want any more than 60 guests", and suddenly your family gets involved. Before you know it, your "intimate wedding" is 150+ and it's not negotiable. Set a budget for food and drink early, and it's a great bargaining chip to explain why obscure relatives on the other side of the world might be best kept off the invite list.
(d) Similarly, look for venues that allow self-catering. This can save thousands. There are many fantastic catering options that you can hire for much less than what a big, traditional venue will charge. On top of that, you can easily organise your own drinks by hiring a portable trailer fridge and making a few runs to Dan Murphy's. They can sometimes offer great deals for bulk-buys, too.
The Vinegrove in Mudgee lets you self-cater. Also, it's an epic, epic venue set in the middle of a vineyard. Wow.
This way, you can also pick your own wine list, choose your favourite beers, and make it personal! Awesome.
Got any questions? Have I missed anything? Drop me a note below.