How do you get the best tips on doing something, for example selecting a wedding venue for your special day? Well, it’s simple; ask someone who deals with it every day and knows the ins and outs intimately.
We sit down to interview Jen Ortlepp from Harrington House to make your choice an easy one.
What is important when considering a venue location?
The distance guests will need to travel, especially late at night. Is the venue on tar? Is there easy access for all vehicle types (not everyone may have a 4×4).
Are there sufficient places in the area for guests to stay at? You don’t want your guests to have to travel too far after a party.
The bride and groom and service providers will need to visit the venue a number of times in the lead up to the wedding. This trip will be repeated, so proximity and easy access from main routes are really important.
What is the most important thing the couple should consider with the number of guests?
Do not push numbers! The easy flow of guests is not encouraged by being squashed into a venue. Nor is easy service of food; or relaxed concentration during the speeches. The amenities also need to be able to cope with numbers.
Does the layout of the venue affect the wedding and if so, how?
Definitely! You need your dance floor as close to your bar as possible to ensure a social, fun, interactive evening. The wedding party tends to separate if these are apart. It is also lovely to have a flow from inside to outside as this keeps the two areas connected.
The bar ideally must be able to serve both guests who are outside and inside as this keeps the party flowing.
Is it important to have a flexible wedding venue?
It certainly makes life easier and less tense to have an accommodating and flexible wedding venue. For example, if a couple decides on an outside ceremony, it is good to know the venue is happy to offer a Plan B in the event of inclement weather – like a stretch tent; or an alternative room large enough for the ceremony.
Should there be a contract with the wedding venue, and if so, why?
Definitely. This protects both the couple and the venue and ensures there are no grey areas which could result in misunderstandings through incorrect assumptions.
What should you consider for the catering on your big day?
- Decide on your budget and stick to it; as long as you select a caterer who has a proven record, your guests will be well-fed and happy. Most caterers will give you a number of options to fit in with your budget.
- Try not to feed your guests too late; an open bar and no food for hours is not a good idea.
- Remember to check if there are specific dietary requirements for any of your guests.
- Do not provide dessert for your full quota of guests. Generally, only 40 – 50% eat desserts. Finger desserts work well because they can be displayed at the coffee station.
- If your wedding starts early afternoon and goes right through to midnight, a late-night snack is always popular.
Are there any insider tips you can give to the couple looking for a wedding venue?
- It is really important to ‘connect’ with the venue and host. Make sure you visit and get to know the manager/owner and take note of your gut feel.
- Select a photographer who will work quickly, allowing you maximum time at your wedding.
- Children can be disruptive and get bored very quickly if they are expected to attend for the full evening. A room where children can be kept occupied is useful.
- Plenty of safe, well-lit parking within close proximity of the venue is important (a late-night hazardous stroll is not pleasant).
- Being able to get ready at the venue with your bridesmaids, is a win; and even better if the venue offers the bridal suite as part of their package for the couple on the night of the wedding.
Such great tips to help you in making a very important choice.