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  • Writer's pictureKathryn Macphee

Picking Your Perfect Venue

Beautiful Main Lodge sitting on the cliff of Ingonish Beach

Wedding venues have come along way over the past few years; Churches and halls are no longer the only option! You can get married down at your local farmers' market, the pub across the street or have a complete destination wedding if that is what you want! With all these options, it can become overwhelming when trying to decide on a venue! If you have not known your wedding venue since dreaming of it as a child, here are some tips and tricks that may help you when choosing your venue!

Consider your guest count. Imagine going to a venue, falling in love with it and then asking the question "how many guests can you accommodate?" and they can only accommodate half of your guest count!

Go into any venue tours knowing your estimated guest count. Start by making a must invite list, followed by a second list of family friends who you would like to have attend your wedding, but are not a must-have. (Yes, I know this sounds terrible for those second-tier guests... but they will never know!) Keep in mind that 100% of your invited guests will not show up, but never invite 200 people to a venue that can accommodate 100, expecting them not to show!

Consider the location. Is your family from one place, your fiance's family from a different place while you both live together in another place? Start by considering if you are comfortable planning a wedding from a distance, or if you want to plan a wedding conveniently close to you. Planning a wedding close to where you live will certainly help with the budget. You won't have any travel fees, you can choose local vendors and accommodations may not be needed. However, if you plan a wedding away, it will feel like a weekend getaway and add to the excitement!

Next, when considering the location, consider your family and friends' travel needs. Do you have a relative or friend who is unable to travel? Are they someone who you absolutely want to have involved in your wedding day?

Is a travel wedding out of budget for one side of your family? Keep in mind that wedding guests pay a lot to attend weddings; adding hotel rooms to that mix may put some people out of budget!

When considering the location, you also want to consider the travel fees for vendors. Many vendors charge approximately $0.52 per km for travel weddings, while rental companies may charge even more due to their larger trucks and multiple employees. Having a travel wedding means you are getting the same product and/or service, but you are paying more for it due to the location.

Consider what is included. Some venues include everything you may need for your wedding, while others simply just provide the space. Both have their pros and cons: Venues that provide everything will certainly take some stress off during the planning process, however it may not look like the wedding you have envisioned. Typically when venues include linens, chair covers, tables, chairs, dishware, arbors, etc.. Everything is white. That is perfect if that is your style, but if it is not, you may end up paying for a lot of rentals. Make sure to compare prices of rentals with the venue fees. If a blank slate venue is $2000 and you will be paying $10,000 in rentals, it may be worth getting an $8000 venue that includes all the decor, even if that number seems daunting at first! (these numbers are just random)

Sometimes Catering will also be included in venues and they will require a minimum spend. This minimum spend often comes before taxes and gratuities, so factor that into your budget; Typically automatic gratuity in Nova Scotia for food & beverage is approximately 18% and this 18% is taxed! Minimum spends for restaurants often comes from their sales on that date in previous years. While resort minimum spends are often a flat rate provided to all dates.

Consider the style. Choose a venue that suits your style! If you want a casual, boho styled wedding, don't choose a ballroom venue! Remember that it is often cheaper on the budget to use the natural style of the venue for decor inspiration, instead of trying to completely change the style of the venue. You want to choose a venue with an atmosphere that you feel comfortable in and don't have to do a complete makeover in!

Consider talking to a planner. Wedding planners often know venues that you may never have heard of; Whether it is a new venue in the works or a hidden little gem, a wedding planner usually has the inside scoop. A wedding planner also often knows the pros and cons to many venues around and will be able to help you narrow down your list, without even stepping foot on property! It is a great idea to talk to a planner before you start the process of viewing venues. It will save you a lot of time and help you prep for those venues that you should check out!

There are lots of factors to consider when choosing a venue, but overall everybody's wants and needs are different! I hope the tips above help you and send you in the right direction! If you are still feeling overwhelmed, reach out and I would love to chat!



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