Choosing a wedding venue is often the first decision – and sometimes the hardest – couples make when planning their day. Picking the right venue for you is the first step, there are a whole range of things to consider to coordinate an event that is memorable and everything you are envisioning. Wedding Insider Matthew from Lamont’s shares his tips for getting the most out of your venue.
Photo: Lamont’s Bishop House
1.Ask all the questions!
No question is too unusual, personal or awkward – you need to feel comfortable enough with your chosen venue to ask about whatever you feel is pertinent to your special event. It is also important to know exactly what to expect, so don’t be shy in putting your queries forward.
“We prefer to work with an” all cards on the table” policy at Lamont’s,” Matthew said, “Probably the most obvious question is “what’s included, or not included” – make sure the venue is black and white with all potential costs, capabilities and expectations.”
2. Have back up
Probably the next and just as important question is to do with back-up plans – what to do if it rains. It is sometimes said that wedding day rain is “good luck”… but you may not feel that way if you and all your guests are stuck in a downpour! Discuss with your venue/s and form a clear contingency plan for what to do if the weather turns. Having a venue with some indoor space for back up is a bonus (but not always possible).
“Although Lamont’s Bishops House is predominantly and outdoor venue, we can assist with solutions to this problem, and do so often,” Matthew said, “As with any outdoor location we encourage couples to roll with the punches, so to speak and we will work with them to fix any bad weather situation. One of the bonuses with our venue is that couples can have private and exclusive use of the whole venue for the whole day, giving us the ability to re-create and move certain aspects if required.”
3. Trust your venue coordinator
Picking a venue is not just about a dream location – you need to find an event or venue coordinator you can trust and who does their job well (reviews and recommendations from other couples could help with this). Meet them first and make sure you are comfortable with them.
“If they are doing their job correctly they will maximise the venue’s potential while still adhering to your event’s guidelines,” Matthew said.
4. Think seasonal when it comes to menu
Matthew recommends opting for a seasonal menu if possible. Again this about trusting the experts to get the best possible outcomes for your day.
“This will give the chef and sommelier freedom to create a menu and wine selection that is fresh, exciting and unique,” he said.
5. Schedule with meals in mind
Make sure your scheduling reflects suitable food service periods. By writing up a running sheet, you can work speeches and other parts of your day to tie in with food service.
“There’s nothing worse than cold mains or melted desserts because you haven’t allocated enough time for best man’s speech!” Matthew said.
6. Think post event
The last thing you will want to do the day after your big day is come back to the venue for any reason. You may even be off on your honeymoon by this stage!
Matthew suggests having a detailed list of the venue’s responsibilities (and yours!) at the end of the event. You can also delegate tasks to family or friends such as picking up any items at the end of the day.
7. Ask for your own space
Having a private room such as a green room or bridal room can be a wonderful thing to have on your day. Wedding days are busy and you may need a few moments to yourselves amongst the celebrations.
“Plan to have a private space you can relax (and hide) if you want to catch your breath, practice your speech, or hide from the in-laws!” Matthew said.
8. Think outside the box
Don’t restrict your planning to sit down, a la carte, Saturday evening receptions – there are plenty of other options which could be perfect for families with kids or to encourage everyone to socialise.
“We love cocktail weddings at Bishops House,” Matthew said “And a cocktail event does not mean less food! We serve just as much food if not more at our cocktail events. People can be scared off by the lack of tables, but that is the point, so guests are out of their seats and socialising. We are generous with our furniture and encourage couples to consider additional lounge suites, ample dance floors, and multiple zones for mingling.”
Matthew also said that Sunday afternoon weddings in February or March can work really well.
“They are often informal and family focussed, and give ample daylight for kids to be a part of the special day” he said. “We suggest a combination cocktail/banqueting event; spend lots of time socialising then be seated for shared main course platters. Start the festivities early afternoon and be relaxing in your bridal suited by 10pm.”
9. Add a personal touch
If you want to create a unique events, avoid just following trends and ending up with a beautiful but “copycat” reception.
“We encourage couples to try and incorporate an element that is personal and unique to them,” Matthew said. “Think Mum’s famous homemade baklava served with coffee, personal handmade bonbonniere gifts, possibly your favourite cocktail served as a welcome drink for guests. Adding even the smallest personal and private element will help make the event something to remember.”
Photo: Lamont’s Bishop House, as featured in our styled shoot – click here to see more and for a full list of featured suppliers