Photo: Olivia Brown Photography, Sandridge Estate NW Tasmania
Venue hire is undoubtedly one of the biggest expenses when it comes to wedding days, and it can be very tempting to cut costs in this area and hire a “blank canvas” venue such as a hall or shed that doesn’t include the big dollar bells and whistles of specialised venues.
Blank canvases can be beautiful and unique but they can come with a lot more considerations and work for bride and groom. It’s easy to be swayed by a pretty location and a low price tag, but to ensure you avoid any wedding day dramas or disasters there are some things you’ll want to double and triple check before booking that blank canvas venue. Think about each of these:
- Is the venue in a residential area? You don’t want your reception party shut down by the fuzz before the sun goes down!
- Capacity of the facilities. If you have one loo and 200 guests you’re in for a bad time.
- Chair and table hire? This can get costly if it’s not included with the venue. Also think about other items such as audio visual equipment, kitchen facilities, lighting, decorations etc. Are these extras?
- Power capacity – lights, audio, fridges, heating/cooling etc. Are you going to end up shorting and being left in the dark?
- Safety of your venue. Smoke detectors, safe exits, hazards, insurances. You want your guests going home happy and safe.
- Some of the best blank canvases can be a little remote. How are your guests getting there and home safely? Will your caterers, DJs, band, wait staff be willing to go the distance? Transport can be pricey.
Venues that specialise in big events such as weddings charge a price that reflects the amount of work and risk that they face. They put in love and labour, with landscaping, cleaning, maintenance, decoration and set up, to get a property perfect and wedding ready.
Communication and availability is one of the biggest must-haves with any venue you decide to go with. There is inevitably a lot of back and forth communication that will go on between you and the venue owner/manager. You want to be able to reach them for the finer details and to view the property multiple times, particularly close to the wedding day. Are they going to be able to provide that time to you? Think about your stress levels here.
A big drawcard for the blank canvas venue is that they are often more free rein; no venue rules and regs to worry about, and you can dance ‘til 5am. Okay, I don’t want to sound like anyone’s mum here but who’s going to be cleaning that up? Even at the most tame wedding there is inevitable party wear and tear. Spillages, glasses broken, floors scratched, driveways churned up, gardens walked through. I went to one reeeally fun wedding where “lively” (a.k.a. uber drunk) guests broke in excess of fifty glasses. At $5 a glass the new bride and groom woke up to a very unpleasant surprise bill.
So the bells and whistles at specialised venues can be a little pricey for a reason. They can mean a lot less to organise, a lot less to clean up, a lot fewer hidden extras to pay for and way more time for you to relax in the lead up to your wedding. There is a lot to consider but get your list and check it off — the most important thing is for you to have a happy and worry-free day.
Words: Amy Farrell