Though there are hundreds, if not thousands, of articles online entitled “How to find a wedding venue” – yet not one of them I’ve found actually gives readers any advice as to how and where to actually find a wedding venue.
Quite literally, how do you find wedding venues?
How to find potential wedding venues
Utilise your Best local Wedding Vendors’ Websites and Social Media
To find a beautiful wedding venue that’s right for you, there’s a few ways to start, and my favourite is to browse the best local wedding vendors’ websites and go from there. This gives you the ability to not only find a beautiful location, but also helps you to work out what style of photography, and perhaps even style of wedding you like. Browse google, facebook, instagram, magazines and other wedding blogs for wedding vendors such as photographers, wedding planners, florists, etc, and have a look at their portfolio.
Wedding photographers especially will feature their most beautiful weddings on their site, and you’re likely to come across wedding venues you’ve never seen before too. Not only that, but you’ll discover the best local photography spots and hideaways nearby those wedding venues – which can be huge drawcards too, and help you choose a wedding venue.
Social Media Stalking…
P.S. Get stalker-ish: Scroll through photos to see if there are any pictures showing a wedding hashtag that you can creep on via instagram (couples often put it onto a sign that ends up in the wedding photos). This way, you’ll get a more personal look at the venue through the eyes of a guest, as well as seeing the professional photos.
This is also a great way to see an honest view of the wedding venue, or another vendor’s work. When researching your wedding venue or any other vendor, have a look at photos tagged on instagram both at the venue (location tagging) and also tagging the profile. I even included this as a tip to avoiding wedding scams.
For a DIY/BYO Wedding Venue
If you’re willing to do a bit more organising yourself, creating your wedding venue from scratch can be hugely rewarding, and it also gives you a huge availability of venues you potentially hadn’t thought of.
Depending on the size of your wedding, you may be able to hire a family home or farm, from where to DIY your wedding. For DIY New Zealand wedding venues there are a couple of Wedding Vendor Directory websites specifically for this including Backyard Weddings, but otherwise look on Air BnB, Book a Bach, and/or whatever your local Rental Home website is. Even if you can’t rent an entire house for the wedding, you may be able to find a piece of land to put a marquee on, or access all kinds of creative spaces without spending a fortune (and while giving back to the local community).
Read more if you are planning a marquee wedding, to know what you’re getting yourselves into.
For a Cheap Wedding Venue
If you’re on a small budget, the DIY/BYO wedding venue option above may suit, but you also might want to consider local Council websites to find public and council-owned spaces. If you’re getting married in New Zealand, you have the luxury of being able to get married literally anywhere (other countries don’t have this privilege). Many beaches do not require a special permit for small informal weddings, though of course you should organise a back-up venue too. Just be aware that you do have to specify the location on your marriage licence.
Consider a Destination Wedding
Lots of couples are opting to have destination weddings, which can (surprisingly) be easier. Most couples having destination weddings have a smaller guest list, and thus can save lots of money on the budget, and often have a wedding planner in the destination to take care of the majority of planning too.
It may surprise you that an all-inclusive destination wedding can actually be a cheaper option too, depending on where you go of course – Rarotonga has some great options.
Just remember, the more remote the wedding venue you choose, in Samoa for example, the smaller the pool of local wedding vendors (celebrants, bands, florists, etc.) to choose from. Check on tourism websites for any major events that might mean there’s a shortage of beds for visitors, and check the WHO and CDC for warnings against risks like Zika virus if you expect pregnant family and friends to attend.
Ask Married Friends for their Favourite Wedding Vendors (and ask them for help)
While you may not want to marry at the samewedding venue as a close friend, especially if your weddings are only a season apart, you may be able to ask their favourite wedding vendors for recommendations, or find out which other venues they considered.
Wedding planners, stylists and florists for example will work closely with many wedding venues, and may even work on styled shoots at brand new wedding venues, and can help you discover something special. It was really important to us to have a unique wedding venue at which we hadn’t attended a wedding, or seen many weddings at, and we were able to find one through our wedding photographers.
Be Flexible and Open-Minded when Finding a Wedding Venue
While you shouldn’t settle for something you don’t absolutely love, if you can be flexible and open minded when finding, and visiting your potential wedding venues, you may just surprise yourself with something really unique. There are so many things which can be done to transform most spaces from bare to breathtaking, if you’re willing to look with an open mind.
Once you have found a few potentials, choose your wedding venue carefully, do your homework and ask all the right questions, and don’t rush into making a booking before you’re certain of all the little details. For everything else you need to plan your wedding, head to the index on here and check out the award winning wedding planner, the little white book.