I am crazy about weddings… they. are. awesome. I mean, when else in your life do you get the chance to gather all of the people you love most in the world together, put on a massive party and dance the night away – and all in honour of the fact that you have just married the most amazing person you know. It’s seriously got to be the best day ever. But, (and I hate to have to mention a but) wedding planning can be tricky. There is a whole lot that goes into planning one of these epic celebrations and that generally starts with picking a date, followed closely by finding a fitting Hunter Valley Wedding Venue.
This is why I thought I would share 5 tips that might help you choose your Hunter Valley Wedding Venue… and as always, if you have any questions or need any help, get in touch! I’m always happy to help as much as I can…
1. SET A TENTATIVE BUDGET
Sigh. I really didn’t want to begin with such a boring topic – but you have to admit, it is pretty darn important. Your budget can play a huge role in narrowing down your choices when you start to look around at venues! When choosing a venue, keep in mind what’s included – do you still need to hire additional tables and chairs? What about extra lighting? Do you need to organise & pay for catering or is it included in your quote? Don’t get caught out with surprise costs – ask the venue owner or event manager exactly what additional items need to be brought to the venue to get a fully informed idea of the total hire price.
Now, I did use the word ‘tentative’ in front of the word budget, because as someone that gets very involved with my brides planning process, I realise that despite all good intentions, wedding budgets have a tendency to stretch. From my experience, 99% of my brides experience the good old budget blow-out – so if this happens to you, you are certainly not alone! Just remember to prioritise what’s important so that you’re spending your hard earned coin on the right things and maybe saving a little on the not so important… (however, this will be different for every couple!)
2. THINK IN GENERAL AREAS FIRST…
Start to think of the general areas you might like to wed – hence making the venue search much easier on yourself. Consider things like availability of accommodation (for example, will it be peak holiday season or school holidays), consider how far your guests will be willing to travel and how much it will cost them. What about what sort of vibe you want for your wedding, city vs country? As an example for my For my JFL NSW brides, the Hunter Valley is full of incredible options when it comes to planning your wedding – there’s plenty of local accomodation and it’s not that far to the Newcastle Airport. My favourite venues would have to be Tocal Homestead, The Convent Hunter Valley & Stonehurst Cedar Creek. For my JFL QLD brides, I have a lot of couples get married in the hinterland areas of the Gold Coast & Sunshine Coast. There are some amazing wedding venues that make a wedding feel like it’s a destination wedding but they are still quite close to accommodation, taxi & airports – all that important stuff. Some of my favourites are Deux Belettes & Summergrove Estate (Gold Coast) and Maleny Manor & Spicers Clovelly Estate (Sunshine Coast).
Just remember, if you are planning a super remote wedding or getting married abroad, it is best to find wedding vendors that you connect with and consider paying a little extra to have them travel to your wedding, rather than just settling for local vendors. This will mean that you can really get to know them in the lead up to your big day, rather than just meeting in person when you arrive at your chosen location. I honestly believe, the better you get to know your vendors, the better your experience will be (and from a photographers point of view, the better your photos will be!)
3. ASK OTHER WEDDING VENDORS FOR THEIR ADVICE
Once you have narrowed down the area you want to get married in, don’t be afraid to reach out to other local wedding vendors to ask for their advice. Remember, they will have first-hand experience working at many of the local wedding venues and might also be able to suggest a couple that you haven’t found yet. I know that as a wedding photographer – I am always looking for new, up & coming venues to tell my brides about, scouring instagram for any that might catch my eye. Just last week I stumbled across a brand spanking new Sunshine Coast venue that has just officially opened – called Logwoods. I did a blog post all about it, click here to find out more!
4. LOOK AT ONLINE WEDDING BLOGS FOR INSPO
Wedding blogs are an awesome source of inspiration when it comes to finding wedding venues (and other vendors actually!) Plus, the bonus thing is that they typically only feature gorgeous weddings so you get to see different wedding venues in their full glory. My favourites would have to be: Wedshed, Polka Dot Bride & Nouba! Why not grab a cup of tea, or glass of wine and scroll through some of their recent posts – I can think of no better way to start the venue search that that!
5. USE GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH
A great way to find new venues or venues that might not be as well known is to enter a region name plus the word ‘wedding’ into Google (For example: ‘Hunter Valley + wedding’). Then, click on Google images and scroll through previous weddings that have taken place in the region. Often this will lead you to local wedding photographer’s blogs featuring celebrations held at exciting spaces you may never have found by doing a standard Google search! Google Image search is your best friend – especially if you are planning a destination wedding or might be short of time to go and visit all the potential venues in your area in person!
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