The VENUE Game

It’s the most exciting, yet overwhelming part of Wedding Planning. Securing the date and finding the venue that you’ve dreamed of all your life (no pressure)! Everyone’s asking you when and where you’re getting married, you literally just got engaged, you’re feeling overwhelmed and unsure how to start.

Let us help you! The venue is one of the most important decisions in the planning process, and there are SO many elements to consider. Don’t rush this part, don’t jump in if you’re not fully ready to commit to the planning process yet, don’t make rash decisions. You’ll know, when you know. After all, you did say YES and land the perfect Fiancé, follow your heart and everything will fall in place. Trust yourself.

Now before you jump in, make sure you have established these 4 very important details first:

  • Guest Count

  • Budget

    • Remember from the Budgeting Blog Post - the venue (if including food & beverage) should be 40-50% of your total budget

  • Location

  • Season/Date

Begin the search, here are some of our favourite online tools for venue hunting:

Wedding Wire:

Event Source:

The Knot:

Narrow down your list to top 3 (4 max) and book in person site visits to see them. You really can have too many options, so be diligent with your research and narrow down the list before going in person, otherwise you will be overwhelmed. Send e-mails inquiring: ask questions like pricing, date availability, guest count; the more you know before you see the space the more you avoid disapointment.

We suggest you don’t bring too many people with you either, keep it simple, yourself, your fiancé and/or your wedding planner. Once you’ve found the one (even after you’ve booked it) you can bring your family & bridal party. When venue searching, there is such a a thing as too many chef’s in the kitchen.

Think out of the box, if a traditional venue (Banquet Hall, Hotel or Event Space) is not up your alley or maybe too large explore creative options such as your favourite restaurants, private home rentals or unique rental locations. Here are a few great links for unique spaces:

This Open Space:

Wedding Wire (Restaurants):

Venuement (Toronto only):

Here are some questions/considerations you should know when visiting the venue:

  • What are the designated Ceremony vs. Reception vs. Photo areas?

    • Double check the guest counts

  • What is the rain plan (both for the party/photos)?

  • Is there a rental price or a food & beverage minimum?

    • Consider different days of the week for savings, or timing of how long you have the space (evening vs. full day). How much time you have for set-up is important too!

    • Some venues have different gratuity rates, and/or coordination fees. Make sure you get all the numbers upfront to avoid surprises later.

  • What dates are available?

    • Ask to put your favourite(s) on hold while you decide

  • What is the parking/guest travel experience?

  • Is there in-house furniture that can be utilized? China, linens, napkins? Is this part of the rental cost or supplementary?

    • Make sure you ask to see the items (chairs, tables, bar units, etc) to ensure you have a sense of whether you’d like to use them or bring in your own.

  • Do they have any exclusive vendors? These are companies like AV, Catering, etc that you are forced to use at that space. Make sure you like their options if that is the case.

    • Do they have a kitchen? Do they have built in AV? If you are bringing in your own vendors it’s good to know what elements are already in house for savings purposes.

  • Be sure to tour the small spaces too:

    • Guest Bathrooms

    • Cost Check (depending on the season)

    • Bridal Suite - can you lock this room for valuables/gifts?

  • Do you love the space bare/as is without any decor?

    • Don’t be fooled by marketing photos, look at the bare bones of the space. Would you be happy if you didn’t add any decor? If you have to add decor do you need a lot of budget to bring it to the level of what you’re looking for?

  • Is the staff nice and accommodating? This is your Wedding planning family for the next year+ after-all.

You’ve found the venue that checks all your boxes, now make sure you ask for a detailed quote before locking it in. Analyze the numbers and make sure you are well aware of all the variables and costs before signing the contract. Ask to see a few sample floorplans and if they have in-house catering, how a meal tasting works?

Now, you’re all set. Lock in that date and the venue & you are ready to work on your Save-the-Date and all the fun details & accents to bring your space to life!

The best is yet to come!


Kalla’s Galas