Tips For Choosing A Wedding Venue

Romantic Rail journey aboard Rovos Rail. Alexander SmithRomantic Rail journey aboard Rovos Rail
With the help of Siyabona Africa you can have the wedding of your dreams and memories that will last a lifetime. A wedding is a time for happiness, excitement and romance, not a time for stress and frustration. Granted, most wedding preparations turns into one disaster after the other. But this need not be the case. All you have to do is get your priorities in order, and everything else will just fall into place.

One of the first and most crucial decisions that you will have to make is where the wedding will take place, along with your budget and number of guests. Choosing a wedding venue has more to do with your resources and the number of guests you would like in attendance than anything else. The venue forms a major part in the total cost on the wedding, so be prepared.Couples getting married in South Africa have a wide variety of romantic, first class wedding venues available to them. Popular wedding venues in South Africa include pristine beaches, the breathtaking Winelands, a first class hotel and more recently, the amazing game parks of South Africa. This a chance to experience a romantic wedding in the wild. Decide what kind of wedding you want to host.The first thing to do once you have decided on a possible venue is to book an appointment and do a site inspection. Find out if this really is the ideal venue for you. Most venues charge a cost per head for food and drink plus venue hire.

Couples should not only take into account the look and feel of the venue, but also all the hidden costs that come along with it. These costs could include additional hire charge for tables, chairs, lectern, and entertainment. Make up a full list of costs and charges as you go along. Find out what equipment and facilities are included in the cost and what needs to be hired.

Remember that if you have your reception at a restaurant you will not have to hire tables, chairs, cutlery and the rest. If, however, you want your wedding in a marquee or hall, you should take all of these extra costs into consideration and include it all in your final budget.Many wedding venues in South Africa provide equipment such as lectern, tables, table cloths chairs, cutlery, music, catering, waiters etc. Also, if you plan on staying the night at the wedding venue, find out if this is included in the price. After everything is inspected and all questions have been asked, make sure you receive a written confirmation of everything that has been agreed upon.

Important questions that need to be asked

  • What time do you leave the venue and is it extra charge after 24:00?
  • Is there an additional hiring fee for the venue?
  • Is there sufficient parking at the venue?
  • Is the gratuity included in the cost?
  • Is there a time limit for the music especially if the venue is in a residential area?
  • Are the decorations included?
  • What equipment and facilities are included and what needs to be hired?
  • Is there special seating for the elderly and children. Remember children can get fidgety so ask if there are play rooms.
  • Are there disabled facilities if it is needed?
  • Are there changing rooms/toilets on the premises?

Ask yourself

  • Is there suitable accommodation for out of town guests?
  • Is the reception area a reasonable distance from the ceremony and is it hard to find?
  • Will the guests feel comfortable in the venue you have chosen e.g. Disabled, elderly and children?
  • Does the venue suit your budget?
  • Is the venue capable of meeting you and your partners needs
  • Remember that this is your wedding, so do what makes you happy and pick a venue that is ideal for you

Public Areas

With more and more people opting for weddings in public areas, it is important to note a few critical things. Firstly, all weddings or functions in a public area needs to be permitted by the council of that area so make sure you get authorisation in the form of a permit first. Your wedding planner will be able to obtain a permit for you.

An important thing to remember is that the weather is unpredictable. If you are planning a beach wedding, wind can blow sand all over the place. Rain can also ruin your chances of having your dream wedding and you might have to postpone for a day or two so have a back up plan. Also, find out if you are allowed to serve food and drinks. Many public areas do not allow the consumption of alcohol.

Another thing to take into consideration is the curious outsiders that might intrude on your happy day. Find out if you can have a specially designated area closed off from the public so you can enjoy a private and intimate wedding.

Make sure you also organise a clean up crew for after the festivities. Make sure you keep the area clean. Public areas usually have various litter bins so make sure your guests dispose of their rubbish in these bins. Stress to your guests that this is a public area so it should be respected as you would any other venue.

A few things to remember when hosting a beach/public area wedding

  • Can this public area be used for functions?
  • Get a permit
  • If you are having your wedding in a different country or city, find out the rules and regulations regarding public functions
  • Are there rest rooms/changing rooms nearby?
  • Remember that weather is unpredictable. Have a backup plan!
  • Is there facilities nearby for preparing food, washing up, electricity?
  • Can tents be erected if you require one?
  • Can you designate an area to prevent nosy intruders?
  • Many public areas do not allow the consumption of alcohol or smoking
  • Make sure you clean the public area after the festivities are over

Marquee

Having your wedding in a marquee is ideal for large gatherings of guests. If this is your choice for a wedding in South Africa, be sure to book a marquee well in advance.

Keep in mind of all the costs and hiring that needs to be done. Costs for having your wedding in a marquee include the hiring of tables, chairs, dance floor, bathroom/changing rooms, catering and entertainment.

Many marquee hire companies include these things in their charge. Depending on where you are going to pitch the marquee, you will also need water and electricity.

Advantages of a marquee

Your wedding is a personal and intimate day that you want to share with the people closest to you. It should reflect you and your partner's tastes and style. By hosting your wedding in a marquee, you are able to have complete control over the proceedings, decorations and catering.

A marquee offers a unique, romantic and flexible atmosphere. You also have to option of setting up the marquee in your desired location, convenient to you and your guests. In this way you will not have to deal with other fixed venues rules and regulations.

You can pitch the marquee in your own garden and party till the early hours of the morning without worrying about extra charge or departure times. A marquee creates a great ambience and makes guests feel at home and not stifled as they could feel at a posh restaurant or hotel.

The kids will be able to run around in the garden and there will also be sufficient space to set up a dance floor, band or anything else you would want included on your special day.

Important questions to ask

  • What size do you want the marquee to be?
  • How many guests?
  • Location of the marquee
  • Is the location convenient for you and your guests?
  • What equipment is included in the price?
  • How long is the hire period?
  • Does the design your have in mind work with the layout?
  • Is the marquee warm or cool enough?
  • What equipment needs to be hired?

Conclusion

After all that's said and done the important thing is that you choose a wedding venue that suits you and your partner's ideals. Whether you are looking for a formal sit down dinner at a hotel, or a playful ceremony on the beach, anything is possible with practical planning and reliable services. Have a great wedding!
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