And so we begin. D and I have officially begun planning our wedding! After what seems like being engaged forever, the time is here! We are planning to have the wedding in August or September 2014, but as a wedding/events planner I like to be on top of everything so I am starting early! Seeing as it is still early we are mostly doing our venue research and I feel this is going to take some time in itself. My first predicament is deciding if I want to host this event in Toronto or Muskoka, both of which have pros and cons to them.
In the spirit of wedding planning I have decided to do a new series on the blog called Wedding planning. I will be going through the process for myself, but I am also a certified wedding planner, so I am happy to offer a few tips or hints to make the wedding process not so horrible. (And yes it can be horrible, you are spending a lot of money, there is a lot of emotion and there is a ton of stress….this is why event/wedding planners are crazy!)
So lets start our first entry with the venue search!
If you are recently engaged and looking for venues keep in mind that location plays a big role in how early you need to be booking. I have already experienced most weekends in September 2014 being booked or on hold at Toronto venues and it is only January!! If you are looking in a large urban centre such as Toronto, be sure to start looking minimum 18 months before the wedding and to be safe start looking between 20-22 months in advance as dates go very quickly. As for more rural areas 12 months in advance should be plenty. A few venues will only start booking max 18 months in advance (good news for me because I need a bit of time to process my options!). My rule of thumb, earlier is always better, especially because the process can take some time!
A few things to consider as you begin your search:
- Do you have a specific date in mind? If you are easy-going with the dates, like myself and offer a range or a month that works for you, you may be able to look a bit later. If you have a magical date that the wedding must be on… get on booking something ASAP!
- Are you getting married at a church/synagogue/mosque? If you are getting married in a religious space, you must book this first! If you have a church you love, there is only one, there are plenty of venues to choose from for you day! There are many events that take place at churches that may prevent you from getting a specific date. Book your church/synagogue/mosque (or confirm availability for a few dates) then continue your venue search.
- Create a list of questions. Think about what is important to you. What exactly do you want from a venue, this could include:
- where is it located? (how far is the venue from the ceremony site, hotel, your home etc.)
- Do the packages include what you want? (number of courses, bar packages, space for desired number of guests)
- What do the bathrooms look like (this isn’t a question, this is just something EVERYONE should check out on a site visit!!)
- Is there a rain plan?
- What is the typical set up? (not everyone can envision a room, ask the coordinator to describe it to you as if it was set up for a wedding)
- What are your personal needs for a space? Does the space need to be accessible for family/friends? Is there a ceremony space on-site, is there outdoor space. Before you begin your search, make sure you know what you are looking for in a site or what you might want from your venue (sometimes you don’t know until you see it!)
- Don’t be afraid of alternative venues. We are so past the days of traditional weddings. Sure there will always be elements that follow tradition, but the venue does not have to. If you have a place that means something to you and your fiancé, inquire to see if you can rent space there!! Any space can be transformed to suit your needs, if the basics aren’t there you can always bring them in (**caution this can sometimes come at a cost)
Now that you have some ideas, lets begin your search. Wedding planners, the internet, wedding shows, these are the tools you should be using to begin your research. (I will post soon about hiring a wedding planner, cause of course it is a great idea!!! Biased opinion, maybe, but for good reason we can help decrease/eliminate the horribleness of weddings mentioned above!) When you find a few venues start contacting them, for more information and then eventually site visits! Now I broke my own rule this week, but if you are setting up site visits you shouldn’t visit more than 3 in one day. Visiting more than this in one day can become over whelming. I did see 5 in one day, but technically two were for my brother and his fiancé as they are also getting hitched in 2014 (so there is my excuse!)
Now lets check out a few of the venues I saw this week!!
Graydon Hall Manor, North York (the Chapel-or the rain plan!!)
Graydon Hall Manor, North York (Outdoor ceremony/reception space)
Archeo at Distillery District, Toronto (restaurant/function space)
Malaparte at TIFF Light Box, Toronto (wasn’t on my site visit list, but ended up being one of my faves of the day!)
Next stop will be Muskoka for the venue search. Based on my wish list I am still deciding whether Toronto is for me! We saw some great venues, so we will have lots to think about over the next few weeks!!
Until next time day dreamers!