Choosing a wedding venue used to be a simple matter of numbers, budget and location, but many modern couples, with their love of photography, fine food – and social media, are discovering they have other factors to consider.
Of course, it depends on the couple: foodies might search for a venue that serves sensational food, while romantics might lean towards a venue with sentimental value.
But for many, there is one consideration that simply can’t be overlooked – finding a venue will look amazing in the photographs.
While 30 years ago, people might have married at the local Church or reception centre and then posed a series of simple group photos outside, these days people are, often, looking for a venue that is going to feature in their photographs almost as much as they do.
“I think social media has a lot to do with that aspect,” says Kirsten Russell of HostCo, who offer boutique wedding venues in the sublimely beautiful heritage setting of the University of Sydney.
“Photography has become more important to people because of that social media platform. Couples are definitely looking for a wedding venue that is going to impress their guests but also look amazing in their photographs.”
Many couples will walk through and around their wedding venue several times before the event to find the most picturesque and quirky locations for their photos, to ensure there is no delay on the day.
It can be helpful to look through other wedding photos taken at the venue for ideas, or to talk to the venue consultants. The wedding specialists at the University of Sydney have been assisting brides and grooms for more than half a century.
“For example, here at the University of Sydney there are a so many absolutely sumptuous heritage buildings. People often think about the amazing sandstone quadrangle but we have found a lot of other picturesque spots. There are a lot of secret gardens, quirky laneways and other nooks we have found over the years.
“There’s even a tunnel covered in graffiti which works really well in photographs. It’s a venue that appeals to those wanting a more modern wedding, as well as those who are leaning towards a traditional style.”
Kirsten says choosing a location can be a daunting task. While budget and location are important factors, finding a venue that fits with the look of their wedding is often right up there on the wish list.
“Historic venues are really popular because they create a feeling of otherworldliness and romance,” Kirsten said. “Other times, a couple will choose a venue for a sentimental reason. For example, we have had couples marry here who were attending the University of Sydney when they met.”
When choosing a venue, most couples find it easiest to start with a rough idea of numbers before they start looking at their options, as it makes it a lot easier to narrow down venues.
They also need to settle on a budget, decide what time of year they want to marry, and have a reasonable idea of location – ie. the CBD, a country town, a tropical island, etc.
“One of the things people enjoy about having their weddings here at the University is that the ceremony, photographs and reception can all be at the same place.
“In a city like Sydney, where it can take a long time to get anywhere, it can make the day a lot more relaxing and enjoyable for both the wedding party and guests if they can stay in the same place.”
She also said having the wedding ceremony and reception at one venue meant only dealing with one consultant for the whole event, rather than liaising with several.
Kirsten said people should not forget to consider practical details, such as accessibility of the venue, proximity of accommodation if guests are coming from far away, and on-site car parking.
“It might not be the first thing people think about, but we have a lot of people comment on how easy it is to get here by public transport, and the fact that there is a lot of car parking. We’re only 4km from Sydney’s CBD.
All those little things really do make a difference on your big day.”