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Good To Know

The majority of venues you visit will provide you with a list of preferred suppliers and service providers.

These suppliers and service providers however, are not necessarily the best in the business. They may also not have been vetted by your venue as reliable or efficient.

In many cases, the people on a venue’s “preferred supplier” list have paid to be there, so do not assume that a “preferred supplier” list contains your best options.

Looking At A Venue?

As a wedding planner I am beyond particular, so when I am looking at a wedding venue I have a long list of questions I ask. Many of these questions will be answered in conversation with the venue staff, and some will be non-applicable for your wedding.

I must stress that if a wedding venue can not find the time to have you visit with a set appointment and someone to meet with, then you should remove them from your “potential venue” list. Any venue that claims to be too busy to be able to make an appointment to see you and show you around their premises clearly doesn’t need your money.

Here are the questions I ask when viewing a venue:

  • Are the candelabra included in the venue hire (check what is available for look and quality)?
  • Are there adequate bathroom facilities?
  • Are there enough chairs for the ceremony venue or will you need to hire more?
  • Are there other weddings taking place on the same day?
  • Are there restrictions for photography?
  • Are waiters and barmen included in the venue hire?
  • Can you get dressed on the premises, is this room included in the venue hire (if you’re doing everything in one location) and what time can you get there to begin preparation?
  • Can you spend your wedding night on the premises and is it included in the venue hire?
  • Can you use your own suppliers and vendors?
  • Do you allow candles and open flames (this also applies to fireworks, flying Chinese lanterns, candle-lit walkways)?
  • Do you have noise restrictions (this sometimes happens if residences have been built up around a venue since it was opened)?
  • Does the venue have a a problem with you bringing a coordinator with you (keep in mind that a wedding venue’s own coordinators are looking after the venue, not the bride)?
  • Does the venue have a coordinator you can work with (keep in mind that a wedding venue’s own coordinators are looking after the venue, not the bride)?
  • Does the venue supply a PA system?
  • How far is it from the ceremony venue from the reception venue?
  • How far is the parking from the ceremony venue?
  • How far is the parking from the reception venue?
  • If you’re thinking of an outdoor ceremony and reception, is there an adequate back-up plan at the venue?
  • Is confetti/ rice/ streamers allowed after the ceremony?
  • Is cutlery and crockery included in the venue hire (check what is available for look and quality)?
  • Is decorative draping included in the venue hire (check what is available for look and quality)?
  • Is it pretty enough to take photographs (try to visit the venue at the same time of year and time of day as you plan to get married, summer flowers and greenery are often gone in winter)?
  • Is it wheelchair accessible?
  • Is table linen included in the venue hire (check what is available for look and quality)?
  • Is the clean-up fee included in the venue hire?
  • Is the dance floor big enough once the tables have been set up (5mx5m is usually enough)?
  • Is the venue available for your date?Is the venue big enough for your wedding (or too big)?
  • Is the venue easy to find?
  • Is there a generator?
  • Is there a minimum requirement for food and beverages, and are there consequences for not fulfilling the minimum?
  • Is there a payment schedule option?
  • Is there enough secure parking on the premises and is it included in the venue hire?
  • Is there space for the band/ DJ in the reception venue after the tables are set up?
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • What is the corkage fee (a bottle of wine per table can be costly as you pay for each one opened and not everyone drinks wine, consider letting people order it if they want it)?
  • What is the expected turn-around time for communication during the planning process?
  • What time can set up begin?
  • What time does the venue close at night and are there overtime charges?

Apart from this long list, I suggest you ask for a sample contract to read through before they draw one up for you.

AnGlug Wedding – The Venue

After I dragged my fiance to 17 different venues, and we rated, photographed and reviewed them, we chose Helderfontein Estate as the perfect place for our wedding.

Helderfontein Estate scored the highest on our ranking list after we’d visited all the venues, and the criteria we looked at included ample secure parking, a big enough venue to have space to move between the tables and still have a decent size dance floor, a chapel on the same property, overnight space for us and for our guests, and close to home and family.

Another issue was that the venue had to look pretty in winter as we were planning a July wedding. This was also why we started looking at venues in June and July the year before we got married. Many venues look exquisite in summer, but winter means no flowers and no green grass and no ivy… then they’re not pretty at all.

Helderfontein was beautiful when we went to see it in the middle of winter in 2009. The huge stone building that in summer is covered in ivy are very striking in their own right in winter. The reception hall was more than big enough for everything we had planned, they had ample secure parking and they have over 50 rooms available for overnight guests!

On our wedding day, we each had a room to get dressed in and they were on opposite sides of the property so that we wouldn’t accidentally see each other. We did the majority of our photographs before the ceremony to make the most of the available light and we had more than enough beautiful places on the property to take photographs including these huge stone walls and dams on the property.

That night, after the reception, we had the honeymoon suite to sleep in! The underfloor heating as well as the bed’s electric blanket had been switched on and there was champagne chilling in an ice bucket… ooh and a platter of eats and snacky things like cheese and biscuits and strawberries!

It was fabulous. We had breakfast with our parents early the next morning before we set off on honeymoon, and the best part about outsourcing everything was that we only had to take our clothes and gift home with us!

Oakfield Annual Bridal Expo

A Bridal Expo with a difference and the one that no couple should miss! Our Expo at Oakfield Farm enjoys a terrific reputation as a laid back Expo, where couples get to meet SA’s leading Wedding Specialists in the beautiful and romantic gardens of this sought-after wedding venue.
From rings to photography – more than 100 Wedding Specialists will be on display. Not only do you get to meet these people personally but many offer “show specials” that are too good to miss.
Entrance Fee: R100 per car includes the Bridal Library Magazine – Oakfield’s fabulous full colour bridal magazine. This magazine is full of inspiration and helpful advice to make your wedding marvellous.
Bring your mom, your friends and your fiance to enjoy a fabulous day in the country.
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Ranking The Venues…

Well, you know by now that my Glugs and I visited a lot of venues… fourteen to be exact. This is a lot more than the average couple does I can assure you! Some of you have asked about how Glugs and I were scoring and ranking them, so I thought I’d show you.

I’ve attached a picture of a portion of the ranking sheet I made up, and you can find a blog post about most of the venues with pictures I took when we were visiting them.

Some of them we visited by making appointments, and some we dropped in literally because we drove past it and had the time.

Many of them impressed me mightily, but some disappointed me dreadfully.

Many didn’t even get back to me when I emailed them asking about a viewing!