So you're engaged - now what?

Congratulations! You’ve just got engaged and are feeling on top of the world, but what comes next is guaranteed to give you sleepless nights if not tackled properly and in a timely manner. Planning your wedding day is one of the most exciting things you will get to do but, as many brides before you would confess, there is also much that can go wrong on your big day.

Your wedding day comes and goes so quickly - one minute you’re walking up the aisle with all eyes on you and the next, you’re sipping cocktails on a beach somewhere – it’s a complete blur and it all happens so fast that the details are easily forgotten. Just make sure all the most important arrangements - photographer, wedding venue and guest invitations are prioritised high on your wedding planning list and you’ll be fine!

OK - so you have set the date, both families have agreed on the budget, you’ve chosen your official
wedding party and have started an inspiration scrapbook for all the things you like – dresses, decorative ideas, cake designs, floral arrangements… everything! You have an idea of the guest list and are ready to send out save the date cards.


You are now ready to start sorting through a handful of ceremony and reception locations with a view to meet with the wedding event co-ordinator to talk through packages and pricing.


When it comes to planning your big day, the venue is usually the first major decision you need to make together. Not only is it often the biggest expense, but it is often difficult to plan anything else until this has been finalised, as your wedding venue choice will often decide the style and potential size of your wedding.


Fortunately, the choice of venues these days is incredibly diverse. Couples can choose to pledge their vows at a rustic winery, a beach side retreat, an open park, an ornate cathedral or small country chapel.


Choosing a wedding venue is far more than just locality and finding a spot with charm – instead it's about meeting all the needs you have as a bride. Most importantly your wedding venue MUST suit your personality and the mood you are trying to create for your wedding, be it formal, retro, funky, alternative, relaxed or vintage. It’s about how you want to feel on the day. It also has to be the right size, price and it must compliment the two of you.

Think of your wedding venue as an extension of your theme… this way, you’ll choose with all the right ideas in mind. And since you live in Newcastle or Lake Macquarie, you have your pick of numerous beautiful beach, vineyard and lake venues, stunning hotels, breathtaking landmarks and views.

Start your decision-making process by putting ideas on paper. Start with a list of your dream locations
and then make a practical list of the benefits and drawbacks each provides. Do you want a wedding
with a touch of tradition or do you want a more modern theme? Is being outdoors important? Are
you prepared for a change in the weather? Popular locations like wineries are frequently used as
wedding venues are beautiful and practical but are often booked well in advance.

As your ideas come together, it is also important to be realistic about your own organisational skills and available time. You might find the perfect private beach that seems ideal for a wedding, but managing details like how the reception tent will be delivered and where guests will stay and park can create a
great deal of stress.

Above all, remember that while finding the right venue is partly about pleasing others, it is ultimately your wedding and your special day. So when making a compromise between your vision and what is practical becomes a challenge, just remember that reward will come in the form of a lifetime of wonderful memories.

One final tip... Enjoy the search! Much like that search for the perfect partner, it’s rare to find the right one straight away and the same can be said for your venue. Relish the time spent exploring the options together and make it fun. Finding the right location doesn’t have to be a stressful experience as long as
you learn from each visit. You will know when you have found 'the one' as you won’t be able to imagine spending your wedding day anywhere else!

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