Header image: Glen Ewin.
Your wedding should be among the most special days of your life; You’re surrounded by friends and family, eating amazing food, and dancing to lively music. And yet, it can be an overwhelming day of stress for many people.
In order to keep the day relaxed focused on what’s important––your loved one and making beautiful memories together––it’s crucial to get the things we’ve outlined right.
Most importantly, you don’t want to spend the day playing wedding planner because you want to be able to enjoy your big day, so pre-planning and getting the right businesses involved from the outset are key.
You need to consider a few things when choosing a wedding venue including the atmosphere, size, and location. Your venue can make all the difference in the overall experience you and your guests will have, and it will set the tone for the celebrations.
Spread out, intimate, boho, elegant, casual, cosy, and airy––these are all aspects of your wedding that can be delivered by choosing the right venue.
Some venues are more relaxed than others and some have a more formal vibe. Backyard weddings can be amazing for more relaxed, BBQ vibes, and I’ve seen it done beautifully with a scattering of mismatched chairs, barrels and festoon lights, so don’t feel like it’s all about budget.
More than anything, you want to be comfortable in the location, so ensure you have ample of seating for when everyone catches up with each other and gushes about how beautiful the ceremony was.
If you’re thinking of choosing a venue out of town, always consider organising transport or helping your guests find accommodation to make things easier for them too. They should be able to focus on the festivities (alongside you!)
Food and drink
We all know weddings are known for decadent food and boozy drinks, and it’s important to ensure quality offerings. Make sure you hire a trusted caterer, or that your venue is known to serve up delicious courses accommodating a variety of dietary requirements. And of course, have an epic wedding cake!
Having ENOUGH food is also something to consider, particularly if you’re serving alcohol. You want people to have a solid foundation to ‘celebrate’ from, and if you’re serving up drinks early before a meal, consider finger food so people aren’t too light headed.
Don’t forget those with dietary requirements too! We’ve seen some caterers fail badly when it comes to vegetarians (bowl of lettuce, anyone?) and celiacs, so it always pays to ask the question – what will those people be served?
Who, and how many to invite…. those are the questions….
The main key to crafting the guest list, though, is communication. You and your partner need to be clear in telling each other your plans for the wedding’s size and required inclusions. You may want to start by making a list of “must-invites,” your inner circles, and then decide if you want to expand from there.
One way to do that is asking yourself “who had invited us to catch up (at their homes) in the past 12 months?” and who had invited us to their special day.
Consider people’s personalities too and where to seat those who don’t get along or who tend to steal the show, as you rarely find a wedding without some good old fashioned drama between guests (or family).
This is perhaps the most important element because you can’t determine anything until you’ve worked out a budget! Of course the larger your budget, the larger the venue, guest list, and food and drink offerings can be. However, gorgeous, intimate weddings can be created for a low price.
After all, while all of these factors help create the most memorable, beautiful wedding, the most important thing is celebrating the love of you and your partner. You can absolutely have an intimate wedding filled with lovely music and love for an affordable cost.
Keeping a spreadsheet of quotes and proposed costs can be a good way to track overall expenses and to ensure your budget doesn’t blow out! Starting your marriage with a huge wedding debt hanging over your heads isn’t a fabulous idea.
There’s also plenty of great wedding groups on Facebook too for people reselling everything from wedding arches, to shoe baskets for the dance floor, bathroom signage, table settings, lighting and even dresses.
Let’s face it: Even if everything else at your wedding is planned to a tee, the success of your wedding will be determined by the overall atmosphere, and how much fun guests have on the dance floor. Whether you’re after a DJ to spin dancey tunes until late or a live band or solo artist to set the mood for your wedding––whether that be classical and romantic, bluesy and relaxed, or radio pop and upbeat––the music is crucial.
And the genre of music isn’t all you have to consider, either. There’s also the factors of band size, for how long and at what time of night the group plays, and travel cost.
We spoke to Ed Trainor, the founder of Wasabi Entertainment, Adelaide’s premier wedding entertainment organisation with a diverse range of musicians, who answered our burning questions.
“At Wasabi, we suggest the band commences playing after formalities,” he says.
“Many couples play a Spotify playlist as background at first, and then a band can differentiate the feel of the night pre and post-formalities.”
Trainor says bands will usually play for about three hours, starting around 8:30pm, and that, like everything else, the band size will depend on the couple’s wishes.
“We can tailor everything to cater to the needs of the client,” Trainor says.
“We often suggest anything less than 80 people get a duo, and anything over 100 has a trio or four-piece band, but we really accommodate any budget in terms of the format.”
Another hidden cost to be wary of is the travel cost, with some groups charging large fees. With Wasabi Entertainment, it’s free from Adelaide to McLaren Vale, and there’s a small additional cost after that.
Lastly, not every band is equipped with their own lighting and amps, but many, such as Wasabi, have self-sufficient performers, which is preferred.