weddings

"The one thing nobody told me about picking a wedding venue."

As a fiancee of about two months, I am relatively new to the world of wedding planning. And what a world it is.

Until you’re in it, you can’t truly believe the amount of minutiae details you will need to consider while making decisions based on an overwhelming number of options.

Just perfect for someone as indecisive as I am.

But I’m also a researcher by trade and was ready to arm myself with as much information as possible to help my partner and I plan our wedding – starting with the venue.

I asked for recommendations and poured through wedding websites, blogs and Google images to find a location I could see myself getting married to my fiance at. I booked the visits, and we asked all the questions and considered ourselves well-versed in wedding jargon.

So when we were five site inspections deep in our hunt for the “perfect” wedding venue, I was disappointed to realise there was a dilemma I couldn’t research my way out of: what venue to actually pick.

Each place that offered both a ceremony location and reception space had pros, cons, fabulous features, beautiful scenery, and delicious-sounding menus.

It wasn’t too difficult narrowing our shortlist from five to three locations. Then with only a little more effort, we managed to rule out another venue and take the options down to two. But that was when the true angst began.

We spent hours deliberating, questioning, Instagram-stalking, comparing, list-making and reviewing.

Ben, my partner, was going through details, making sure we’d asked all the questions and trying to figure out which venue would suit us and our guests best. I was doing this too… only I was also waiting for a moment of clarity, a moment when I would just know which was the right venue for us.

We’d given ourselves the deadline of Friday to decide, given that our preferred date at one venue was only on hold for a week. But on Friday night we were still pouring over the brochures.

Then after about an hour of decision-making discussions, Ben had made up his mind. I continued to argue the case for the other venue, only for my partner to tell me to stop, because he could see a spiral of arguments and counter-arguments forming that he didn’t think I could escape from. He left the room and I sat, starring and a photo of a happy couple, feeling like choosing a venue was impossible.

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And then it hit me. That moment I’d been waiting for – that epiphany, that “oh this venue is the one” was never going to happen.

Because the thing no one tells you about picking a wedding venue is that there is no “aha!” moment when you realise why one venue is far superior to the other. You just… choose. When we made our decision, the other venue didn’t stop being a fantastic place to hold a wedding –  we just had chosen not to have our wedding there.

In fact, I’m sure we would have been equally happy right now had we chosen the other venue instead. Because there was no right decision to make, nothing that made one superior over the other, we just had to pick one.

I know this may sound obvious to some – but judging by the dozens of questions on dozens of forums I found from desperate engaged people asking variations of “how to decide between two venues” – to others, it’s really not.

On those forums, I found plenty of opinions, but nothing that truly helped. So with that in mind, I’m sharing what I’ve learned.

You just need to pick a venue, and – and this is the key here – sit with that decision long enough for it to stick.

For me, after a couple hours of random pangs of “am I making the right decision?” the other venue began to fade from my mind. The fear that I’d regret our decision had been replaced by joy and relief that we had made one.

And by the next morning, when we called the venue we’d chosen to host our wedding, all I could feel was overwhelming excitement. I was ready to take on the rest of my wedding planning with a newfound sense of confidence in my decision-making ability…

Until I started looking at photographers.

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