We completely get where you’re coming from if you’ve ever wondered about this.
See, we asked it ourselves too. When we first started searching for wedding venues for both ourselves and for friends, we were kind of stumped when it came to justifying the costs.
Here are some of the questions that came to mind:
When we first started developing WedShed, we began managing one of our venues hands-on to get some insight into what happens on the venue-side of the wedding biz. This particular venue provided both holiday rentals on Airbnb and Stayz, as well as offering the space up for blank-canvas, DIY-styled weddings.
What we realised was that there’s a big difference between renting a property for a weekend get-away and for a wedding. We also spoke to a bunch of different venue owners to get their thoughts on this topic too. And in order to shed some light on this sometimes sensitive question, we wanted to share some of the reasons why venues are more expensive to rent for weddings.
1) There’s a LOT more venue prep than the average event
No matter the occasion – be it a special birthday, anniversary, Christmas, whatever – weddings trump them all when it comes to the amount of preparation a venue owner will put into the property in the lead up.
Venue owners get that this is a day that you’re only going to have once, and that simply sweeping and pulling a few weeds won’t do. There are many hours of preparation to make a property wedding-ready – and this also means that the venue typically won’t be rented out in the days beforehand which is a potential loss to the venue owner.
Little things that we might all be able to let slide, like a downlight that needs changing or a leaky tap, all need to be sorted before a wedding. It’s got to be looking it’s best for you, your wedding photos and your guest’s experience.
2) There are viewings (and often multiple ones) involved
In our experience, both personally and professionally, almost every couple wants to check out the venue in-person before they book it. And for good reason. You want to be 100% sure that it’s the right fit for the most epic party of your life, right?
We probably viewed our wedding venues 3+ times and this is typical of most couples. The first viewing is to make sure it has the right ‘feel’ for your big day before booking. The second viewing is to drag along mum and/or friends/the entire extended family (hey, it’s happened) to validate your initial suspicion that this is the one. And the third time is where the logistical stuff, like measuring, happens (generally closer to the wedding date).
Each viewing takes up a lot of time – and even money. Again, it means blocking out the calendar to make sure the property is yours to view, which is potentially at the owner’s expense (there could have been other guests staying on site or holding smaller events that day). It means travelling to and from the venue if the owner or manager doesn’t live there, allocating enough time to spruce up the property in advance of your viewing, and spending an hour with you to take you around and answer any questions. All done happily of course, but it’s definitely not something most couples typically think about (us included)
3) There’s a LOT of back and forth liaison
Whether via email or over the phone, there’s a lot of communication that goes on between a venue owner/manager and a couple in the lead up to their wedding. No exaggeration – we’ve exchanged 150+ emails with people in the past.
In the same way that there are plenty of amazing, zen bridechillas out there, there are also people that need to be reassured along the way – and that’s totally fine, it’s just something to consider when understanding a venue’s fee. All that emailing and chat takes time, and, well, time needs to be factored into money when it comes to making a business out of venue hire.
4) There’s also liaison with your suppliers
But it’s not just liaising with you either. Venue owners coordinate with hire companies and caterers in the lead-up to your wedding and on the day to make sure they’re able to do their jobs as easily as possible at the property. Sometimes this means hosting viewings for the supplier in the lead up to the wedding.
5) There’s wear + tear and the cost of insurance and resources (both in utilities and humans)
There’s inevitably wear and tear on the venue that happens at weddings. A lot of it can’t be controlled – say it’s been raining and someone gets bogged and churns up a road – and some of it is just due to fun times, like broken glasses or spillages on furniture.
Even the most angel-intentioned of couples can’t control every single guest. We’ve heard of guests that went AWOL, broke a fence and had a late night picnic in a neighbouring property with a herd of alpacas (and yes, a small part of us wishes we were there, but that’s beyond the point).
There’s additional water usage, electricity costs and other maintenance that comes about as a result of having large numbers of people on a property at one point in time, like increased septic system treatments, driveway upkeep, gardening, etc. And the cost of having the right insurance to make sure that everyone is protected in the event that someone gets hurt or major damage occurs.
Not to mention the actual cost of the venue owner or manager’s time if they’re going to be onsite before, during and after the wedding to coordinate the event (this is a big one)
6) There might be facilities included that you would have otherwise needed to hire
When weighing up the cost of a venue, it’s worth keeping in mind all the bits and pieces that are included, as otherwise these might’ve needed to be rented from a hire company.
For example, if a venue comes with tables and chairs, you’re saving yourself multiple hundreds of dollars in hire costs. And if the venue has a shelter or sorts (be it a shed, barn, permanent marquee, etc) you’re saving yourself multiple thousands of dollars, as that’s how much marquees and teepees cost.
* TIP: if you’re conscious of your budget and trying to decide between a couple of venues, we’d recommend taking stock of what both venues include. If you price up the facilities that are included and then consider what they’d cost to hire, you can get a pretty fair idea about which venue will be the most suited to your position.
7) It’s not over when the wedding is done
Oh no, no, no. There’s rubbish removal, massive cleaning, fixing and replacing things that may have accidentally been damaged and just bringing the venue back to the condition it started in. Again, more time.
8) Venue owners need to make some money
Hey, at the end of the day if the venue owner isn’t covering their time with a little extra in the back pocket, weddings are just a time-consuming hobby. As with any business, there needs to be a little bit of profit involved – and when it comes to wedding venues, it’s definitely not as much as you might think.
We know what some people might be thinking. Perhaps it’s just easier not to mention the ‘w’ word?
It’s a dangerous idea. See possible scenarios below:
At the end of the day, most venue owners (and certainly the ones that we work with at WedShed) are fair, wonderful people who are flattered that you want to share their space for such an amazing purpose. They’re not trying to send you broke and will go out of their way to make sure everything is exactly what you had hoped for. Which isn’t priceless, but it’s pretty good.
Want 17 awesome tips on how to save money on your wedding day? Right here.
Gorgeous image above by Studio Something.
Photo by Alex Marks Photography.
Curfew. It’s a word we’ve all never really associated with good things.
It probably stems from teendom – curfews hung over your head, signalling the impending end to fun times, as well as cranky parents if they were abused.
Then, for a glorious period, curfews disappeared. You became a grown-ass person and you got to call the shots on when the night wound down.
But if you’re planning a wedding, we’re very sorry to say, but the original c-word is back. Almost every venue will have a curfew, and we feel it’s about time we addressed this fact with honesty and a bit of logic.
Curfews suck. We get it. We didn’t want them for our weddings either. Our friends and family were at our weddings to celebrate our love – not to cause riots and destroy property. So why the need to potentially close the curtains on the celebration early?
But then we managed a wedding venue. And we finally understood why curfews are (and we’re sorry to say this) 100% necessary
Why do wedding venues have a curfew?
We’ll break down some of the reasons below:
Most wedding venues don’t have a choice – they are required by council to wind the party down at a certain hour. If they don’t, they are subject to fines or to having their event licence to host weddings revoked. Not ideal as you can imagine.
Can you imagine if almost every weekend of the year your neighbour held a bender that went until the wee hours of the morning? Reckon it might strain the relationship? Our venue owners are part of their local community and it’s in their best interests to keep the peace. Plus, no couple wants the police turning up at their wedding to crash the party and turn the music off.
We’re just going to say it: a lot of your guests are going to get drunk. Free alcohol and intoxication go hand-in-hand. Not to mention the fact that if you have any wait staff providing a drinks service it quickly becomes difficult to keep track of how much you’ve consumed.
With inebriation comes a loss of inhibitions. The later the night, the higher the chances of accidents happening. Many venues have open waterholes, barbed wire fences, surrounding bush or busy roads nearby. We know, we know – your mates are probably responsible legends and the chances that they might go AWOL and get into trouble are probably slim… BUT there’s still a significantly higher chance of something going awry after 1am and two bottles of champers.
It’s important to venue owners that you make it home in one, safe and happy piece, which is another reason curfews are important.
Next day pack up
It’s a lot harder to pack up a wedding when there are guests crashed out across the venue. Which is liable to happen when there’s no curfew and the party continues into the early hours (no judgement here – we’d be there until the end too).
Licensed servers leave (and the bar closes)
You might not know this but if you’re having your wedding at a venue that doesn’t have an alcohol licence, you’re still *technically* required to arrange your own liquor licence.
Don’t worry, we didn’t know this either – and the good thing is if you’re working with a catering company (which most people do), they have the licenses, RSA and insurances to make sure you’re sorted in case anything goes wrong.
But the catering team inevitably needs to clock off at some point in the night, which means the (official) drinks service will stop. So you might as well either wrap the party up or move on elsewhere (more on this option below).
So, how can we get around the fact that there's a curfew?
Here are some suggestions we have
Start everything earlier
Everything. Earlier ceremony, first dance, meal, speeches. Have a lunchtime wedding. Basically, give yourself the maximum amount of time to celebrate and make the most of the dance floor so you feel like you’ve had an epic long party by the end.
If you know that there’ll be a solid contingent of guests that are keen to kick on after curfew, arrange an after-party at a local bar or hotel that will still be open. You can let guests know that a bus will be arriving at the curfew time to transport the party people to the next destination. The only thing to remember is that not everyone may be allowed in (don’t forget what we said earlier about people getting intoxicated).
New Year’s Eve wedding
Some venues will be a bit more lenient on the curfew if it’s NYE. After all, the party can’t really wrap up before midnight.
Plan a recovery session the next day
Have an amazing wedding, go to bed and then get up the next day knowing you’ll continue to enjoy your friends and family’s company because you’ve organised a get-together.
Whether it’s a recovery brunch where you consume the leftovers or a pub lunch, we loved enjoying all our guest’s company the next day. And it made saying goodbye on the wedding night easier.
Private property wedding
If a curfew is an absolute deal-breaker and you really can’t handle one of the solutions above at one of our lovely venues, consider asking if any friends or family know someone with a farm that would be open to hosting a wedding. And then tell them to get in touch with us to list it on WedShed ;).
As much as many venue owners would love to allow you to kick on past their assigned curfew, the consequences and penalties can be harsh. And it’s just not worth risking extending their curfew for one wedding, because it can jeopardise all the weddings to come.
Here’s a good way to look at it. Your wedding will be one of the best days of your life. You will be surrounded by all the people you love. You will have so much fun for hours and hours on end. So maybe it’s just not worth burdening yourself with unnecessary worry about a curfew, or the responsibility if something goes wrong if you go past it.
Just focus on enjoying the entire day – and then go home and consummate your marriage. There, we’ve found the silver lining of a curfew.
Want more no-BS wedding advice? You’ll find it here.
A craze taking the wedding world by storm is the "Westival" - a wedding-meets-festival. Maleny Retreat is the perfect blank canvas wedding venue to create your very own Westival ... wedding festival !
Trent and Melitta initially bonded over play dough creations and sand pit adventures. They first met at their pre-school, where they both grew up, on Bribie Island, however it was quite a number of years later and a day at the races that saw them come together.
After six blissful years together, Trent proposed, and what followed was a "westival" at Maleny Retreat. "A westival?", you ask. Indeed, a wedding-meets-festival that has the key elements of a relaxed atmosphere, live music, great food, oodles of space and every friend and every family member that could be gathered to celebrate.
Maleny Retreat is the perfect Sunshine Coast hinterland wedding venue for such an event, and Andrea Thompson was there to capture the day.