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6 Tips on How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Ceremony Venue in Byron Bay, Tweed Coast, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast

May 1, 2024

Your wedding day is one of the most significant moments in your life. That is why it is important find a venue that is everything you’ve imagined. As a wedding photographer, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing countless beautiful ceremonies in a wide range of venues stretching from Byron Bay, to the Tweed Coast, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast. Selecting the right wedding ceremony venue is a crucial decision that sets the stage for the entire event. It is a reflection of you. In this blog, I will share 7 tips on how to choose the perfect wedding ceremony venue from Byron Bay up to the Sunshine Coast.

So how do you go about choosing the perfect wedding ceremony venue between Byron Bay and the Sunshine Coast? Well there are a number of factors to consider. I have been a Wedding Photographer for over 5 years and I have seen more than 200 weddings across Byron Bay, Tweed Coast, Gold Coast, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, so I know a thing or two that can help you in making the right decision.

1. DOES IT REFLECT YOUR STYLE AND ACCOMODATE YOUR GUEST COUNT?

First and foremost, I think this is one of the most important factors because your wedding day is about YOU and it should be as perfect as it can be. Venues can vary from rustic barns to European feel Villas. As you look through potential venues you want to consider what feel you want for the day and if that venue would reflect that style. That style may also be influenced by the number of guests you are inviting. Are you looking for an elegant coastal wedding with around 60-80 guests? Then certainly check out Figtree in Byron Bay. This is one of my favourite venues to photograph. Maybe you’re looking for more of an outdoor country feel with over 100 guests, if so, check out the Bower Estate, where there is no real limitation on numbers . Or perhaps something a little more elegant with hinterland vibes for a moderate sized wedding, then The Valley Estate is certainly another favourite of mine. Be sure to take into consideration the functionality when making this choice- for example, a small wedding may not fit in large hall while certain formalities may not work in an outdoor space either. So first, I recommend working out the number of guests you want to invite and seeing if the venue accommodates that, then work out what kind of style of wedding it will be. That will help you narrow down your choices.

2. WEDDING CEREMONY LOCATION COMPARED TO YOUR WEDDING RECEPTION VENUE

Location plays a big factor for several reasons: time, the ease of transportation, the style of photos you will receive (city vs country vs beachy), the absence and overall feeling of the event and so on. You need to consider how accessible and practical the venue is for your guests travelling from all sorts of different distances. Is there ample parking for those driving or if you’re arranging transportation, is this practical for them? These types of logistic questions can be answered by the venue you choose and they will have recommended vendors that you can work with.

You need to ask yourself how important time is because believe me time is one thing that flies on your wedding day. If you opt to have a wedding ceremony and reception in different locations, you need to factor in more travel time and this needs to be included in your wedding timeline. If however you choose a venue that can do both the wedding ceremony and reception this means less time travelling and more time spent with the people you love. This depends on what kind of person you are and something you need to decide.

One of the hardest parts of planning a wedding is figuring out your time line, but I have solved this problem for you and written a really handy guide to help you plan your perfect timeline right here. Do check it out, it’s super useful!

Overall I believe that if you have found a venue where you can have both the ceremony and the reception at the same location then you are onto a winner. This will help simplify the whole planning process, managing vendors, saving time and most importantly making sure that everyone can just bask in the day and your love.

3. IS THERE A WET WEATHER BACKUP IN CASE OF BAD WEATHER?

Everyone shares the same fear: ‘what if it rains during my wedding ceremony?’ and believe me, it happens. It happens more often that I would like and there is good reason for this. From Byron Bay to the Gold Coast, the hinterland is a subtropical rainforest which means it attracts above average levels of rainfall, particularly in spring and summer. It can be sunny on the coastline, yet 45 minutes in land, it could be raining. The most popular season to get married is spring and autumn and I find spring is one of the wettest. I believe that autumn and winter is one of the best times to get married because of the consistency in weather and the beautiful light, I wrote a blog about it here. Give it a read as there are a lot of benefits to a winter wedding!

However, it doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, you need a wet weather backup as you never know what could happen. My advice would be to discuss with the venue to find out what kind of alternatives are available. For example, some of my favourite venues like Summersgrove, Valley Estate and Braeside Estate have some fantastic we weather alternatives, a beautiful air-conditioned chapel. The acoustics in these chapels are beautiful so if you have any live musicians playing you down the aisle then these are a fantastic addition and are guaranteed to get the groom’s tears rolling as you walk down the aisle.

4. DOES IT FIT YOUR BUDGET & ARE THEY AVAILABLE?

Okay, so you’ve found the perfect venue, however booking it comes with a hefty price tag. The wedding venue will be your biggest expense on the day. You want to work out what amount yo can allocate to your venue without this taking the majority of your budget. This is a good time to think about your style and the ambience you want to have. For example, do you want an open bar so you can dance the night away with your loved ones? Do you want to arrive in style in a classic car? Do you want an experienced and professional photographer versus your cousin who takes pictures at college? These are all important questions to think about and that will help you to work out how much of your budget you want to allocate to accommodation.

Here are a few little tips on how to reduce the cost of your wedding venue:

  1. Off-peak dates – don’t get married on weekends, school holidays, public holidays etc. Look at a Monday – Thursday wedding
  2. Time of the year – avoid the busy season of spring and autumn. Why not consider winter? Again, there are a lot of pros of booking a winter wedding which I have outlined in my post here.
  3. All-Inclusive Packages – Look for venues that offer all-inclusive wedding packages. These packages can often save you money by bundling services like catering, decor, and even a coordinator. It simplifies the planning process and can be more cost-effective than booking each service separately.
  4. Smaller Guest List – Reducing your guest list is one of the most effective ways to lower venue costs. Smaller weddings typically require less space, and you’ll save on catering expenses. Focus on inviting your closest friends and family to keep the ceremony intimate and personal
  5. Limit Extras and Upgrades – Be mindful of extra expenses and upgrades. While it’s tempting to add special features or customisations, they can quickly increase your costs. Stick to what’s essential and prioritise your spending.

5. WHAT AMENITIES DOES THE VENUE PROVIDE?

When choosing a venue, evaluate what amenities and services they provide. Some venues come with dedicated staff, catering services and in-house wedding coordinators. This can really help to simplify things and take away the stress of planning. Make sure these services fit within your budget and also check if they provide any discounts or packages that can help bring down costs further. It can also be helpful to ask if they offer any special promotions throughout the year that could make booking more affordable for you.

You might also want to consider any special requests. Are you planning an elaborate and sophisticated ballroom wedding and need a symphony? Or perhaps you’re a bit more low key and would just love your fur babies to walk the rings down the aisle. Think about the things which are important to you and ask if your selected venue will accommodate this.

6. YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER’S PERSPECTIVE

This is a big one if wedding photography is important to you. If you have already decided on a photographer before you’ve selected your venue, you might want to check with them and make sure that they have the style and skills that match with this venue. For example, I love natural, organic and beautiful locations that are bathed in natural, golden light. Venues that are elegant and venues that are rustic. Venues such as EarthHouse Byron Bay, Figtree Byron Bay, Summersgrove Carool, Fins Plantation House Kingscliff etc. I do not love weddings in big corporate hotels and casinos or religious weddings in churches. Every photographer has their style so you want to make sure that yours matches up with your desired venue.

IN SUMMARY

I hope these six tips on how to choose your perfect wedding ceremony venue have helped shed some light on some of the really important considerations to make before you start inquiring . If you sit and put pen to paper and think about these six tips, it will help narrow down your options and simplify the whole process and you will end up having a memorable wedding that will truly reflect who you are as a couple.

Over the years I have seen some incredible wedding ceremony and reception venues in Byron Bay, on the Tweed Coast, Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane. If you would like to know more about some advice on your venue and think that your style aligns with mine, head over to my contact form and I can send you some information to help you in your decision making.

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ABOUT ROSS LONG

At home near the sea. Ever-focused on beauty and the thrilling art of creation; found in the moments that leave me breathless and in awe. 

A tenacious visionary with big ideas, Ross is a passionate artist and conservationist who truly loves his work. He's always creating, forever a student, and brimming with wanderlust. His purpose is to evoke wanderlust and inspire people to set our on their own adventures

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