Venue – Church, beach or garden?

Church, beach or garden?

By Ashlee Sturme

Church, beach or garden?It is now exactly twelve months until the Big Day and all of a sudden the ‘to-do’ list has tripled in size! Wedding checklists are urging me to book the caterer and photographer, to consider the dress, theme and guest list, and to choose party favours. I am excited about all of this – the only hiccup in the planning comes in the form of a 4kg baby boy, who brings our family size to six, and dramatically reduces our wedding budget!

Wedding planners recommend considering your guest list and budget when looking for your perfect venue. However, it feels like I’m playing the wedding version of paper, scissors, rock – and each time we discuss the wedding venue, it turns into a draw and I know we’ll be having the conversation again!

I’m all for compromise – it’s his wedding, too – but why does he have such different ideas to me? We managed to agree on “no church” wedding without actually even discussing it. While I do have a family church, we’re not overly religious and it didn’t seem to align with our vision of our relationship and our wedding.

I was initially gutted when he said he was against a beach wedding – there is something utterly romantic about the beach, and it’s always been a place that I find peaceful. However, he did say he’d always imagined being married in a garden, so now I have taken him literally and have bigger plans than he could have ever imagined! I’m thinking lanterns in trees, posies in vases, and pretty floral china tea cups, followed by a photo session on the beach. Well, we did say compromise, didn’t we?

That was the easy part. Now where would this garden wedding take place? An outdoor wedding needs to have a back-up plan for inclement weather, and ideally needs be easy enough to get to, have some power access and preferably look as picturesque as a postcard. You also need to consider the location relative to accommodation, caterers etc. Is there adequate parking? Will it be suitable for photos? Are the ceremony and the reception going to take place in the same venue?

I did think that eloping would solve many problems, not least the curse of having divorced parents. More realistically, a destination wedding can be romantic, help weed out a long guest list, and often costs on par with a wedding closer to home.

We talked extensively about a wedding on a tropical island (I can hear it now – the cocktails glasses clinking against a backdrop of gentle rolling waves while I laze by a pool having a facial and hot stone massage…sigh!). But it’s not fair on our closest friends and family who cannot feasibly afford to travel. It also won’t mean as much to us, compared to exchanging vows on a patch of turf that we could revisit and choose with meaning.

It seems that many of the girls I talked to made the final choice on the venue, not the guys.

Robyn said: “I made the executive decision on that one – “outside” was his only input. We had it in a friend’s mother’s garden near the beach, with photos at the beach, and the reception was in town so everyone was near motels.”

For Tanya, her venue kept sticking in her mind. “I kept looking elsewhere and kept comparing prices but deep down I knew I wanted it there …. So I didn’t fight it anymore!”

So as I write, we are still weighing up the options. We’re leaning towards family land to save precious dollars, not to mention the other possibilities this offers – like the ability to plant a tree during the ceremony and watch it grow.

We can also have it looking the way we want, planting specific flowers to create the aisle. We also need trees to hang those lanterns on!In my mind, our Lockets and Lace vintage-themed wedding is really starting to come together.

In the meantime, we’re getting very good at paper, scissors, rock – and I ‘m working on my strategy to ensure I’m the winner when it comes to making decisions about the dress and the music! ♥