Monday, July 14, 2014

How to plan a wedding in 80 days - choosing the venue

I think the hardest part in planning a wedding is definitely where you will hold the ceremony and reception. Everything else is relatively easy to put together once you have knocked out the biggest parts of the day.

Since we’d already chosen the Empire in Annandale as our ‘engagement party’ venue, that was one less thing to stress about. We never told them it was actually a ‘surprise reception’ as there was no need for them to know. If you are willing to have a low key party, then I would suggest looking around at local hotels/pubs that have nice décor and a spot you can book out to host your guests. We had already opted to have meat and cheese boards as a starter for our food, followed by pizza. On top of that, we had a bar tab running and we provided house wines and tap beers. The Empire has a really great selection of craft beers on tap, so our guests were spoiled for choice.

There were a few people that went up to the bar for some tastings and I thought that was really cool. Our celebrant said she has done a couple of weddings in pubs before where the space is able to be rented exclusively. If we had been able to rent the pub exclusively, we’d probably have done our ceremony there, but we couldn’t since part of the room we were in was open to the public. I know there’s a few places you can rent exclusively, it just takes some looking. I have included a few options below for some Sydney venues that you can rent as function space. Bear in mind that a lot of places have a minimum spend. The Empire had a minimum spend if you held a function after 5pm, but since ours was a lunch time function, we bypassed that requirement.

Our ceremony was originally planned for a park near-by us, but when the renovations on the oval weren’t done this was no longer an option. An ugly brown fence in my pictures wasn’t ideal, so we went to plan B – our backyard. We live in a terrace and the back yard had plenty of room to accommodate our immediate family. The down fall was the rain that we had the week before the week of the wedding (are you following, ha?). The week of the wedding was sunny every day, but the sun didn’t hit the right spots in the yard to dry the mud that had accumulated. One night, Steve, D and I were standing out the back looking at the spot we would have stood and we decided it was a lost cause and we moved to plan C – our dining room.

I remember standing in the dining room feeling a little defeated and wondering how on earth we’d make the place look ‘weddingy’ and how we’d fit 20 people. After moving a few things around and getting a bit more of a visual, it all started to come together. All we needed to do was move the dining table out in to the lounge room and decorate the room with flowers etc.

 And that was that. We had planned our ceremony and 'surprise reception' with minimal fuss. This was all done on a budget too. Not because I couldn't afford a big wedding, but because I am selfish and would rather spend that money on myself. Is anyone interested in a break down of costs? I won't be doing exact costs but ballpark figures..
The Winery , Surry Hills. Group menus start from $55 per person and there are various sized spaces that can be booked out for functions.

The Empire, Annandale. More of a pub/hotel style venue with beautiful decor. There are a few different spaces that can be booked to suit your purpose. Food can be booked from a canapé menu or you can order a la carte meals for guests.

The Passage, Darlinghurst. There is a $40 pp group menu with various sized spaces that can be booked for 10 - 135 guests. 

The Three Weeds, Rozelle. Again, various spaces that can be booked. A large pub with great food. You do have to pay room hire but the charge isn't too expensive.


  1. I am planning my wedding at the moment! We have the ceremony location and venue sorted, DJ, photographer and celebrant.. I've chosen my dress and have my first fitting soon. I feel like I've covered the bases and can worry about the rest as it nears.

    Off to see if I can find your wedding pics.. Nat x

  2. thats a great idea for some nice decor in hotels for a low key party, I think if I do have a wedding party that is what I would do!! love your ideas here :D

    1. Thanks :-) Definitely recommend it, so easy x