Here are a few of my ideas for the selection of your wedding venue. In general, it revolves around how many people, and what your budget it. There are many great free locations in the capital region, but these tend to be outside, and in the river valley area.
- Accessibility: can people with mobility issues get to the location (there are some amazing spots in the river valley, but your grandfather may not want to walk down 60 wooden steps and a half mile of trails to get there).
- Weather Plans: If the weather is poor, what is the backup plan? “Umbrellas” is not a good answer when there is a severe weather warning from Environment Canada.
- PA System: Does the venue supply a microphone? Is there someone there at the time of the ceremony to help with problems with the system? Are there spare batteries and backups for wireless microphones? Is the microphone a wired microphone, and there will be a long cord dangling across the front?
- Power: Is there proper power for the DJ or musicians; is there power for the PA system? Does the location of the power mean that the speakers are at the back of the venue, meaning there is awkward feedback or delay feedback on the microphone for the speakers?
- Stage/Platform: If it is a bigger guest list, is the front elevated so that the people in the back of the audience can see? If there is a stage or platform, is there a sturdy set of stairs that are wide enough for the couple to walk up and down together? Is the stage big enough for the entire wedding party as well? It is surprising how many venues do not have a good solution for larger wedding parties.
- Entrance: Is the aisle wide enough the people that are walking in together (factoring in big dresses on some people!) Are people in heels going to be walking on grass, or loose mulch? Have you let the guests know that there is a 400 meter walk to the seating area on wet grass?
- Room(s): Are there rooms for the couple to hide out in? If they are not seeing one another before the ceremony, will there be a dedicated spot for them to get ready, and be removed from the audience?
- Bathrooms: I have seen venues that are booked for 200+ people, and there is 1 or 2 port-a-potties. And when you have 200+ boys and girls trying to fix their hair and makeup, or the venue is a 45 minute drive for everyone that had a lot of coffee that Saturday morning, I have seen massive lineups.