It’s often the first decision made – and one that dictates lots of choices going forward. Here, Gulf Harbour Country Club’s Kim Bond tells how to choose a venue you’ll love.
What's the first thing a couple should look for when they visit a venue?
Exceptional customer service. Pleasant, well-trained and efficient staff members – whether it’s the wait staff, the manager or the chef – will go a long way towards creating the perfect day.
What decisions should a couple make before they think about venues?
The number of guests they want to invite. This will automatically rule out a lot of venues, saving you a lot of visiting time.
How should a couple begin their venue search?
Think about your priorities. Do you want a blank-canvas venue that you can decorate to your heart’s content? Or would you rather let sweeping seaside views steal the show? This will help you decide what kind of spot to look for. Whatever you choose, be sure that it has both indoor and outdoor options. Gulf Harbour Country Club, for example, offers panoramic views over the marina, ocean and golf greens and a deck on which to enjoy them, but also has a spacious lounge for indoor partying. That flexibility is key to a stress-free day.
Are there any common hidden costs couples should watch out for?
It will vary venue to venue, but couples should be sure to request a full breakdown of costs before signing any contracts. Venues can charge for anything from bringing your own cake to staying overtime, so avoid an unexpectedly large bill by having a clear idea of these components upfront.
What are some great ways you've seen couples decorate?
The most memorable weddings are always the ones that are the most personal to the bride and groom. We had one couple who loved surfing and showcased this by decorating the tables with driftwood and seashells.
Are any particular menu options trending at the moment?
Think fresh: couples are turning towards organic food sourced locally. Another big trend is to turn the menu into something of an experience; we once had a couple ask for an oyster bar station and the chef shucked oysters in front of their guests.
What's your top piece of advice for brides to be?
Don’t try to be superwoman and do everything yourself. Weddings take a lot of planning, so get family and friends to help you. And decide on a theme and stick to it – this will enable you to streamline and simplify your organisation.