5 tips for finding the perfect wedding venue

Venue: Polo Parc Farms – Photo: Emilie Olson Photography

Finding your wedding venue can be a daunting task. I always tell my clients that it’s the most difficult part of the entire planning process. Why? Because the venue choice will determine the date and style of your wedding. It also takes up the biggest portion of your overall budget. Here are 5 steps that will lead you to finding the perfect location for your dream wedding. 

1. Establish the style

There is an abundance of beautiful wedding venues in and around Montreal – how lucky are we! The flip side is that the choices seem endless. Before scheduling site visits at hundreds of venues and feeling even more overwhelmed, the first step is to jot down 3 words that describe the style of your wedding. This will help you stay focused and narrow the search to 3-5 venues.  Here are a few examples:

  • Elegant
  • Modern
  • Rustic 
  • Outdoor 
  • Garden
  • Industrial 
  • Casual
  • Classic

Choosing a venue that fits your style will save you money in the long run because you won’t have to change the vibe of the space. For example, if you choose a rustic venue but want a classic look, you’ll end up paying more for decor to transform the venue with draping as well as elegant linens and chairs. If you book a very modern space but want a garden-style wedding, you’ll have to spend a whole lot on florals to achieve that theme.

2. Set your guest list

A contender for the position of most daunting wedding planning task is setting your guest list. As uncomfortable as it is to determine who will be invited to celebrate the most special day of your life – and who will not make the cut, it’s a crucial step to take before you select a venue.

Couples often underestimate how many guests they will actually end up inviting to the wedding. By setting your guest list from the get-go, you will avoid disappointment and upset down the road. In other words, there is no need to visit and fall in love with a space that only seats 100 people if your list is at 150 guests.

Venue: Espace Canal – Photos: Lisa Renault Photographie

3. Determine your budget

Before visiting venues, I recommend establishing an overall budget for your wedding. The venue, including rental fee, catering and bar service, will take up anywhere from 45 – 55% of your overall wedding budget.

Some venues charge a rental fee, others charge per head. Some do both. Ideally, you should contact venues that you have in mind to get a sense of the costs before visiting. Maybe you’ve seen wedding photos on Instagram of a stunning space, only to find out that the rental fee alone is 50% of your overall budget. It’s best to find out sooner rather than later so that you can find a space that’s just as lovely but won’t break the bank.

Oftentimes, the price points are not listed on the venue’s website but the events team can send you information on their packages before you schedule a visit. Having an Google Sheet or Excel document to compare costs from each venue will help you remain objective and organized!

4. Consider the guest experience

In order for your guests to have a great time, being thoughtful about their overall experience is crucial! The first consideration is parking/transport; you’ll want to keep it simple for everyone. If the venue will be in a remote location, you may opt to rent shuttles that can transport guests so that they can get to and from the wedding safely. Is the space is in the heart of downtown? Find out if your venue provides a valet service to avoid parking frustrations (we all know how difficult it can be to find parking in the city!).

Another factor to consider within the guest experience is capacity. While some venues have a maximum capacity, I always make sure to know what the capacity is for the most comfortable layout so that guests don’t feel crammed.

If you’re planning on having an outdoor component to your wedding, be sure to ask the venue what the contingency plan is for inclement weather. You don’t want to force your guests to stand outside in the pouring rain because there isn’t any space for the ceremony indoors.

Venue: Auberge Willow Inn – Photo: 5 Pound Media
5. Trust your instincts

As a wedding planner, I’ve visited so many spaces with my clients. I always say that it’s like shopping for a house: you need to consider the style, size, cost and layout. One important factor, though, is how you feel when you first walk in the house.

The same goes for the venue. Can you picture yourself getting married there? Does it bring a smile to your face or are you instantly overwhelmed by the notion of the room having to be flipped mid-wedding? Trust your gut feeling!

On that note

If you are finding it difficult to select a venue, don’t be shy to seek the advice of a wedding planner! At le wedding mill, we offer consultation services for couples who need a little extra assistance with choosing their dream venue.

a modern twist on a classic design

I love unexpected pairings of colours, textures and/or styles. They are a beautiful way to create visual interest when designing a wedding. I collaborated with a dream team of creative partners to redefine the classic all-white tablescape with simple modern touches.

Inspired by the wintery surroundings of the venue, I was really keen on creating a monochromatic canvas. We used all white elements with hints of glass and silver. This allowed the varying textures and greenery of the centrepieces to stand out in a big way.

The natural light of the incredible space bounced off the glass elements, from the candles to the charger plates to the chairs. The result is a fresh, light and airy design – and proof that classic can be fun too!

The best part of this shoot was to witness every collaborator’s interpretation of the theme – and how lovely it all came together.

The Creative Team:

On that note

When you think about the design of your wedding, don’t be shy to mix it up a little! For example, do you love the rustic look? Why not add chic elements (think chandeliers, calligraphy) for an unexpected twist? Most importantly, remember to have some fun with it!

Well hello there!

Welcome to le wedding mill’s inaugural blog post! As a wedding planner in Montreal, I am exposed to a whole lot of beauty that is expressed in many ways: the love between each couple, the lovely venues in and around the city and the delicate details of each wedding design. The purpose of this blog is to share this beauty with you, as well we as some behind the scenes of this small but mighty company. I also plan to offer some tips and showcase some of my favorite wedding vendors in Montreal.

Lindsay Kennell Photography

But first…

My name is Michelle and I’m the founder and lead planner at le wedding mill. If I’m being honest, I never expected to be a wedding planner nor did I dream of being an entrepreneur. Now that I have become both of those, it all makes so much sense and I’m truly in my happy place.

Prior to le wedding mill’s official launch in 2017, I worked in the sports marketing, sports entertainment and real estate industries. My heart always fluttered toward the event projects that came across my desk. Back in those days, I also helped friends and families plan their weddings on nights and weekends and loved every minute. Eventually, I was helping friends of friends, then friends of friends of friends — you get the idea.

In the spring of 2017, this #sidehustle grew exponentially and I realized that I had to make a choice: scale back on weddings to focus on the “real” job as a corporate event manager for a company or go full steam ahead with weddings. Since you are reading the blog, I’m sure you can conclude which option I chose. Let me tell you that I haven’t looked back since.

Weddings truly make my heart burst with joy.

Lindsay Kennell Photography

While the planning process is not without its challenges, I absolutely adore playing a role in my couples’ big day. People often ask me what my favorite part of being a wedding planner is. “It must be the flowers” or “I bet it’s all the delicious food you get to taste”, they say. Alright, I won’t lie, those parts are awesome. Truth be told, and as cheesy as it may sound, I feel the most fulfilled as a wedding planner when I know that I’m taking away some of the stress felt by the couples.

My favorite part of every wedding, apart from the vows (waterproof mascara is a must for me on wedding days), is catching a glimpse of the couple enjoying themselves — laughing or dancing, sharing a quick kiss, catching up with loved ones — and not worrying about when the next speech is or if the main course will be hot or if Grandma found her purse that she misplaced.

Emilie Olson Photography
Lindsay Kennell Photography

On that note

I’m so excited to give you a little more insight into my world. Whether you are currently engaged, a wedding vendor, a wedding enthusiast or just curious, I hope to inspire you in one way or another!

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