Once the champagne had been sipped, the families called and we had stopped looking at each other at random moments throughout the day to squeal “We’re getting marrrrrriiiiiieeeeeeeed!”, Buzz and I set about finding our venue.
Above: my little cat Bertie tried to pounce on the shinyshiny while I was trying to take a photo of it! He is a cat of very refined tastes.
We knew we wanted somewhere beautiful, historic and, most importantly, indoors! Having set the date for August – month of blustering squalls, pounding rain and icy chill – we knew there was no point in pretending that we could have an outdoor wedding. We wanted to have our ceremony and reception all in the one cosy place so that guests didn’t have to be rained on or venture out in the cold dark between venues.
Above: The imposing, glowing doors outside Treasury Restaurant, Melbourne. Must be fierce competition for this shot – hope I don’t have to boot any other brides out of the way. (Photograph from the Treasury Restaurant website).
Another element that was a make-or-break for us was the ability of the venue to offer a vegan menu. Although Buzz is omnivorous, I am vegan and we had already agreed that we wanted to serve an all-vegan menu – and for some people this may be the first vegan meal they had ever eaten, so we want to knock their socks off! I was heartened and very impressed that all four venues we visited were more than happy to work with us and their chef to create a suitable menu, which I think is a good indicator of the sophistication of venue catering in Melbourne.
We visited four venues, all historic and gorgeous buildings with lovely staff and their own special charm. But our decision was really made at our first venue, to which we couldn’t help but compare all others.
Above: Treasury Restaurant, interior ground floor. Will you just look at those chandeliers. Sigh. (Photograph from the Treasury Restaurant website).
Treasury Restaurant, formerly the Bank of Australasia, was built in 1874 in the Renaissance Revival style and has been brought up to date as part of the Sebel Hotel. It is warm and intimate whilst spacious enough to hold all our guests without cramping their ability to throw down some serious dance moves – a must at any wedding! We loved the nods to history with the retention of the old bank teller windows lining the central hall, along with beautiful restoration work and plush modern furniture. After our ceremony our guests can gather on the mezzanine for pre-dinner canapés while we brave the dark for our photos, and we will all re-assemble downstairs for dinner and dancing. At the end of the night, Buzz and I can simply hop in the lift and be taken up to our own suite, suitably exhausted and exhilarated.
I am dreaming of walking down the aisle, under chandeliers, past bank teller windows and in the presence of history, family and friends, to see Buzz at the other end, waiting for us to become husband and wife.
Above: Treasury Restaurant, mezzanine level. Excellent position to throw your bouquet from to the gaggle of single ladies below. (Photograph from the Treasury Restaurant website).
Miss T’s Top Three Tips – Venue Shopping
1. Start early. 12 months is fine for off-peak but if you’re planning on peak season between about October and March, and especially on any high profile days like St Valentine’s Day or 11/11/11, make sure you get in as early as humanly possible. And with that in mind, prepare to compromise. You may not be able to get the anniversary date of your first kiss or your grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary, and you will need to weigh up whether you want your wedding to be at your perfect venue or on your perfect date. My advice is that the date will be special to you regardless, and always will be, whereas all of your guests will benefit if you choose the venue you love most.
2. Think about the type and size of event you want and choose venues to inspect accordingly. There is no point wasting time to drive to Tullamarine to look at a 500 person capacity venue if your dream day is a cocktail party for 70. Likewise, if your guest list is sky high, don’t pretend that you’ll all fit on to the Eureka SkyDeck.
3. Make sure to read the venue’s contract details very, very carefully. It’s one of the largest expenses and you need to be across what you are committing to. Be sure to discuss it with your venue before signing. Before. That’s before signing. Not three weeks before your wedding.
3a. And I know I said three, but this one’s important: you must love it. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but you do need to love it.
Ms Polka Dot says: Miss T is back (follow her journey here) to share with us her wedding planning journey - this time the all important task of choosing the venue. With some really great tips to keep in mind!
Miss T says she is: ‘Organised to the max; fan of all things sparkly and organic; vegan (but no hemp or dreadlocks); proud mama to a Chihuahua princeling and two snooty cats; drinker of beer; and thrilled to her little cotton socks to be marrying the sweet, silly, smart and snuggly Buzz.’