Choosing a Wedding Venue (Location)

The proposal was a success and the planning has begun! Next you’ll likely be looking to determine the wedding date and preferred venue (place of ceremony or reception), and these will likely coincide.

The first venue to secure will be for the ceremony. If not in a church, there are many other possibilities:

  • Banquet halls
  • Hotel ballrooms
  • Golf and country clubs
  • Museum, Heritage venues/estates, historical house or building
  • Parks (federal, provincial, municipal)
  • Home, backyard, cottage, farm
  • Public/private garden
  • Beach
  • Boat
  • Theatre
  • Festival grounds
  • Airplane hangar
  • Ethnic/cultural centre
  • Art gallery
  • Zoo
  • Restaurants
  • Nightclub
  • Legions
  • Mansion
  • Tented weddings
  • Amusement park
  • College or University
  • Some other special place to the couple
  • Destination wedding

Source: The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada Inc.,

Many of these same options apply for the reception venue. The most important details for picking your reception venue will be:

  • Availability on desired date?
  • Your guest count/max capacity
  • Budget
  • Distance
  • Accessibility
  • Ease (will you need to bring in rented chairs, portable toilet trailers? Is this a location that would have to change in case of poor weather?)

The next questions to ask of a potential venue may include:

  • Is the venue licenced to serve alcohol? If not, the couple must acquire a Special Occasions Permit and assign a permit holder, who, at the time of this post, has several responsibilities, such as being present for the entire event, ensuring alcohol is not consumed by minors or those who are already intoxicated, and not allowing disorderly people around the premises (for more information, see liquor permit terms and conditions at
  • What is included in the rental? You will need: tables, chairs, plates, glassware (glasses for toasting, water goblets, mugs for coffee and tea), salt & pepper shakers, cream and sugars, silverware, linens, perhaps a podium, microphone, projector and screen. Are these items available on site? Are they extra to rent?
  • What do the tables and chairs look like? Get measurements of the tables for seating arrangement planning and for tablecloth rentals. Tip: It maybe less labour-intensive and cost the same to rent nicer chairs instead of getting chair covers.
  • Are you permitted to decorate yourself, or does the venue only allow approved decorators?
  • If there is existing décor, can it be removed? Does it have a cost for usage?
  • How many days in advance of the wedding can the couple start setting up?
  • What caterers are permitted to use the space? Will they offer late lunch too? What service styles does that caterer offer?
  • How many washrooms are there?
  • Is there a wheelchair ramp (and elevator if applicable?)
  • How much is corkage? How much are bartenders?

Use these checklists to help weigh your options when choosing your wedding venues.