Venue too small...

I'm getting married in June next year, and I consider myself to be a very organised person. We're having a wedding on a budget which our parents are paying for (my amazing mum and dad have been saving since I was little, so I received a nice little nest egg towards our big day, and my partner's parents have also put in towards it too).

We lucked out and found a nice community hall in a good central location. I visited on my own (they had really limited visiting hours) and took heaps of photos. Partner liked it, we did a drive-by and peered through the windows so he could get a look with the intention of coming back for a more thorough plan later.

I asked for the specs of the venue and received the whole measured floor plan. Awesome! And so we started planning our layout, guest list, etc. So the venue is booked, deposit paid, and the overall cost is really cheap considering its a very nice hall. We are told the venue will hold 140 seated and they have all the furniture provided. Fast forward to yesterday.

We both had the day off and were finally free at a time when the venue was available for viewing. We collect the keys and head over. The second we get inside my partner tenses up. "It's too small."

Sure enough, we start measuring out the tables and yep, it's too small. We can only fit about 100 people in, IF we get rid of our buffet tables, dance floor, cake table, DJ booth... Literally the entire room packed FULL of tables and chairs. If we wanted all those things, the most we can fit is about 50-60, still cramped though.

We can't use it. Our guest list is already 100, pushing 110 because I have a large and very close family and he works at a large company with many many close friends. Cutting back to 100 was already a task, now cutting back to 60 just wasn't doable.

So here we are. 6 months out and no venue. And because no venue, we may have to rethink our entire decor, centrepieces, theme, everything. We are supposed to be assembling our centrepieces next weekend and now we are in limbo waiting to hear back from all our backups.

Not to mention we are now looking at paying an extra $3k on top of what we were originally paying, or have to sacrifice a nice looking room and settle for something quite... ugly... Plus we are going to lose our deposit (although it isn't much, but it does add up).

I know it'll all work out, but I can't help but feel so deflated at the moment. My wonderful partner is doing his best to help and cheer me up but I'm so over it all. I don't really need advice, just wanted somewhere I could come to vent :(


  • It is really hard trying to narrow a list down, we're h having the same problem. Could you find a venue nearby where you could have a larger evening do, so you can have extra people at night, following your reception in the hall? You could hire one of those wedding double deckers to transport your main guests to the night venue perhaps
    Our planning thread here
  • Well if they misled you about how many the venue can hold, surely they should be refunding the deposit? 
    Have you asked the venue how they fit that many in, can they provide photos of a wedding for that many people where they have done so? 
  • Oh goodness what a nightmare!

    What is your table layout?  Is it rounds or long tables?  

    Can the area for the buffet tables double as the dance floor?  You can rip them down after people have eaten.

    Can you ditch the head table before the dancing starts? You guys won’t care, you’ll all be too busy mixing and dancing to need a seat!

    Can you change from buffet to plated sit down meal? 

    Thr venue told you it could seat 140, ask them how???

    There is an answer here, don’t give up yet sweetheart!!!  That might be to cancel the venue, but trust me you will get through this.  xxx
  • Definitely have the venue show and explain a normal layout for a large wedding. If they've said it can hold that many people im sure it can, they'll just need to show you the most efficient way to lay it out. 
  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,954 New bride

    It sounds like the venue may be licensed to hold 140 for functions in general, rather than being able to actually seat 140 as well as a dancefloor and other table setups etc. I would assume that like lots of venues that have a turnaround, you would eat and then a portion of the tables and chairs would be tidied away to make room for the dancefloor.

    I would contact the venue and ask if they have any ideas, but it sounds like your only options really are to modify your plans, or change venue.

  • OmRumOmRum Posts: 930 New bride
    The venue might have told you guest capacity based on how many can stand or sit in rows of seats (like for a show) rather than for a sit down meal. Maybe they don't deal with weddings often and so didn't realised what you needed?
  • As one writer Mrs C to bee stated, the room will be designed for a 'tunaround' for the evening do. So the layout during the day will not include the DJ set up or the dance floor, and most of your round tables will be removed for the evening do to allow room for the dance floor and DJ. However it is best to ask for sample table plan layouts from the venue. We have these for our own wedding venue posted on our site, so the room has different layouts depending on numbers seated. You should even ask how many round tables they can place in the room, and how many are seated at each table, as round tables come in different sizes. Allowance needs to be made for people walkig between the tables and waitressing staff getting between the tables to serve food when everyone is seated. A roomful of people sat at tables takes a lot more space than you realise when seeing the room laid out with the empty chairs pushed neatly up against each of the tables. It rather sounds as if you may have booked the venue without first viewing the room, which is a bit risky, but you also need to ask to see a venue with the tables all in situ. It took us a while to realise this, as a venue, and we now always keep the Wedding Banquet room laid up as if for a wedding, so people can see instantly what it will seat.
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