Finding a venue is one of the hardest things to cross off the wedding checklist. For my sisters Nikkah, we had initially planned on having an intimate ceremony at home. However, we’re desi and containing our guestlist turned out to be impossible. Hence, we had to find a small venue in a reasonable budget – much harder than you might think!
Our first pick was Chandni Banquet Hall’s smallest hall – it’s pretty, the food is good and the price is unbeatable. Since we only started looking around 3-4 weeks before the actual event, Chandni (to our disappointment) was booked. Boooo.
We then looked at Candles and Sahara – the latter being slightly too cramped for our guestlist. So how was our experience with Candles? Here’s a breakdown:
Really liked the hall when we saw it – they renovated it a few years ago and it looks MUCH better now
The sister and I were slightly taken aback when the owner asked us who the decision maker is – from that point onwards, it seemed as if we weren’t being taken seriously because we were 2 girls (we have gotten this ALOT). We tried negotiating but we left slightly annoyed – we wished we had our parents with us to do the bargaining
Nouman volunteered to go and talk to Candles – hoping that a guy talking to another guy might help. It didn’t. Most venues do offer to throw in atleast 1 thing for free – i.e. a chicken or vegetarian item – but Candles was pretty rigid and refused
After weighing in costs and realizing the difference was marginal, we finally decided to book them
When both our parents went in to talk to them, we did notice a difference in their approach –> keep in mind, this seems to happen at ALOT of desi venues. It definitely is not an exclusive behaviour at Candles
The day of the event, the owner listened to every single thing we asked – they were on top of EVERYTHING Alhamdulilah. I made last minute changes to some of the table settings and they accommodated it easily. They were present the entire night and checked in with me numerous times. My family and I were really impressed at their professionalism on the day of our event – they didn’t give us room to complain about anything.
Overall, I would recommend Candles; their venue is pretty and the price is reasonable. Their in-house decorator is awesome as well – review coming up soon!
Make sure you have an elderly male figure when you are bargaining – I would recommend this for any venue you are going to
While it is a pretty hall, I wouldn’t recommend it for a Mehendi – the dance floor in the big hall is off to one side which can kill the mood. In the smaller hall, you will always have your back turned to one side of the room or you’ll be staring at a blank wall (divider)
Vendor reviews and tips on how to wrap presents for your in-laws coming up!
Luckily, we’re both having our mayoun’s at home so we don’t need to look for a 4th (or 5th) venue.
Finding the right venue seems to be the hardest decision for me. I know what I want my decor, outfits, cake etc to look like, but the venue is something I’m struggling with. Anything that I really love and want, is way over our budget. In my head, I tried justifying the price tag that comes with some gorgeous venues (Royal Ambassador anyone?), and I almost succeeded. But then I thought about it a little more and realized I’d rather spend money on some other things.
I made a list of things that will (hopefully) help me narrow down from my extensive list of venues:
Affordable: Money, money, money. Everything has a price tag.
The overall look of the venue: Do I want a formal banquet hall? A gorgeous view of the skyline? A little bit of outdoors? Daytime vs. Evening look?
MUST haves at the Venue: Example: nice carpet. A few weekends ago, I was convinced I had my wedding venue. I went in to see the place and realized it wasn’t as awesome as I remembered it and I hated the carpet. Um, black, pink and green carpet? No thanks. Although most people probably don’t even pay attention to the carpet, it is something I take note of at every wedding.
Lighting is another major thing for me – some places have bright white lights whereas others have more of an orange-y glow. One type of lighting may work better than the other based on the kind of look you want to create.
Food: Very important to me (and the parents!)
Capacity: Our guest list is sort of in the middle – we don’t have a small wedding (less than 150 people) nor a big wedding (400+). Finding the perfect venue for our wedding is challenging because:
1) Many venues are too small for us;
2) While the larger venues offer “dividers” for our size, I really don’t want to have my wedding next to someone else’s. The additional soundtrack playing in the background from the wedding next door really alters the ambiance of my wedding. While there are tear-jerking speeches going on at my wedding, the next door wedding may be having a dance off. Do I really want to hear Punjabi MC (ok, I’m not up-to-date with the Punjabi music scene but they were cool at one point, right?) during our speeches? I think not.
Oh and dividers are simply ugly. Unless you want to shell out the $ and cover the dividers completely, I’m not a fan.
Parking: Soooo I found some gorgeous halls downtown Toronto. Yes, they were pricey but not crazy pricey that I’d cancel them out completely. The problem? Parking. Desi people just don’t like paying for parking – I’d probably offend a million and one people if there was paid parking at my wedding. Some venues do allow you to pre-pay for parking – but at a cost of between $500 – $1,000, I decided meh. I’d rather spend that on money on something else.
My advice: Prioritize. List everything you want in the order of most to least important.
Look out for my next post on some insanely gorgeous venues!