So you got proposed to (or popped the question). Congratulations!

One of the first things to plan for your wedding is your wedding venue. Event spaces are scarce in Singapore: ballrooms, restaurants and community spaces all get booked up as quickly as a year in advance. You need to plan early if you want a venue that suits your needs.

Besides the number of guests your venue can accommodate, another factor to consider is how the venue can accommodate your guests. If you have elderly guests (say, your parents’ friends) or personal friends who have a disability or two, you should think about the accessibility of your wedding venue.

1. Think about public transport. Unless you and your future spouse’s social circle comprises entirely of your car racing club, the majority of your guests will be taking public transport. You’ll want to ensure it is easy for them to navigate to your wedding venue. You might want to think about booking a venue near an MRT station, or at least a location with an accessible route to one.

2. Sensible directions on your wedding invitation card/email. Some questions you might need to think through: How far is your wedding location from the nearest MRT station? If there are no MRT stations nearby, are there buses that travel in between frequently? To help your guests, it would very useful to have instructions for public transport to your wedding location.

And recce the route beforehand using a train or bus. Your smartphone’s navigation app can’t plan everything for you.

3. Parking, parking, parking. While planning your guest list, depending on how close you are to your guests, and how many people you want to invite, you can probably estimate the number of cars you’ll have your wedding venue. Are there enough carpark lots at your wedding location? If the building does not have enough parking space, what about the neighbouring buildings?

Remember to advise your guests on alternative parking spaces. You wouldn’t want your guests getting fined for parking illegally due to a lack of parking lots!

4. Don’t forget timing. If you are planning your wedding to end late, think about the timings for the last bus or train. Get your mutual friends to ferry your guest from and back to their home if necessary.

5. Wheelchairs. Is your wedding location accessible to wheelchair users? Does it have conveniently located lifts and wheelchair ramps? We’ve seen some wheelchair users being carried down flights of stairs or escalators—not very safe! We definitely recommend choosing a location where guests can move about independently and in safety.

Within the wedding venue itself, ensure that wheelchair users have suitable seating areas. Certain spaces will have chairs that are packed too tightly together. Ask the wedding planner to clear out some chairs for wheelchair users to view your wedding easily.

What if your wedding is outdoors? Wheelchair users may have trouble wheeling themselves over the lawn. But don’t immediately discount an outdoor wedding: even guests with disabilities might appreciate a wedding under the sun or the stars! One way is to deck the floor so that wheelchairs can be used easily. A cheaper and more environmentally-friendly way is get mutual friends to assist your wheelchair-using guests.

The key to getting the wedding you want and meeting your guests’ needs is, as always, communication. Plan ahead and communicate accessibility requirements early, just as you would your guests’ dietary requirements. We’re sure your guests would want to see you happy on your joyous occasion.

6. Parents and young children. Are you inviting parents with young children for a church wedding? Something to think about is having some seats at the back reserved for them. Young parents need to tend to their children’s needs often, and having seats near the doors saves them the hassle of moving across entire rooms. Consider locating them in a separate room to view the wedding proceedings through a ‘Live’ video feed.

And, that’s it! 6 tips to consider when choosing your wedding location. All the best for your marriage preparation!

(image from Flickr / horslips5 / CC BY 2.0)