“I booked a small local wedding venue and it was the best decision I made!”

Why selecting an unconventional venue location might just make your wedding day that much more special.


Once upon a time, the bigger the wedding the better, but more and more, I have begun to see couples start to scale back the excess, and stick to the essentials. That is, close friends and family, a simplistic backdrop, and an intimate gathering to celebrate love, life, and happiness. There are so many wonderful things to be said about an intimate wedding, and not only do your guests appreciate such a warm and welcoming event, but your pockets will thank you!

Windsor-Essex is lucky enough to have some great options available to those looking for these smaller, more intimate venues, that provide outstanding service, great food and an overall wonderful experience.

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Local native Amanda Vojvodin (@lavitaestyle) and I decided to collaborate on this topic a while back, and having just had her wedding here in Windsor, she is able to share her experience with you first hand.

“I loved all aspects of wedding planning, but the most stressful part was by far trying to decide on the wedding venue. This is not only because I found out that many of the typical venues I might have dreamed about having my wedding at had been booked 2/3 years in advance, but also because I wanted to make sure I picked the perfect place to make my wedding vision come to life. There are many elements that factor into the final wedding venue decision: location, size, availability, budget and last but not least, the feeling you get when you are in the space.

As any true millennial would do, the first thing I did when starting to look for potential venues was hunt online. To my dismay I found it harder than I imagined to find a venue in Windsor-Essex that would fit 60-100 people. I found myself looking at beautiful locations for 100-200 people or very quaint spaces for groups of 50-70 people. Not having a good idea of just how many people would be attending I knew I had to find a space that would be able to accommodate up to 100 people but that wouldn’t feel empty if we were only 60. I think that’s why I loved my venue so much in the end because I was able to tailor it to my exact needs based on how many guests I had attending – and (bonus) I was able to book it months in advance without even having the final RSVP numbers and not have to stress about that at all!

Here are some of the advantages that I found working with a smaller local venue for our ceremony and reception:

  • No red tape: I had looked at other bigger locations who specialize in wedding venues but found that they had a lot of “red tape” and rules to follow. Some charged fees per person if your RSVP count went below a certain number. Others charged you extra fees for wedding planning services (which is great if that’s something you want or need).

  • Flexibility: I worked hand in hand with the venue owners to make every part my wedding vision come to life. He was there to give me tips about how best to use the space, but in the end I was able to adapt the space to make it my own.

  • Privacy: In a small venue like a restaurant you get the privilege of having the whole space to yourself which gives you and your guests a sense of exclusivity and you don’t have to worry about other weddings in the room next door.

  • Budget: Not sure if this is the case with all small venues, but contrary to the bigger wedding venues, our space did not charge us a rental cost. This made it so that we could focus more of our budget on other elements of the wedding.

  • Décor costs: Being a smaller space, and having a lot of character on its own, we didn’t need to add very much to it which cut down our décor costs by at least half.

  • Food: There is nothing I love more than food, and I think it’s one of the most important elements of any wedding (especially if you’re an Italian…). So when we decided to have our wedding in a restaurant we were especially happy because it meant that everything was cooked on location and served hot. We were also able to create our own menu alongside the chef to cater everything to our taste and make it fit with the “fall in love” theme.

  • Availability: When we started looking for venues we found that many were not available the weekend we wanted, but with a smaller venue we were able to book only 11 months before the wedding. The team made themselves available the one week we were in town before the wedding to go through everything (décor, menu, logistics etc) and worked with me via email from Italy to make sure everything was clear before the big day.

Overall I loved that on our wedding day when I walked down the aisle and when I stood up to do my speech I looked around the room and was able to see every one of our guests and it felt like a giant family reunion. Both the spaces were intimate enough to make us all feel close, all while not making anyone feel congested. It also made it so that Michelangelo and I were able to have more one-on-one time with our guests. “

For all you future brides to be looking to plan your wedding and wishing for a more intimate and flexible wedding venue location here are a few in the Windsor-Essex area:

  • Mezzo’s Ristorante (my reception location, I cannot speak highly enough of Filip and his team)

  • Low-Martin Mansion (my ceremony location, contact Vern if you want to rent his space for your ceremony or as a wedding photo location)

  • Viewpointe Estate Winery

  • Willistead Manor

  • Art Gallery of Windsor

  • Malden Park Visitor Centre

  • Cooper's Hawk Winery

  • Lakeside Pavillion

  • The Windsor Club

  • Wedding In The Woods

  • Oxley Estate Winery


There are no rules to weddings anymore - the more unique the better! I always say to my couples - "Do you!" - in whatever capacity that is. From the venue, to the Ceremony wording, to the food and drink, do what feels right, and will make YOU happy.

As a Wedding Planner, helping couples navigate through the process of finding a venue for their size is one of my favourite parts! How can we find a space, and make it unique and personal to you? How can we take something already beautiful, and use that as the backdrop to reflect your relationship to each other?

Photos Courtesy of Blue Rose Designs