Events in 2021

12 top tips for choosing your perfect wedding venue

You’re engaged!!!  Congratulations!  Now for the fun to begin as you embark on your wedding planning journey.  First on the list, finding a wedding venue.  There are so many amazing wedding venues to choose from, where do you start?  Here are my top ten tips for choosing your perfect wedding venue to get you underway.

  1. Budget.  When it comes to weddings, it is easy to spend money and your venue will be one of your largest expenses.  Sit down together early on and agree an overall budget.  Then decide on your priorities: food, entertainment, outfits, number of guests, location etc and do some initial research into their costs.  This will help you allocate a budget for each.  You can often reduce venue costs by choosing a mid-week day or a less popular Autumn or Winter date.  Check with the venue what days they are open.    
  1. Date.  Couples are booking their wedding dates earlier and earlier.  If you have a special date in mind, then book your venue as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
  1. Numbers. Draft a guest list before you start venue hunting.  If you know you have at least 100 of your nearest and dearest to accommodate then this can help narrow down your choices. 
  1. Ceremony.  Church ceremony or a civil ceremony?  If you are favouring an all in one venue for your ceremony and reception then check your venue has a licence for civil ceremonies.
  1. Location.  There are many stunning wedding locations to choose from. Not just in the UK but around the World. One of the most important questions to consider is accessibility.  How easy will it be for you and your guests to get to? Or will you need to factor in additional accommodation costs before and after your wedding?
  1. Accommodation.  A solution to isolated locations a long way from home may be to consider venues with accommodation on site or near-by for you and your guests.
  1. Furnishings.  Ask the venue what they are able to supply, what is included in the hire cost and what is extra.  You will be surprised.  Some include everything: tables, chairs, linen, glassware, PA system etc.  Others may just offer the building and little else which means you will need to factor in this as an additional cost.  There are plenty of furniture hire companies, audio visual companies and caterers who can help.    
  1. Suppliers.  Ask the venue if they use in-house suppliers or if you will be required to work with their approved suppliers.  Some may say yes which means you will be tied to working with a particular caterer, florist etc.  This has its benefits.  It saves you trawling the internet to find someone and usually means that they are highly recommended and know the venue intimately.  The downside is this means less choice for you. 
  1. Season.  You may be imagining a glorious outdoor Summer wedding however be prepared!  The great British weather is notoriously unpredictable so make sure you love your venue inside and out.
  1. Flexibility.  This is your day so don’t feel restrained by convention.  Choose a wedding venue that allows you the freedom to design a wedding personal and unique to you.  Other than the legal bit, the skies the limit!  Historic country houses and stately homes may impose certain restrictions.  This is usually for conservation reasons.  Almost all will have licencing restrictions which will govern when the music stops and the drink service ceases.   
  1. Experience.  Venues offering an in-house wedding coordinator can offer help and advice throughout the planning process.  On the day, your coordinator will manage suppliers, prepare the venue, assist guests and keep everything on schedule so you can get on with enjoying your wedding day.  If your perfect wedding venue does not have an on-site wedding coordinator then it is worth considering hiring an independent wedding planner.
  1. Instincts.  When you know, you know!  If you are getting butterflies in your tummy and envisaging your perfect day right here, then you’ve probably found your perfect wedding venue.  Trust your inner feelings.  Ultimately you want to feel relaxed and confident that your wedding day will be perfect.

I hope this list has helped. Choosing your perfect wedding venue and planning your wedding day should be a joyful experience but I understand the pressures it can also create. If you would like any more help, support or advice then please do get in touch.  I have over 20 years’ experience planning events in London, Sydney and Devon.  Wherever you are in the World, I can help with anything from venue finding to support on your wedding day itself.  I will ensure you have a happy and stress-free wedding experience.

Do you need support with your venue or events?

Let 's start a conversation today

Wedding Venue

2020 and the Impact of COVID 19 on the Events Industry

The impact of COVID 19 on the events industry has been wide sweeping and deeply felt. 

None of us have ever experienced anything like this and hopefully we never will again. 

All of us have been affected emotionally and physically by COVID 19 and many of us will continue to feel the effects for a long time to come.  

The impact of COVID 19 on the events industry has been particularly bad.  Venues have been forced to close indefinitely, events have been cancelled and postponed and livelihoods put on the line.  The events industry contributes over £50 billion pounds to the UK economy every year.  We employ 570,000 individuals full time plus additional self-employed, freelance and part-time staff.  Everyone who works in the events industry does so because they are passionate about what they do.  It is not a particularly highly paid pastime and the hours we work are certainly not very sociable.  But we love it.  Like a highly addictive drug, we get a thrill out of spreading joy by giving people extraordinary experiences through our musical and theatrical entertainment, culinary expertise, unique venues, audio visual displays and floral creations.  We are brilliant at it, world leading in fact.  But we have been stifled and it has caused us all an immense amount of stress.  

© Kathryn Clarke-Mcleod

It has also severely impacted our wonderful clients who have been planning their wedding or celebration for months or years only to have to cancel or postpone without any guarantee if or when their event can take place.  

The impact of COVID 19 on the events industry has also been felt financially. Many of us have been unable to access any of the Governments highly lauded financial support and have been struggling to make ends meet as we juggle ongoing business expenses without any income.    

But that hasn’t stopped us.  Our caterers have been dishing up food to NHS heroes, our florists have been delivering home arrangements and our entertainers have been putting on free virtual shows.  After all the show must go on.  But this doesn’t pay the bills and virtual events can really not replace the multi-sensory human interaction you get from attending a live event.  

© Kathryn Clarke-Mcleod

So what’s happening to get the show back on the road?

The whole events industry breathed a sigh of relief on Friday 4th July 2020 as the UK Government finally announced a date for business events and wedding receptions to return.

After much lobbying from the events community, the UK Government finally gave us the green light to start planning events from 1st August.  Indoor performances, larger event pilots and wedding receptions for up to 30 guests were planned.  

But then we received another bombshell.  On Friday, 31st July, the Prime Minister announced that the number of COVID 19 cases were rising.  The Governments response to this was to change their strategy, causing wedding receptions and indoor events planned between 1st and 15th August to be cancelled.  

This announcement has caused yet more stress, fear and disappointment not only to me and my colleagues across the events industry but to our clients also.  The decision of the Government seems to me nonsensical.  How is it fair to allow holiday makers to travel by plane, train and bus; to allow tourists to travel around the country and stay in hotels; to allow us to eat out in pubs and restaurants in indiscriminate number; and yet not be allowed to gather our families and friends (our bubbles) together for a celebration within a controlled environment?  

© Kathryn Clarke-Mcleod

So my colleagues and I continue to lobby Government in the hope that they will see the impact COVID 19 is having on the events industry and allow us to fully open for business again.  We are also campaigning for additional funds to support the events businesses which will struggle to stay afloat into 2021.  

As an industry, we are well rehearsed in adapting to challenging circumstances.  We are practised at managing risk, crowd control and all matters of health and safety.  All of us have been working hard to put in place any and all measures needed to keep our guests and our workforce safe.  PPE has been ordered, new cleaning regimes formulated and social distancing strategies prepared.  We are just waiting to be told when we can start.    

In the meantime, you can help us.  Be sensible, protect one another, wash your hands and wear face masks and help us avoid a second wave.  The wedding and events industry cannot afford to hang on any longer.  When we do finally get the go-ahead: plan your wedding, set a date for your party, call your colleagues together for a face-to-face conference and design your exhibition stand.  But please listen to the advice, ask your guests and colleagues to follow our instructions, adhere to the guidelines and follow the rules.  

We are ready to open and we can’t wait to see you!

Do you need support with your venue or events?

Let 's start a conversation today

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