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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.