How to choose your wedding venue
So you’ve just got engaged - congratulations! But where do you start especially when there are so many decisions to be made?! Maybe you are feeling slightly overwhelmed at where to actually get married and how to make sure it fits with all your wants and needs? When searching for your perfect venue, it’s very easy for your heart to run away with itself with the pure beauty of a location, when realistically it won’t fit with all your requirements! First things first! You need to write a list of what to look for in a venue and which questions to ask. Here are my top 5 tips to help you on your way!
1) Work out your guest list! And when I say ‘your’ I mean ‘YOURS!’ It is your day so whilst you may feel obliged to ask people because other people say ‘you should’, bear in mind the extra costs involved. These will soon add up when you think of the wedding breakfast price per person and also will impact the size of your venue. This is why it is so important to have your guest list number as accurate as you can before committing to a venue. There is no point in visiting a large lavish manor house that can fit up to 200 guests, when you are having a smaller intimate wedding of 20. Of course there is no reason at all that you can’t have that venue, but always try to envisage your wedding party in the space. A magnificent grand venue will look stunning, but with a much smaller crowd people could end up looking lost and the space cold.
2) Visit the venue in person! Of course I know we are in the middle of a pandemic and the only option is an online viewing at the moment, but I would urge you to go and see it with your own eyes before you commit. You will get a much clearer idea of the space and how many people a venue can comfortably hold. Whilst planning our own wedding, I visited a gorgeous looking barn that stated it could fit 100 guests. It was all set up for a wedding fair and whilst it certainly did look pretty, it was a LOT smaller then I thought it would be and I personally didn’t want to fit anymore then 50 people in there!
I immediately ruled it out as I knew it wouldn’t be comfortable for our amount of guests especially with it being a summer wedding! You also can’t dismiss your own feelings and the vibe that you get from visiting a venue in person either. There was another barn that I thought looked stunning in it’s pictures and I really thought it could be a contender for our dream day. Again we went to visit but we were both surprised how much the venue seemed to lack character and it just didn’t feel ‘right’ for us. A lot of people compare finding the right wedding venue to finding the right dress - you just know! I truly believe this and as soon as we visited our venue, we were both in love with it. It was a beautiful, 17th century barn with little nooks and crannies that made it feel quirky. It also felt homely and even though I initially didn’t feel comfortable having so many people at our wedding (the hubbie has a large family!), it actually didn’t matter as I just felt so at home there.
3) The location! Think where the majority of your guests are coming from. Of course you are never going to please everyone and at the end of the day why should you? It’s your dream day, so of course guests are going to travel many miles to be there! Right?! Truth is if someone really wants to be there they will, but it is important to realise that some guests just may say ‘no’ if the venue is going to be too far for them. If you do want as many people there as possible, it’s best to try and source a venue which will be within an acceptable reach to the majority of your guests. Also, look into nearby hotels and accommodation for those which are travelling a distance and especially if your venue has it’s own rooms onsite, consider saving these for people who are making more of a journey.
4) Compile a list of all the non-negotiable things that a venue must have or allow at your wedding. Most couples when they start planning their wedding have an idea if they would like a band; what type of food they would like to be eating or maybe they'd like to set off fireworks on the evening. All venues are different and whilst there are some which are totally relaxed with an ‘anything goes’ attitude, there are other’s who may have stricter rules on things such as a noise curfew for music to stop because of their neighbours; they may not allow fireworks or chinese lanterns or insist that the only food that is allowed is their 5 course meal. If this isn’t for you and you’d prefer something more relaxed like a hog roast or even a chip shop van, then this will help you source the correct venues which are right for you and not have you wasting time visiting those that won’t fit the vision of your day.
5) Lastly - will your wedding venue fit with your theme and style of wedding? Whether you chose your wedding theme as soon as you said ‘I do!’ or you are still undecided, your choice of venue needs to totally work and complement your styling and overall aesthetic. You may even find that your choice of venue helps you decide on your theme by parts of it’s architecture or period detailing, or perhaps it just has that air of elegance that you want to represent on your own wedding day. Try to think outside of the box and look at alternative wedding venues which are out there. Love something gothic? A castle, abbey or even a cave could totally give the right mood of your darker wedding theme. Perhaps you love a festival and want to recreate that atmosphere for your dream day, therefore a more formal venue such a country manor wouldn’t work, but a blank canvas space or an outdoor tipi wedding venue would work like a dream!
I really hope you enjoy the search for your dream wedding venue as much as I did! However, if you do need that bit of extra help I offer a venue search service with a FREE no obligation consultation. Please email me for more details!