So let’s talk about venues! Just where do you start when it comes to choosing the perfect place to host the most special day of your lives? As I mentioned in my previous blog, venues usually book up fast, so it’s a really good idea to try & cross this one off your wedding checklist as a priority.
Once you have figured out your preferred area and drawn up a shortlist of wedding venues to approach, it’s time to make some appointments and get visiting. This really is the FUN bit! Once you have sorted your venue, everything becomes much more 'real' and you can start to sort out wedding invitations, catering, wedding decor, entertainment etc. with a clear picture in mind of where your special day will be held.
It’s super easy to fall head over heels in love with a venue – whether for its stunning setting and views, beautiful interior, rustic or classical style. But before you sign on the dotted line, there are some really important things to consider and questions to ask. Grab a cuppa...here we go!
Counting the pennies – How much will it all cost?
The venue is usually the most expensive part of a wedding, so having a good grasp of your maximum budget will help you to decide whether something is affordable and achievable. Always ask yourself: Can I afford this? Does the price quoted include VAT? Do they offer any package deals that include for example food, entertainment, chair sashes etc? What are the price differences between high and low season?
Can I get married on this date?
First and foremost, if you have an exact wedding date in mind, it’s worth remembering that this might limit your choice of venue. So if you have fallen head-over-heels in love with a particular place, being flexible with your choice of date means you are much more likely to celebrate your marriage in the venue of your dreams.
Being flexible is also key to unlocking some fantastic deals. If getting married in high season is not feasible for you financially, always remember that prices can be hugely different if you are prepared to compromise and book out of season or midweek. Some venues will also offer last minute availability deals, so if you are ready to get wed sooner rather than later, then definitely ask about this.
Can we do both the ceremony and reception here?
It may be important to you to get married in a place of worship separate from where the reception is being held. However having your wedding in one place is a fantastic way to minimise costs and maximise the amount of time everyone has celebrating your special day together. If you would like to have your ceremony and reception in the same location, always ask what options are available for each part of your day. For example, some venues will cater for your ceremony and wedding breakfast, but may not allow evening entertainment or music. My advice is to make a list of the things you really want and need, and take it with you when you visit each venue. That way you can ensure that their vision for your day aligns perfectly with yours.
How many guests can the venue accommodate?
This is a key question to ask because the number of guests attending will determine the size of any marquee, general layout and room options available. It’s always best to know if there are any limits or restrictions based on the size of your guest list.
If you have your heart set on a ceremony outside, always ask how many people can be seated, and in the event of wet weather, what provision is in place to move your service inside.
Is it easy for guests to travel to /from?
Think about where the venue is located and how easy it will be for your guests to get there (and find!). Ask about parking for your guests and whether the venue can provide directions that you can forward by email.
Wherever you choose for your reception, it’s good to know whether they can provide overnight accommodation for any guests that wish to stay over after the celebrations. If you choose a guesthouse, country house or hotel for your wedding, often they will provided discounted rates for your guests - usually based on a certain number of rooms being occupied by the wedding party. If accommodation is not provided on site, it’s worth making a list of nearby hotels and B&Bs to recommend to your guests, along with contact details for local taxi firms for the end of the evening.
And of course… if you are not planning to jet off on honeymoon straightaway and it’s important to you to stay at your venue, always ask if they have a Bridal Suite and what is included when you book. Having a room booked at your venue on your big day can make getting ready with your bridal party, so much easier! It’s also wonderful to know that after an evening of celebrating and partying hard, a fabulous comfy room is waiting just for you and your new husband/wife!
What are the options for catering?
Most established wedding venues offer a wide range of menu options for the wedding breakfast and evening meal, with everything from canapes and fizz, to cream teas, set-menu meals, buffets and hog-roasts! Always keep sight of your budget here – choose your menu options and calculate a price/head to see whether it is feasible. Also remember that alcohol can add to your budget considerably, so it’s worth asking whether you can supply your own and if a corkage fee is applicable.
Another consideration to bear in mind is the timing of your ceremony. If you get married later in the day for example, you might not need to provide a Wedding Breakfast and evening meal. This can represent a huge saving if budget is an issue for you.
If you have your heart set on an ice cream / pizza or fish and chips van to cater for your guests (increasingly popular!), always check whether your venue will permit outside caterers to attend. Sometimes there may be a surcharge for this.
You might also like to offer your guests a delicious 'Love is Sweet' treat alongside your wedding cake and we can definitely help if this is something you might like to include on your special day. Have a look at our beautiful bespoke Doughnut Wall and Candy Cart for some wedding inspiration (just click on our Wedding Library logo below to link straight through to our wonderful stock).
Can we use our own wedding suppliers?
Sometimes a venue has its own list of suppliers such as in-house caterers, florists, entertainment providers etc. – people who have worked with them before. This can be really helpful as often they will know how to use the venue to their advantage and help you make the most out of your special day. My advice however, would be to always ask if you can choose your own wedding suppliers too. That way you have the flexibility to compare prices and services, choosing people that you feel will be totally committed to making your wedding dreams their priority.
And that’s also where we come in! At The Wedding Library we are 100% committed to making sure that we align your vision for your special day, with the venue you choose.
We work with you and your chosen venue ahead of your big day to finalise every little detail of your wedding decor, to make sure everything is perfect, just the way you envisage.
We make sure that all of our beautiful wedding decorations and props are set up perfectly, ready for your arrival, and packed-away seamlessly after the celebrations – leaving you free to enjoy every last moment of your wedding day together.
So….when you have found the perfect place to host your special day, please bear us in mind as your first choice for venue styling with our beautiful bespoke wedding décor.
We have everything from a stunning floral wedding arch, to bespoke wedding cake stand, doughnut wall, light-up LOVE letters, welcome mirrors & seating plans, table centrepieces and lots, lots more! We promise to add the WOW and the sparkle to your special day and it would be an absolute privilege to help.
And finally, if you have any top tips about choosing your dream wedding venue, then do leave a comment to share with all our lovely bride & grooms-to-be…sharing is most definitely caring!
Happy Venue Hunting!