Now that you have taken care of your budget and you have a rough guest list it’s time to find the perfect venue. You can plan your wedding with the utmost detail, but if the venue doesn't stand up to the vision and style of your wedding day you may be disappointed. The blog over the next two weeks is dedicated to helping you choose the perfect place.
Perhaps it’s a fairy tale castle, a slick contemporary city venue, a beautiful country manor house or a stylish decorated marquee, no matter what you want; it’s worth spending time choosing the perfect venue for you. It is important to do your research and think carefully about what you want.
Securing your venue as early as possible will save disappointment. Many of the popular ones are booked well in advance so start early.
Here are the main factors to consider:
The Ceremony – Church Vs Civil
If you are having a church ceremony you need to look at venues that are no more than 30 minutes drive away. You may consider providing transport for your guests if you fall in love with a venue that is just a bit too far for comfort. You don’t want your guests getting lost or stuck in traffic. Civil ceremonies are very popular now and many venues are licensed to marry you, but check if they have a license before you go and view. To help you find which venues are authorised to marry you, try The Direct Gov website where you can search by postcode and it will show you venues listed in your area.
Style of Venue and Surroundings
What style of venue do you want? Make the sure the venue matches the style or theme you have in your mind and of course your budget. Here a few types of venue to think about:
Hotels – these are great if you want an inclusive package. Generally most things are provided and they usually offer various packages to suit your budget and needs. Often they have a good supplier list too. Make sure the suppliers are independent though. You want to pick the supplier because they are right for you not because they are paid commission by the venue. This type of wedding is also a little easier to plan because you don’t have to find caterers or hire furniture etc. Everything is included generally so a good choice for busy professionals.
Marquee Weddings – You can seriously put your stamp on your wedding in a marquee. They are a plain canvas for you to do as you wish. For a DIY wedding enthusiastic this will be heaven. Words of caution though, do not go for this type of venue if you are not prepared to spend a lot of time researching and organising. It’s much tougher arranging for services such as caterers, hiring toilets and decorating the marquee - you may even have to hire the tables and chairs etc. Make sure you have the time or hire a wedding planner to help you out.
Stately Homes or Historic Properties – These are great for exclusive use. You and your guests have the run of the venue for the whole day and night. Most of them can accommodate small or large weddings. You would not have to worry about bumping into another bride; you can be guaranteed private use.
Local halls or Social Clubs – These are very popular if you are on a strict budget. Often you can decorate how you like and really transform the room.
Where to look for venues?
Finding venues on the internet is very easy these days. There are many wedding-planning sites available that categorise venues per area and style. Try sites such as Hitched.co.uk. You can also purchase local wedding magazines such as Staffordshire Bride - they often focus on local venues and their information is a great starting point. Ask your friends and family about venues they know about, you may have already been to a friend's wedding at a venue you fell in love with.
The venue’s websites will often give you plenty of information as a starting point. You can download brochures for pricing and packages as well as request them to be sent to you. This way you can check the costs against your budget before you go and see them.
Here are a few more things to consider when deciding on the type of venue:
Your budget - how much do you have for room hire or for the packages on offer?
– Can the venue accommodate them for your day and evening reception? Often numbers are restricted for the ceremony. Make sure you check this against your guest list. They are generally very strict for the ceremony because the venue will be licensed for a certain amount.
How many guests will be at your wedding?
Do you want your guests to stay over? Does the venue have enough rooms to accommodate them? If not, check to see if there are enough hotels close by.
Check out the surrounding areas if you want to make a weekend of it. It’s lovely if your guests can have something to do the night before or on the day before the ceremony if your service is to be held a little later.
Food - Do you want to cater yourself? Check if the venue allows this. If not find out who they want you to use. Often it is good when the caterer knows the venue and is used to using their kitchens and surroundings.
Shortlist to three venues and then make appointments to see them. Do check first that
they are available on your wedding date before you go and see them.
Now I have given you some idea of where to start looking for a venue and what type, the next blog will cover questions to ask when viewing and how to make the right decisions. Finding the perfect venue is time consuming but very worthwhile. You need to feel comfortable with the surroundings and the staff, and of course be clear on what they are offering you.
So until next week, happy planning.
Written by Julie Dawson - The Wedding Genie