How to choose the right wedding venue


Once upon a time wedding were simple occasions where a couple would get engaged, set a date for their wedding and then get married in their home town.  Not any more.  Now it is not unusual for wedding locations to be chosen because the setting means something to the newly-weds to be, because it is lavish and/or even because it is not!

So how on earth do you whittle down where to have your wedding when there are seemingly limitless options?  It is probably one of the first questions people will ask once you reveal you are engaged, along with ‘when’…but don’t let that worry you.  Booking a venue without properly considering the implications would be disastrous so stop and take a breather and consider these simple steps before you go ahead and pay that great big deposit:-

Know Your Numbers
This covers two very important aspects of your wedding day: the scale and the budget.  First, we’ll deal with the scale.  This simply means understanding how many people are likely to be invited to your wedding.  It can be easy to walk into a venue and be swept away by how glamorous it looks and not consider that it is entirely too small for the number of people you want to invite.  Whilst we are not suggesting you have final numbers before you book your venue, it is a good idea to have sketched out a list so you know roughly how many people the venue needs to accommodate.  It is also a question that you will inevitably be asked by the venue itself.  Knowing the guests you want to invite will also open up questions such as whether it is accessible enough; does it provide wheelchair access and so on.  Venues which are used to holding large scale conferences and events will no doubt be fully equipped but if you have chosen somewhere a little more unique, you might find they don’t quite meet your requirements.

The other important aspect is to know what sort of budget you are working with.  Weddings can cost thousands upon thousands of pounds, which is fine, if you have that money to play with but there is honestly no point in getting in over your head for the sake of one day.  You can make a truly magical and special day on a limited budget.  Work out how much you can afford to realistically pay for your venue and then choose venues which fall within that budget.  This might mean having to be a bit more creative; if you are getting married in London for example (and who wouldn’t want to find love in the city!) then you might want to search for hotels which offer meeting rooms, and see whether any of those spaces could be transformed or it might mean booking a space which doesn’t offer overnight accommodation to guests; many guests are happy to arrange their own hotels if you were to put a simple line on the invitation such as ‘here are our suggestions for accommodation near Brewery Road…etc)

Once you have created a list of venues which meet your space and budget requirements then you can head out and start your visits.

Choose A Theme
Depending on the type of theme you want your wedding to have, can influence the type of venue you plump for.  For example, a vintage wedding would better suit a charming village hall, a glamorous wedding would be best placed in a 5* hotel or stately home and so on.  Having an idea of how you want your wedding to be styled will help you to imagine in your mind’s eye how it will look in the various venues that you visit and will help you to determine whether they are right for your wedding or not.

Time of Year
Another important element to consider is the time of year you wish to get married.  Lots of people like to take wedding photographs outside but what happens if you are getting married in the winter and it’s too cold?  Is there somewhere indoors where photographs could be taken?  Equally, if you want to hold an outdoor wedding in the summer, do you have a back up plan in case the weather turns sour?  These are all worthy elements to consider ahead of booking your venue.

Ask Questions, Then Ask Again
Before you visit your shortlist of venues, make a list of all the questions you have and make sure you get them answered.  Experienced venues will be more than happy to listen and provide adequate answers so don’t be afraid.  Make sure you get the direct number for the wedding co-ordinator before you leave so that if you think of something after you have left then you can call them directly for an answer to avoid any confusion.  Some questions which you might not think to ask but which can be influential to your final decision might include: will yours be the only wedding held that day; are there any major interior or landscaping works or changes planned for the near future; who will be here on the day assisting with the wedding preparations?  If you aren’t happy with an answer, don’t be afraid to go back and ask for more information or details.  This is your special day so being prepared and understanding exactly what will happen is paramount to things going well.