Finding the ideal wedding venue should be at the top of your wedmin to-do list – after all the celebratory bubbles, of course. With so many wonderful options to choose from, finding the right venue may take up a large amount of your time, and certainly the greatest portion of your budget.
Have a read of our top tips to consider before your search begins…
Identify how many guests, for the day and evening, you are likely to have. There’s no point in viewing beautiful boutique locations that can’t hold all your guests, or grand castles so massive that just a handful of guests will end up feeling lost. But as enormous as any empty space can look, imagine it packed with chairs, tables, a buffet, bar, dancefloor, band or DJ. A great idea is to ask to see pictures of another wedding at the venue, with a similar guest list size, so you can gauge the elbow room.
Be realistic in what you can afford, and set an overall budget before you start your search. Do some research into how much things like flowers or cakes cost early, so you can make sure you leave enough of your budget aside for the rest of your day.
With guests coming from far and wide, or if you are preparing to dance into the small hours, it’s wise to look at the overnight accommodation on offer. If you and your guests are unable to stay at the venue, or if there isn’t enough room for everyone, ask the venue to recommend some local hotels and guest houses as they often run discounted deals for wedding groups.
Canapés, five-course banquets, BBQs, hog roasts, fish & chip vans – the options for wedding day delicacies are deliciously endless. Knowing what kind of menu you want on the day can help steer your choice of location. Not all venues offer onsite catering facilities, for example, and if so, you may need to plan extra budget to cover external catering. Bear in mind that some venues only allow you to use their approved caterers; if this is the case, find out their costs early.
Exclusivity varies widely from venue to venue. Some venues offer all-day exclusivity from set-up until the morning after; other venues have the facilities to cater for two or more weddings within the same site. If full exclusive use is a deal breaker, then make sure you establish this from the get-go.
Having a beautiful room, landscaped garden, balconies or a riverside setting all help to create a gorgeous W-day backdrop. Make sure you spend time looking at the interior and exterior of the venue to get a feel for where your first moments as a married couple will be immortalised forever!
Echoey venues can make it difficult for guests to hear each other talking as well as impact on your band or DJ. Checking out the reception room sound quality during another event will give you a clear indication of what to expect.
And finally… remember the best venues can get booked up more than a year in advance, so get looking now to secure your perfect wedding venue and begin planning your big day!