choosing a wedding venue

Congratulations - you're engaged! Now what?

So, you’ve just got engaged - congratulations! But now what? Once the initial shock and excitement have passed, you’ve phoned your nearest and dearest, and posted a photo of your ringed finger online, make sure that you take some time to enjoy that ‘just engaged’ feeling.

When you’re ready to start planning your wedding, you might be tempted to buy a dozen wedding magazines or go to wedding fairs straight away, and these can be great ways to get inspiration for your big day, but the first thing you need to do is have a realistic conversation with your fiance/fiancee about your budget. Do you have savings you intend to use, or are you going to set aside a certain amount each month from now on? Your finances will govern every decision you make for your wedding, so it’s important that you both know what your budget is, before you get carried away planning a lavish event that might not be realistic. If you’re going to have a save up for your wedding, try to work out how long it will take you to save a reasonable amount (bearing in mind weddings typically cost anything from £10,000 to £30,000!).

The next thing to consider is the guest list; start with the essential people who you definitely want to be there for the whole day, and see how many you have. Then create a second list of those who you would like to come to the evening reception, and see how many you have. You can always move people between the lists (they’ll never know!). If you end up with a very long list, have a good think about why you’re inviting certain people; do you actually like them or is it out of obligation? It is worth remembering that one of the easiest ways to save money on a wedding is to reduce the guest list!

You then need to think about the type of wedding you both want to have, and the time of year. Do you have a specific date or month in mind? Is your heart set on an outdoor wedding, a traditional church ceremony, a stately home or maybe a marquee in the garden? Is there a particular theme you want to incorporate, and therefore a specific type of venue that fits with this?

Once you have decided on the type/style/theme of your day, you can then consider potential venues. At this point you should think about key things that are personal to you that will affect your final decision, such as: how many people the venue can hold; is there accommodation onsite/nearby; can you have the ceremony and the reception there (if that’s what you want); what dates do they have available that suit the time of year you want; what are the menu choices; can you have a live band; etc…

Don’t forget, if you find any aspect of planning your wedding daunting, you don’t fancy trawling through lots of venue and supplier websites, or you simply don’t have time, you should consider hiring a wedding planner to do all the hard work for you. Yes, it will be an additional cost, but their experience and connections in the wedding industry may actually help save you money in the long run, and the stress it will alleviate from you is priceless, so it is worth thinking about. I offer a variety of planning services, from full wedding planning to partial planning, so you can pick and choose the areas you might need some extra help with.

Please get in touch to have an informal chat and find out more!

Choosing your wedding venue...

When you start planning your wedding, one of the first things you’ll need to do is decide on your venue. You may already have your ideal venue in mind, but this may change depending on your guest list, your budget, your chosen theme/style, the time of year you want to get married and the venue’s availability.

Some of the things that you will want to think about before viewing any venues are:
     - Do you want the ceremony and reception at the same venue, or different ones?
     - If your budget is an issue, would you consider having a small ceremony with a larger reception? Could your venue accommodate this, or would you need two venues?
     - Do you want an indoor or outdoor wedding? Or do you want any outdoor space?
     - What theme are you having, and does the venue suit it?
     - Do you need accommodation onsite or nearby?
     - Would you prefer a dry-hire venue, where you can often have the day before to set up and the day after to take everything down? (In which case, you might want to consider hiring a wedding co-ordinator to liaise with all the suppliers, arrange the set up and make sure the day runs smoothly.)

When you’re viewing venues you’ll want to bear these things in mind:
     - Do they have in-house catering?
     - Can you use your own suppliers, or do you have to use their preferred/recommended suppliers?
     - Does the venue offer a package with everything included, such a cake, photographer and décor?
     - What exactly is included in the price?
     - Will the venue let you decorate it yourself, or do they require you to have insurance?
     - Does the venue allow live music?
     - Are fireworks permitted?
     - Logistically, how does the venue run on the day (including timings)? This is especially important if you’re having the ceremony and reception at the same venue, and they require time to turn the room around.
     - What is the back-up plan in the case of adverse weather?
     - Will a member of staff be present on the day? If so, who? Can you meet them?

Also, don’t forget to check the finer details, such as:
     - Can the suppliers set up the day before?
     - Can you use real candles?
     - Does the venue allow confetti?

Your guest list and budget will be the biggest deciding factors when choosing your venue, but there are so many different venues available for weddings, including churches, castles, stately homes, hotels, woodlands, tipis, barns, marquees, contemporary, traditional and historic venues, that you are sure to find something that will become the setting for your perfect day.

And don’t forget, if you need any help choosing a venue or planning/styling any aspect of your wedding, please get in touch to find out how I can help you!