Deciding on your wedding venue should not just be about cost. Of course, you have to be guided by your budget – you certainly don’t want to over-commit. But the venue can make such a difference to the atmosphere of your big day that you need to put an enormous amount of care into choosing it.
How do I begin?
Initially, having settled on your budget, you need to decide on location and facilities. You may want to make a list of what you are looking for in a venue. Situation, accessibility and features are all to be considered. Do you want a wacky venue or something like a country house? Should they offer in-house catering? Do they allow outside caterers in? Do they have rooms appropriate to the size and tone of your occasion?
When you’ve answered those questions, it’s time to go into things a bit more deeply.
Firstly, do you know anyone who has used the venue before? What can they recommend? If they are positive, it may be time to pay the venue a visit.
If you don’t have any recommendations, have a look at a few websites and testimonials. With luck, you’ll find a few that grab you, and which you can arrange to see.
When you see the wedding planner, come armed with a list of questions. Naturally, these will vary from couple to couple, depending on requirements and vision. But you will probably need to ask about:
- Cost (yes, that’s still got to be taken into consideration!)
- Ts and Cs (how much deposit and when? what exactly will you be getting for your money? What mutual expectations do you and the venue have? Cancellation terms?)
- Can you view the room(s) you’ll be hiring?
- Will you have the services of the wedding planner (rather than a deputy) on the day?
- What facilities will be available?
- How about signposting?
- What about decorating the room?
- What catering is possible (see above)? How many tables (what shape?) can the room accommodate?
- What about acoustics? Can the venue provide a sound system, if necessary?
- Is the entertainment space suitable?
As I have intimated, only some of these questions will be relevant to each couple and there may be others I have not touched on.
However, once you’ve visited a few venues and spoken to the wedding planners, you should have a fair idea of what you want to book.
Two conditions are outstanding, in my opinion.
- Do you feel that the wedding planner inspired you with confidence? Are they pleasant, but business-like? Do they understand and respect your vision for the day, and can they accommodate your wishes? Will they be available for you on the day?
- How did the venue feel to you? Were you wowed by it from your first glimpse? Is it somewhere where you would want – no, love – to be married? Go with your gut here. It’s essential that you love the place.
Finally, don’t leave it to late to book. Many venues are taken at least a year in advance, and you don’t want to do all that research and find yourselves disappointed at the last.
If I can help you – or if you’re looking for a civil celebrant to match the venue – don’t hesitate to contact me.