One of the most important decisions relating to your wedding concerns the venue. The first thing to realise is that you can’t leave it to the last moment! For one thing, the venue of your choice may well be booked up a year ahead, or even more.
Unless you already know for sure where you want to be, you will have to do some research.
You may be guided by the experiences of acquaintances. If they liked a place, it doesn’t mean that you will, but you can visit and see what you think.
You may have a passion that dictates where you’ll go. One ceremony I conducted was set in the open air at a Canal Centre (albeit, on dry land!) – the couple were passionate about longboat holidays, so it made perfect sense.
Otherwise, you’ll probably start looking at geographical areas that suit you.
You’ll can narrow the process down by looking at websites. Obviously, that’ll give you some basic information, but a visit is virtually indispensable. That way, you can get a feel for the atmosphere and beauty of the place (essential before you make your decision). You should also make an appointment with the events planner, and come with a list of questions.
Incidentally, before you visit, check the venues actually have availability for your intended date.
The big mistake
When you’re choosing your suppliers – be they florists, civil celebrants, wedding planners, musicians, photographers, or whatever – don’t go for the cheapest! Obviously, you have to respect your budget, that’s a given. But you want to go with a supplier that you feel you can trust and whom you want to work with. That may come at a cost, and you may need to try and make savings somewhere else.
When you go to venues, you will need to consider not only the surroundings, but also the event planner. Hopefully, you will like them and they’ll be sympathetic to your vision.
Ask them what you need to know. This may range from capacity to catering, from whether the whole building is included in the hire to whether the planner will be on hand on the day, from décor to logistics (like parking or microphones), and so on.
If you find a venue you love (not “like”!), go for it. If you need to cut a few corners, you can often negotiate a discount depending when you hold the event.
It’s cheaper to book a venue out of (summer) season (or Xmas and Valentine’s Day) and to avoid Saturdays or Fridays. Afternoon, rather than evening, can be cheaper.
So go to several venues (with the same questions), and you can compare.
It sounds like a lot of “homework”, but it’s your big day, and it’s important to get it right!
Feel free to call me to discuss any of this further.