The Venue of Your Dreams

May 24, 2016

So you’re planning a major event – a wedding or vow renewal, perhaps? Where do you want to hold it? At home? In church? At a hotel? In town or in the country? Or at a venue that’s a little more wacky?

Of course, budget is going to enter into it, as will your personal preferences. Maybe you just want a modest family affair, with a few select friends. Or maybe money is no object for this (hopefully!) once-in-a-lifetime occasion.

So forgive me for not being prescriptive, but at least I can give you a few ideas and set your creative juices flowing.

Correen & Steve Farnborough Canal Centre


Before letting your imagination take wing, bear in mind the following:

  • Venues tend to get booked about a year beforehand
  • Ensure you visit your venue, have a good look (does the atmosphere delight you?) and ask the event planner lots of questions (are the answers what you want to hear?)
  • What is the transport situation of the venue (if you’re having a church service first, how easy will it be to get to the venue and park?)
  • If the venue is outdoors, make sure you get permission, and be prepared for the unpredictable!

Conventional ideas

There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing a conventional venue – why seek out complexity and potential problems? You can still make the day unique, for example, with a wonderful civil ceremony.

A back garden can make a lovely setting (beware health and safety issues and have a Plan B, in case of inclement weather). There will be extra stress, if you are handling the catering yourselves, but that is another subject!

Many people choose a hotel or restaurant. (If it’s a restaurant, make sure you have the place to yourselves, especially if you’re having speeches etc.) The registrars will come in , if it’s a licensed venue. If not (then you will have been down to the register office already), you can have a tailor-made civil ceremony/blessing etc. at the venue afterwards. This should be no problem, as long as you arrange it in good time.

More Creative ideas

The world is potentially your oyster, but when you get inspiration, don’t be blinded by excitement! If you like the idea of getting married on the seashore, sit down first and think about things such as transport, weather, refreshments and access. You don’t have to curb your enthusiasm too much, but you don’t want to be facing up to regrets at a later stage.

If you’re looking for ideas in the UK, you may choose something that fits in with your hobbies. I officiated at one ceremony at the Basingstoke Canal Centre. It might not have been everybody’s choice, but it was just perfect for the particular couple.

Stately homes and castles may all provide unforgettable settings (at a price!), and then there are places like a pod on the London Eye, or at an attraction such as a zoo or aquarium, or museum. You might be able to arrange a special bus or train.

Outdoors, there’s plenty to choose from: what about the inner circle at Stonehenge or an iron age fort like Old Sarum? Perhaps you fancy a forest clearing, a mountain top or something more exotic, like abseiling down Ben Nevis? (I’m not sure you can do that, but it’s just a thought!)

So before taking wing, plant your feet on the ground! Do consider the practicalities BEFORE jumping headlong into what appears a wonderful, novel, unique adventure.

Be prepared to be guided by professionals (event planners, civil celebrants, etc.), but then go where your fancy takes you and really have the day of your dreams!