Where you marry is not something to take for granted. If atmosphere is important to you, you’re going to select your venue with care. That applies to the venue of your wedding service and to the reception venue (if they are different).
When I married my good lady back in the sands of time, we attended the local register office, which was far from attractive! Knowing that, we had booked alternative venues for the other parts of the occasion. Those choices mattered to us.
The obvious choices
If you go down the full religious route, you’ll use your religious building. It’s simple enough.
It’s almost as simple if you’re having a Register Office wedding. You make an appointment to attend the office, with two witnesses. A quarter of an hour later, it’s all over. (Incidentally, pre-COVID, Registrars would come out to some venues – though at quite a price!)
You don’t have to be bound by those two alternatives. You can opt for the civil celebrant route, and then it’s a different ball-game.
This doesn’t negate the Registrars. You still have to get legally married first. That means making an appointment before the ceremony (as above).
The difference is that now you can also have your personalised ceremony – in the venue of your dreams.
And that means almost anywhere! It could be in your back garden or (with permission, of course) in a field next to a canal, up the Shard, at Stonehenge, by the seaside, in the Savoy Hotel, in a hot-air balloon – well, you get the picture! Do bear in mind dear old social distancing!
If you’re arranging the ceremony yourself, you’ll need a celebrant, and probably suppliers such as florists, photographers, make-up artists, caterers, etc.
You may want to hire a wedding planner. For the extra cost, you get peace of mind. Depending on the package you agree, every detail can be organised and overseen for you.
Regardless, you need to get permission/pay for the venue you may be using.
All this should be arranged well in advance – generally, at least a year ahead, as some of the suppliers get booked up quite early. Maybe even earlier in the new world we’re living in.
With all suppliers, try and get first-hand reports from people who have used them. This may be word-of-mouth or website reviews, but speaking to them directly is important. You can ask your questions and get a feel for the supplier’s attitude.
Remember good old health and safety – especially if you’re organising everything yourself. (No trailing wires; ensure there are sufficient toilets; check signposting, observe social distancing etc. etc.)
The bottom line is that you really can choose where (and how) to mark your big day. Of course, if you need any advice on the ceremony, just contact your friendly neighbourhood celebrant!