Our Top 10 Tips - Booking Your Wedding Venue
Choosing your venue is one of the biggest & most important decisions you will make when planning your wedding. It’s the question on everyone's lips..
‘Where are you tying the knot’?
Choosing the venue is the starting point for most couples & is usually the biggest expense.
Some of the first questions you will want to ask each venue are:
* Do they have the date you want available?
* Can the venue accommodate your guest size?
Another important decision which will impact on the type of venue you choose is:
* Will you have the ceremony in a different location, for example a church? Or are you wanting to find a venue which can accommodate both?
To help you further on your way we have compiled a list of the top ten things to consider when choosing your wedding venue...
The starting point of any wedding planning is to sit down with your other half & decide on your budget. As we all know, weddings can be expensive! The biggest piece of advice we can give here is to decide which aspects of your wedding are a priority to you as a couple, & which you are prepared to compromise on. Is it top priority to have the Country Manor Hotel you have always dreamed of, or are you happy to compromise on a smaller hotel, so that you can afford that amazing photographer you love the style of?
Keep an eye out for package deals. Many venues offer these & you should be able to tailor them to meet your wants and needs. Pricing should be transparent & communicated to you from the outset. Make sure you are very clear on all costs involved before you sign on the dotted line.
Get clued up on what is included. For example, does the venue provide table linen?
Prices can vary depending on what day of the week you choose to get married, with many venues offering discounts for weekday weddings & out of season dates. Have a think about if you can take advantage of these discounts & would be happy to opt for a non peak date.
Some people find that getting married abroad saves money, but be prepared for the possibility that only close family & friends will be able to attend, if you do decide to pursue an overseas wedding.
2. Location, location, location!
Choosing your setting & ‘type’ of venue is a big decision! Some brides-to-be will be able to picture their wedding venue before they have even seen it, while others may need a bit of extra help. Castles, stately homes & country manors are all stunning options, but can be costly. Marquees, & more recently Tipi’s, can provide a fabulous blank canvas for a couple to get creative, & are the perfect modern wedding venue, whereas a hotel can provide an accommodating set-up offering comfort & convenience.
The type of venue you choose should symbolise what you are about as a couple & reflect exactly what you want out of a wedding and what you wish to share with those closest to you.
From restaurants to beautiful barns, there are so many different options to choose from!
It is important to consider the season you are getting married when choosing the perfect location. This goes beyond just thinking about indoor & outdoor venues for summer & winter weddings. For example if you opt for a winter wedding, are the roads leading up to the venue still going to be accessible if it is snowing? If your perfect day is a summer wedding, does your venue have air conditioning?
If you are considering opting for an outdoor wedding make sure you check out our last blog post ‘How to pull off an outdoor wedding’ for some extra tips & hints -
Make sure you think about your guests & how they will get there. How far out is it? What are the transport options? Do you need to allow for extra time to travel between the ceremony & reception if you are having them at different locations?
And most important of all, before making any decisions, ask yourselves the question...
‘Is this us?’ & be sure of your answer!
3. Sample the menu
If your venue allows you to have a tasting session then great! Definitely take them up on it! Whilst tasting sessions may only be offered to a couple once the venue has been booked, you should still be able to get a good idea of the style of food on offer by studying the menu.
Many venues also have their own restaurant on site. A visit to their restaurant is a fab way to test out the talents of the in-house team & will give a good indication of how your menu will taste on the day.
Don’t forget to ask your venue any food related questions you may have, such as can they provide highchairs for any younger guests & can they cater for any tricky dietary requirements?
If you are hoping to use your own caterers you need to check the venues policies on this. Some will allow you to bring outside companies in, however this is unlikely if your venue provides catering services themselves.
4. Meet the team
Most venues offer a dedicated Wedding & Events Coordinator to help with arranging all aspects of your big day. Ask to meet the key members of the team that will be involved on the day. That way you can make sure you gel with them & feel confident that they will be able to deliver the day of your dreams!
If you are considering an outdoor wedding or an unusual venue which may not perhaps have a dedicated team to help you plan your day, it might be worth considering hiring a Wedding Planner to help you with on the day coordination & the planning leading up to the wedding. There is a common misconception that Wedding Planners cost the earth but this is not always the case & their help and advice really can be priceless.
5. Check the rules!
This is an important one & will help to eliminate any nasty surprises further down the road!
Check that the venue has all the necessary licensing, such as to host a bar & live music into the evening and also what times these can run to. Some venues may have an outside music curfew to keep hotel guests happy & various other noise-restrictions. If you plan to party, ask these all important questions & call on a silent DJ if required!
Ask the venue about their refund policies (just in case), what deposit is required & by what date the balance would be due. Can you make instalment payments or do they prefer a one off payment in full?
If you are staying over at the venue on the evening & or the night before make sure you are clear on their checking in & out policies. You will more than likely want to ask about their guest room policies too. Do they allocate a certain number of rooms to your wedding guests & if so are you financially responsible for these rooms whether or not your guests go ahead & book?
At what stage do you need to confirm final numbers, especially for catering? What happens if your numbers increase or decrease after that time?
6. Supplier policies
It is important to ask each venue if they are happy to allow different suppliers in, such as your chosen venue stylist or cake maker. Some venues may insist that you opt for one from their recommended supplier list. This is an especially important question if you have your heart set on a particular supplier.
Can they accommodate a live band & are there any restrictions on what type of entertainment you can have, for example you may have your heart set on having fireworks!
Fantastic weddings are made up of numerous suppliers, all coming together to make the perfect day! Check with the venue what time on the day, or even better the day before, your chosen suppliers will be able to gain access to work their magic!
7. Have a good look around!
Don’t just view the ceremony & reception rooms! Spend some time walking the grounds & really take in the venues style & feel. Take a look at where you would like your family wedding photos taken & don’t forget to check out the accommodation, especially the bridal suite!
Check that the venue is easily accessible, has plenty of car parking space & has good disabled access if required.
It is always worth asking if the venue has any construction, landscaping or decorating plans which will be completed before your wedding day.
8. Don’t act on impulse
Take your time to think about each venue & if it is the one for you as a couple.
Choosing your venue is a huge decision & one which will shape your whole day! You do not want any doubts or regrets further down the line so make sure you are sure!
9. Read reviews
This is a big one! Make sure you read reviews!
There is no one more qualified to offer an honest & reliable account of the venue than the couples who have had their wedding there.
10. Venue styling & decor
Being venue stylists we couldn’t not mention venue decor!
The venue you choose will dictate the style & theme of the whole day!
Always pick a venue that compliments the season you're getting married in & think about how factors such as weather & sunlight will affect your decor.
Different venues will require different levels of styling. For example, if you are lucky enough to have a budget which bags you a Grand Stately Home, it is unlikely you will need to spend a great deal on the decor, as these types of venues are naturally & organically beautiful. You can create a stunning atmosphere by adding in a few personal touches on a small decor budget. If you opt for a modern hotel the decor is usually fairly neutral, creating a blank canvass & lots of scope for styling!
Some venues lend themselves perfectly to different types of decor. For example ceiling decor such as drapery or festoon lighting are a must have in a barn with exposed beams!
Don’t forget to check if there are any restrictions as to what lighting, ceiling drapery or structures can be built or used. Can you hang decor on the walls & do they allow naked flame candles or only LED’s?
Always consider ways you can incorporate existing features into your styling. For example are there any large fireplaces or floor-to-ceiling windows that can be decorated?
Be sure to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any styling tips, help or advice!