Wedding venues take up a big chunk of your budget, so they have got to be perfect. Whether you have your ceremony in one location and then move on to your reception, or hold the whole celebration in one place, remember these top tips from Guides for Brides before booking…
Have you chosen a date?
Have you both set your hearts on marrying on a particular date? If so, check that the venue is available before even asking for a brochure. Popular venues can book up a year in advance so don’t waste your time on a venue that is already booked for your date. As there tends to be a large deposit at stake, cancellations are rare.
What’s your budget?
Most venues charge for weddings on a per head basis so if you are on a limited budget you need to make a decision early on; a less expensive venue with a long guest list or a more luxury option with fewer guests to help you to celebrate.
Do you feel comfortable here?
It is all very well booking a grand country estate for your wedding, but if you and your guests will feel uncomfortable surrounded by stag heads you may prefer to look for urban chic instead. Also think about elderly or disabled relatives, will they be able to move around easily? Are there a lot of steps up to your ceremony room? Is there a place where guests with children can chill out later in the day?
Do you want a summer wedding?
Some venues are particularly suitable for summer weddings and have creatively interpreted the rules for civil weddings so that they can carry out the outdoor wedding ceremony that many couples dream of. Some open up barn doors and seat all but the bridal party outside, others have built special permanent gazebos for the bride, groom and registrar to stand in for the legal part of the ceremony.
Is it a religious or civil ceremony?
Are you planning on a church wedding? If so your venue should ideally be less than 20 minutes from your church to cut down on the transport time for guests. If you are planning on a civil ceremony or partnership you will need to choose a venue that has been licensed for civil weddings. Ask this at the start of your visit to avoid disappointment. Many civil venues will have a range of rooms to choose from, so make sure you see them all.
Are you staying the night?
Many couples rule out venues just because there isn’t any overnight accommodation for them, or their guests, after the wedding. Is there another hotel nearby where you could stay? Research from Guides for Brides suggests that savings on the cost of a less popular venue will more than cover the price of a vintage bus or a fleet of limos to take you to a nearby hotel at the end of the evening.
Are you control freak?
Some venues are available as a basic hire where you get the use of the venue for the day with nothing else included, and you are left to arrange everything from caterers to the cake table by yourself. This option is great if you have the time and the inclination to get everything and everyone organised, wedding planner style! Otherwise opt for a venue offering wedding packages and ideally an in-house wedding coordinator to do the leg work for you. All-inclusive packages are very popular with today’s busy brides.
Still on the hunt for your perfect location? Take a look at Guides for Brides to see the best wedding venues and suppliers in your area. And to learn more about the wedding packages available at the venue’s shown above go to Whatley Manor and Eynsham Hall.