Wedding Ideas Deputy Editor, Becci Clubb narrows downs the search on where to wed.
Drawing up a shortlist of venues to view is something we did very badly! In fact, we just didn’t do it. With a long list of UK venues that we like as well as possible destination venues, even deciding between places at home or abroad was a tough decision. We have now decided to get married in the UK so that more of our friends and family can be with us, and so that we can have more of a hands-on approach to planning… we finally have a country in which to say “I do”!
We started our viewings at a country house, where the wedding co-ordinator suggested we only see around three venues to avoid liking different ideas from different venues. Unfortunately, we didn’t heed her warning. We’ve already viewed more than double, looking at even more venues online too, oops!
One of the reasons our venues search is so wide is because we don’t feel tied to getting married close to home. Having a civil ceremony gives us free reign to marry anywhere, rather than just our local church. Many of our relatives would have to travel wherever we get married, so our venue location wouldn’t really impact the guest list, either. To narrow it down a little, we have opted for venues in the South West, but that opens the gates to hundreds of venues across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset!
After seeing nine venues (including Crowcombe Court, Gwel an Mor, Lusty Glaze, Cott Farm and BAYA hire domes), we knew we needed to fine tune our search. We started by writing a list of priorities. For us, these included a unique setting, accommodation for our guests, a relaxed approach, a venue we could personalise and the option of an outdoor ceremony with an equally stunning inside option as backup – the list goes on.
This left us with three venues to deliberate over: Quantock Lakes, Upton Barn and Tunnels Beaches. In the current issue of Wedding Ideas (issue 176, August) is a handy little wedding planner, which I will be taking along with me to these three venues for second viewings. As well as the planner’s questions to ask your venue section, I have added extra questions that are unique to what we want or specific to the venues I am looking at. Hopefully the second viewings will give us a clear winner!
When you visit venues, remember to take your notebook and pen to jot down things you could forget. Rough prices, minimum and maximum guest numbers, dimensions and ideas that you have while you’re there are all worth keeping note of. You’ll probably want a camera or phone for pictures to look back on after you leave, too.
With the benefit of hindsight, I would recommend shortlisting venues before you start to visit them. Try to only view around four venues – the co-ordinator was right, we found viewing so many confusing. If none of them end up being right, pinpoint what is missing before you look elsewhere.
Unless you know where you want to wed, I would leave yourselves around two or three months to find the venue. With viewings needing to be booked in advance and you needing to have the deposit ready to book, finding your venue will take longer than you first think!
Want to know how our Deputy Editor chose her bridesmaids? Check out exactly how she asked them for some of the cutest ideas we’ve ever seen!