How To Make The Most Of Your Wedding Venue: Tips From Britain’s Best Venues
We spoke to some of Britain’s best wedding venues to find out how to get the best from the place where you wed.
When you have chosen your venue, you now need to work with them to create the day of your dreams, and there are many ways of doing this. For example, one of the first things you should do is ask for their preferred suppliers list – these will be local professionals who are familiar with how the venue works, and will help you get the most from it. Tried and tested by the venue before, if your venue has such a list, you should stick to it as much as you can.
Most venues have a designated wedding planner or on the day co-ordinator, who again will know all there is to know about the venue, how it works and how to make it look its best. You will come to rely on this person a lot, so you should always meet this person two or three times before the day, to get to know each other and so that they have a good idea of what you want from your wedding day. This person will be able to help you with timings, photographic locations, menus and styling.
Deputy editor Becci plans to visit her venue – Tunnels Beaches in Devon – around five times in total and advises to make an appointment, out of courtesy, but also so that the planner is on-site, available to see you and able to answer any specific questions you may have.
Talking of styling, many venues have a ‘store cupboard’ full of in-house props – things that have been used at weddings previously and work with the venue. Things like candelabra, maybe even bunting and festoon lighting. You might be surprised at how much money you can save by using these items rather than bringing them in or buying them from new.
Hire and Style offer a unique catalogue of items available to hire for your big day. Their advice is: “Choose items that complement the space you have available to you. You can save costs and get the best from your venue by moving or re-styling the same item throughout the day – a magical transformation that specialist stylists will be able to help with. Storm lanterns and trophy vases, for example, look simply stunning lighting up the aisle with a candle, flowers and clustered as a table centrepiece.”
When it comes to styling, Country House Weddings – who have four beautiful venues in England – say that you: “shouldn’t be fooled by the idea that a totally DIY wedding will be cheaper. There are so many tiny, but important, details to consider when starting from scratch that it can often be the more expensive option.” They continue: “Ask yourself, do you really want to be sourcing portable toilets, chairs and plates, or do you want to be able to spend your time and money on the dress, flowers and photographer?”
The wedding breakfast menu is a really key thing, so you will almost certainly get the best from the venue when they offer in-house catering with a dedicated chef. Again, this person will know what’s popular, what works and what is going to t with your style and budget. An in-house caterer will know the kitchens and the meal is more likely to go without a hitch.
Of course, some venues would be willing to do a deal with you – a deal that could save you money by adding in extras like table linen, decorations, even maybe a cake. Others may give discounts on ‘off-peak’ weddings – Country House Weddings say that January and February are definitely the most cost-effective months. School holidays are definitely ‘peak’, as are Thursday to Sunday – Monday to Wednesday weddings may be more affordable for you. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
We asked the wedding experts at Wasing Park to give us their tips to make the most of their lovely Berkshire venue: “Choose an off-peak date to save on venue fees; preferably a Tuesday or Wednesday, which carry the best rates for the venue and accommodation. Try to keep to the minimum number of day guests, which is 50, and plan to have your ceremony a little earlier in the day so that you can have a longer evening reception, and invite the majority of your guests to this.”
Of course, the best way to ensure that you get the best out of your venue is to have exclusivity. That way the venue is only preoccupied with your celebrations and there is no-one else around to distract from your day. Often these venues will accommodate you and your guests, as well, meaning that you get to enjoy it for longer than the 12 hours of your wedding day.
At Birtsmorton Court in Malvern, they say that key to keeping costs down is to: “Keep things simple and elegant.” The best venues do all the talking themselves, and should need little in the way of extra decoration. Birtsmorton is an exclusive-use moated manor, with extensive exquisite gardens, which your guests can wander through at their heart’s content. Birtsmorton advise: “Take a seat for dinner in the sophisticated marquee for your wedding breakfast and enjoy sumptuous local foods.
This venue provides everything you need and their on-site wedding co-ordinators are full of ideas for you to personalise each space to suit your every wish. After dinner it’s time for the big reveal! Start the night off with a bang, as the adaptable marquee opens into a converted barn filled with fairy lights, guaranteed to get your guests on the dance floor!”
Bijou Weddings are a group of upscale wedding venues, who pride themselves on offering exclusivity so that your venue is truly yours for the day… “When it comes to booking your wedding venue, think about value in terms of your time. Your time of course will be valuable when it comes to arranging your wedding, so seek what an exclusive use wedding venue can offer you; from in-house catering to tables/linen/ glassware and even recommended suppliers. Having everything done in-house when it comes to choosing an exclusive use wedding venue could certainly save you time, giving you more of it to focus on things like finding an incredible dress or booking that dream honeymoon.”
Larmer Tree agrees – when asked how to make the most of their stunning venue, they replied: “Spend the whole day with us. Your ceremony in one of our historic buildings, reception drinks and garden games on the lawn, wedding breakfast in the Pavilion. Enjoy dusk in a deckchair, or cocktail hour on the main lawn. Stroll through twinkling lights to the elegant Victorian Jubilee Hall and party the night away! Your guests can even carry on the party in our field so no expensive overnight stays required -just a tent and a stunning view to wake up to.”
As with everything wedding related, communication with all your wedding suppliers
is absolutely key. As the wedding team at Brinsop Court in Herefordshire says, “you will be surprised at how much your co-ordinator can help you and the suggestions they can make if you talk them through all of your desires and concerns. It also helps to put everyone in the picture to ensure a really smooth-running day. Brinsop Court holds the perfect balance of original features and modern décor. This ensures the historical character of the house remains. Your guests will be stunned before you’ve even thought about what decorations you need to bring to it.”