Choosing your wedding venue will undoubtedly be one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as an engaged couple, so it’s good to start considering your options right away. If you’re not sure where to hold your wedding, we’ve got some top tips to help you decide…
The venue you pick will determine the amount of guests you can invite, the location of your wedding and, of course, the theme and styling, too. You need to allocate a good proportion of your wedding planning time and budget to finding your dream venue because there are so many different options to consider and look at. From manor houses to stand-alone tipis, there really is something out there to suit every kind of couple, it’s just a matter of making your own decision.
Your day, your way
First and foremost, decide on the type of wedding you want. Next, set a budget with careful consideration as to how much you can afford for your dream venue. You should also discuss with your partner whether exclusivity is important to you – if it is, this might make it more costly.
Have you dreamed about this day your whole life, and can’t imagine getting married without everyone you know to watch it? If so, then start looking at country house wedding venues with large capacities. If you’d prefer a wedding more intimate and low-key, just surrounded by close friends and family, then perhaps a garden marquee is more your thing? Once you know what best suits you as a couple, you can then start writing your guest list and begin searching for places to suit your requirements.
When to book
It’s perfectly normal for couples to book their chosen wedding venue 12-18 months before their wedding date, giving them plenty of time to plan their perfect day. The big popular wedding venues up and down the country get booked up a long time in advance during the peak, summer wedding season, so we advise that you book as soon as you’ve found ‘the one’.
That said, if you are planning a wedding in just a few months, there’s plenty of last-minute bargains to be had! If you’re planning a wedding in just a few months you might get lucky and be able to book a date at the last minute due to a cancellation or last-minute availability. Once your wedding date is secured and you’ve paid the deposit you can then move on to considering how you’ll style it.
Pick a theme
The theme of your wedding will be directly influenced by the wedding venue you’ve chosen. For example – you’re not going to have a rustic, country-garden style interior if your venue is by the seaside. Think of your wedding and venue as part of the bigger picture, and go with a venue that’s in-keeping with the theme that you want.
For glamorous, glittering modern big days, we recommend boutique hotels. If it’s a country, rustic, cider-filled wedding you’re dreaming of, then we suggest you check out your nearest barn venues. Whereas if you fancy yourself as a bit of an Elizabeth Bennett marrying her Mr Darcy then a country house will be more your thing. And if you want a little bit of everything we’ve just mentioned, pop a marquee up in the grounds of a country house, and you’ve got a little bit of them all!
Whether you plan on getting married in a church and transferring your guests to a separate reception venue, or plan on having the ceremony and evening party all in the same place, it’ll need to be a suitable location. When considering a location, most couples pick somewhere that is either near to where they currently live, or a place where either the bride or groom grew up. This is especially important to remember if you want a church wedding, because you will need to either still be living within the Parish or have a family connection to that church.
You should also keep in mind how long it takes to get to either venue (church or reception) because this might have an impact on your day. You should also consider if it’s a little off-the-beaten track, because you don’t want your guests getting in a flap and running late if they can’t find the place. Similarly, if your ceremony venue and evening venue are separate, will you be putting on transport to transfer guests? This will need to be budgeted for.
Finally if the location is in the rural countryside, what are the options for guest accommodation? You need to know this in advance, because it’s courteous to include overnight options in with your invitations.
Budget is a key factor for most couples when considering which venue to book. Before you put down any money for deposits, it’s worth chatting to the in-house co-ordinator to see if there are any deals or offers they can gift you for choosing to go with them. Sometimes they may give you the bridal suite and some complimentary rooms, or offers on welcome drinks and canapés. They might also be able to recommend suppliers that they regularly work with, who could offer discounts based on the repeat custom that the venue provides.
Also, try to visit the venue at least once if they’re hosting a fayre or wedding show, so you can see the venue all dressed up as it would be on your wedding day. Finally, if you can plan your entire wedding in under six months you might get a bargain on a last-minute package. Some venues drop their venues by as much as half the price, so if you’re a super-organised bride it could be an ideal way to secure your dream venue at a fraction of the cost!