Are you planning your wedding and wondering how exactly you find the perfect wedding venue?
As a Wedding Consultant and Planner and being married myself, I know how important it is to find the perfect wedding venue…well at least as perfect as it can be. But it’s tough knowing where to start isn’t it?
Getting engaged is the easy bit, it’s planning the wedding that is the toughy. Particularly, in my opinion, finding the perfect wedding venue. Does such a thing exist?
Finding the Perfect Wedding Venue
It can be quite an overwhelming process, not to mention the pressure! Plus there are soooooo many wedding venues out there, in so many different types of spaces. Plus (and I know from working at a wedding venue), all venues want you to book them so they’ll be on their best behaviour and showcasing all their amazing features when you go to look at them.
All of the above combines to create a bit of a headache…a fun headache, but a headache none the less.
That’s where I am here to help. I work with couples to help them source their perfect wedding venue, ideal for their requirements. But I also cover the steps you need to take when starting your search in the first section of my Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide, available to download here.
But for now, here’s some tips to get you started…
It’s important to get a good idea in your minds of what you want before you go to look anywhere, the major things like:
- City venue vs Country venue
- Indoor vs Outdoor venue
- Old vs Modern
- Hotel vs Venue Only vs Marquee
- Formal vs Informal
- Unusual vs Traditional
This will whittle down your choices quite significantly and make things a little simpler when you’re searching. Google can be a very daunting thing when it comes to wedding venues, so if you know the answers to the above, it’ll help a lot! And be specific with your location, this will help narrow-down your choices.
Your next main thing to consider is budget. This is a big beast, which I cover in my Ultimate Wedding Guide so I won’t go into it in great depth here (I also include an awesome downloadable budget template). Your budget will narrow-down choices quite significantly as inevitably, some venues will just be out of your price range. On this note, if you do fall in love with an expensive venue, there are ways in which you may be able to negotiate the costs.
How many people are you inviting?
The next thing is obviously size of the venue and how many people you need or want to accommodate. Your venue is either dictated by your guest-list or your guest-list is dictated by your venue! Which one are you?
We were the former, as we knew we had quite a large family and friends that we wanted there, that we couldn’t compromise on. So you have to work out how many people you need to be able to seat in your venue and how many it can accommodate standing. If you are having a civil ceremony, venues have restrictions on how many people their rooms are licensed to hold, so make sure this is one of the first things you check when looking at a venue.
The Wedding Breakfast
I‘d say the next major thing to think about is weather you want a more formal sit-down wedding breakfast, or a more informal buffet, afternoon tea or BBQ (increasingly popular option these days). This again, will dictate how many people you can invite. There’s often not a lot of room for manoeuvre on this and the venue will want to make sure they can comfortably serve your guests (it’s better that they are strict on this, it shows they take their service seriously!).
Alternatively, you may decide that you want to provide the catering yourselves or hire in external caterers, so a dry-hire venue is probably what you’ll want to be searching for.
The next thing to think about when picking a wedding venue is how your guests will interact with the space in the venue – how they move from room to room. Are there a number of rooms you can use? Or is the whole day’s proceedings centred around one space that your guests move in and out of. Don’t forget if you have your ceremony and reception in the same place, there’ll be a period of time where your venue may need to re-set rooms or you may have suppliers turning-up for the evening reception. Do you want your guests to see this? In some venues there may not be any hiding it, but that might be ok with you.
The next major thing to think about is whether you want guests to stay over at the venue, or nearby, or whether your wedding will be located within travelling distance for most people. Your accommodation requirements may dictate your venue location and mean you pick a hotel, so everyone is in one place, or choose a venue that has hotels and B&Bs locally. Or you may go alternative and have a festival wedding with tents and camping for your guests in a field. Whichever way, it’s good to have this in mind when searching for a venue.
For our wedding, we had a lot of people travelling from all over the country and from overseas, so having bedrooms at our venue and local hotels of varying budget, was hugely important for us.
The above points are just part of the deciding factors when it comes to choosing your perfect wedding venue. But if you tackle these, it’ll stand you in good stead when searching.
If you want to know more about the first stages of wedding planning, making life easier for yourselves in the planning stages and ways you could save hundreds (if not thousands) of pounds, then download my Ultimate Wedding Guide, as it’s packed full of useful tips and insider info to help you.
Tip from a Wedding Planner
Just remember, unless money is no option, it really is hard to find the 100% perfect wedding venue. You’ve got to find something that is 90% what you want and that could perhaps be tweaked to make it perfect. It is like buying a house; you rarely find a house that you feel you’d happily move into straight away without a lick of paint here, or some new lighting there. This is the same with wedding venues – go in with an open mind and think about what you could bring to the venue too.
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Title photograph by Anna Hardy Photography