How Do You Choose the Perfect Wedding Venue?
This is possibly the most important and challenging decision you'll have to make when planning your wedding and it all starts here with finding the right wedding venue for YOU.
Up until this point your wedding is a blank canvas and can be almost anything, from a big traditional church wedding with an elegant reception at a historic country house hotel to a quiet wild woodland gathering with a celebrant and back woods camping. The space you choose influences pretty much everything else and this can seem a little overwhelming but turn it on it's head and I believe perhaps you should let the space choose you. If you were a venue what would you be?
Go with your instinct...find place where you can imagine the kind of wedding that you want to create. Visit a number of venues which you've shortlisted and see if they encapsulate all of the elements which make up your perfect wedding.
Two key things to consider are how many guests are you thinking of inviting and who is going to be organising the day? The number of people you need to accommodate will dictate which venues or locations you can choose. If you'd like someone else to arrange most of details you'll need a wedding planner. Whilst some venues offer this service as part of your booking, others don't, but even if you choose a private venue or unusual location you can still hire a wedding planner and their experience and talents should not be underestimated!
Here is a helpful checklist of venues with some of the pros and cons (I'm a great believer in lists and like to have several beautiful and handy notebooks on the go at anyone time :)
Hotel Wedding Venues
A ceremony at a church first or all at the Hotel, this can be perfect solution for a classic wedding.
- Package offers - classic Wedding venues offer a range of packages which include a variety of elements from food to room dressing and entertainment
- Wedding Planner - they usually have an in house coordinator who will take a lot of the work away from you.
- Reputation - venues come build their business on recommendations so you can get a good feel for what to expect.
- Accommodation - the easiest option for your guests, at least most if not all could stay on site and arrange their own bookings.
- Flexibility - you are more restricted by what the venue offers in terms of rooms, access, menus, wine, exclusivity - venues tend to have their own way of doing things.
- Extras - most packages start with a basic offering and then you pay for extras which can soon add up
- Personal touches - sometimes venues can be sensitive about you supplying some things yourself and will charge a fee eg. for your own wine, cheese cake.
As more couples look for a classic approach to a wedding but with a twist, and feel a hotel is too formal then a private venue can often offer something unique like a castle, a country house, a converted farm or a winery.
- Just you - You typically have the run of the place all to yourself!
- Bespoke - these kind of venues are often unique in some way and offer a more bespoke service so that you can tailor things a bit more to your style.
- One to One - private venues are usually limited to fewer weddings per year and so the whole experience can feel more personal.
- Scale - some private venues can't host large weddings but this depends on the venue.
- Suppliers. -some venue will have a preferred supplier list but won't offer everything in house
- Accommodation - some venues will have a few rooms , other may just have a bridal suite which means your guests have to stay elsewhere.
Marquees and Tipis
A fantastic choice if you love to personalise every detail including the location. If you know someone with a field or a garden with a stunning view this is the one!
- Personal - this is a hands on way of hosting your wedding and creates a very special atmosphere
- Design - you can be in complete control and take time designing the set up to your exacting taste
- No last orders- you can see the party going as long as you like and even serve breakfast for those still standing
- Budget - marquees and tipis can be very expensive to hire but you can save money in other ways and you can still be completely ostentatious!
- Weather - the main risk associated with a marquee or tipi wedding is the British weather! Never skimp on a good weather proof flooring and make sure you have a good supply of umbrellas. Rain can be annoying whichever venue you choose but a good photographer will always find a way!
- Hands On - without a wedding coordinator the set up and organisation is entirely down to you and it can be surprising how stressful it can get if this isn't your thing.
Inns and Restaurants
If you would prefer a small intimate affair with close friends and family you could choose a very special place focussed on food and drink.
- Foodies! - the food and drink will definitely be the star of the show and if you and your guests are a foodies then quality reigns over quantity.
- Relaxed - a smaller wedding means a more relaxed one however well you plan. There is time to sit and chat, pause between courses and generally take the day at your own pace. Small really can be beautiful.
- Make it your own - many pubs and restaurants are now open to weddings and can provide a truly bespoke day.
- Ceremony - you will have to have the ceremony somewhere else as many venues won't have a licence or be set up for ceremonies.
- Dance the night away - it's unlikely they'll have a dance floor option so it may just be a more chilled out end to the evening.
- Drama - if you dreamed of the big white wedding this isn't it, think cosy and intimate
One of a Kind Weddings
- Unique. - this is your wedding and you are only limited by your imagination
- Be brave - just because no one has done it your way before doesn't mean it isn't possible, so don't listen to the traditionalists and conformists - this is your day, make it perfect!
So my last words should be, wherever and however you choose to celebrate your Wedding Day, ultimately it comes down to two things... you and the love of your life becuase you are everything x