Before you start visiting venues and begin making your way to the numerous possibilities within a hundred miles, here are some suggestions to assist with narrowing your search:
- Deciding on your budget before venturing out will avoid wasting time visiting venues that might not be suitable. Your budget should also help determine how many guests you can realistically invite and will assist with which venues to consider.
- Does the venue have a chapel? Although not essential, it is convenient and saves time to have the ceremony and reception at the same place. Some venues have gorgeous grounds for a garden or forest ceremony, but make sure there is a ‘plan B’ if you want an outdoors ceremony. The weather is one thing you can’t control and you need to know that there is an alternative should it rain on the day.
- When choosing the setting for your reception, remember that this is about having your friends and family in one place to celebrate with you and so your venue should reflect your personalities as a couple. The venue and setting should be chosen based on the atmosphere and style you would like your wedding to have.
- If your reception is more than an hour away from where the ceremony is being held and your guests cannot easily return home, you will also need to consider whether there is sufficient accommodation on the premises, or close by. At this point your wedding becomes a ‘destination wedding’ and entertainment for the weekend should be considered.
- It’s important to find out what is included in the venue hire and the cost per person.Many venues will have a rate to hire the reception hall and charge per head for catering, while others may give an all-inclusive figure, incorporating venue, catering and services into a cost per person. Most often, the venue hire includes the use of tables, chairs, basic linen, cutlery and crockery; some may include chair covers or the use of specialised chairs and even a limited selection of décor. Don’t be shy to find out these details up front, as it will avoid unnecessary disappointment and blowing the budget. Remember to include drinks in your calculations.
- The level of service you receive when being shown around a venue is usually indicative of what to expect on the day. Most venues will have staff on hand to show you around and answer questions but it’s advisable to make appointments to ensure they are available. Most importantly, be sure not to compromise when choosing your venue, as there are so many beautiful venues to choose from and your dream location is just waiting for you to discover.