Ok, you’ve got the sparkler and a great proposal story. You’ve got an idea of the date. You’ve spent AGES on all the wedding sites hunting down venues.
But how the heck do you narrow down the enormous choice of wedding venues out there? Nobody want to traipse around twenty odd venues, they all blend in to one after a while. We’ve got ten things you need to consider to give you a brilliant shortlist of venues that should be exactly what you’re looking for.
1. It’s a numbers game
There’s not point falling in love with a venue that only does 60 people when you KNOW you’re going have at least 100. And there’s no point falling in love with a venue that does 500 when you know you’ll only have 60 (you’ll be swamped in that room!). So, although you may not have exact numbers, work out roughly how many people you HAVE to have, how many you want and how many you believe will be able to attend.
2. In or out
Do you want a building or will a tent do it! Marquees and teepees are becoming more and more popular, but are dependent on numbers and the weather. They’re also not always the cheapest option. Which brings me to…
Set it early. And remember, if you’re not planning to get married for a few years, add around 10% to your budget as costs will have increased by then. Be realistic as to what you can afford / save up. This is a biggie when it comes to choosing venues. No point going for £100 per head venues if you have £50 per head budgets. And budget isn’t just your per head figure. What else do you want and what does that do to the amount you’ve got to spend? Remember too, if you go the marquee route you’ll need to add security to your budget.
4. Venue Style
If you’ve ruled out fields and tents, then ask yourself – Are you a country house or a modern city centre type? Let’s break that down a little more…do you want a sweeping tree lined driveway? Do you want sleek lines and glass fronted buildings? Do you want old? Or will a modern country house do it? The venue should say something about you as a couple and suit your personality, otherwise you might find clashes that unsettle your day.
5. Doing it alone
How will you feel if there’s another wedding going on at your venue? Or two? It’s not unheard of, so if it’s going to be an issue then rule those venues out straight away. If you’re not fussed, make a point of finding out how many and what the likelihood is of bumping into another couple.
6. Need Flexibility?
Another option is a dry hire venue, where you get the space with walls and ceilings but nothing else! The same as a marquee, you’ll need to hire everything in, but you do have huge amounts of flexibility; you can have any catering you want, as many bits of entertainment as you like. But it does all come at a cost. Bonus though…no portable toilets!
7. Photo ops
This one is especially for those of you that want a date when it might not be so lovely outside! Does your venue have great inside spaces to counterbalance no outdoor photos if mother nature decides it’s going to be very wet that day?
Do you need bedrooms for guests travelling long distances? Your ideal venue might not have any but is there some nearby?
9. Location location location
If you know your guests are all local, and there’s plenty of taxis to get them to the middle of nowhere, or if you just don’t care then by all means book that venue/field that’s got a dirt track and cows on it! But do be considerate of your guests and how they’ll get there or you might find your numbers dwindle rapidly (although that could help the budget…!).
10. And finally
Is there GRAVEL?? Now, I know a lot of you won’t care but several brides I’ve met are planning on buying very expensive shoes for their big day, and gravel is the devil when it comes to posh heels! I actually know of a few couples who went hunting for other venues as the one they thought they wanted had a full driveway of gravel and there was no getting around it. Of course you can mention it should you shortlist a gravel venue and they might be willing to put stepping stones down or brush you a pathway.
Dates, of course, will feature heavily but we understand most couples can be flexible if they have to move a week here or there. Summer months you KNOW you’ll have to get in early. BUT if you fall in love with a venue and don’t mind a bit of last minute planning get on their cancellation list, you might just luck out!
Most of all, be honest with yourself about all of these poin ts and other seemingly small matters and you’ll be onto a winner with finding your perfect venue ♥