With the huge range of venues out there, narrowing your choice down so that you can have your dream wedding in the venue of your dreams can seem a little daunting.
Wedding planning is stressful enough without having to worry about making sure your venue is exactly what you want. So we’ve got five great tips for reducing your search, your list and your stress levels.
But before we get to those tips, there are some questions you need to ask yourselves:
First off – what kind of people are you?
Are you planners? Creative? Busy? Love a suit and a posh frock or more into check shirts and jeans? Do you want to do a lot of stuff yourself or do you want someone to take care of it for you? What about packages…will you find it easier to have the restrictions of package to help with your budget, or would you rather be able to put all the bits together however you like? Once you answer these questions, you’ll narrow your search from dry-hire (like a barn, teepee or other unmanned venue) where you choose all of your suppliers, to a full service hotel or wedding venue where they supply more-or-less everything for you.
Second – what time of day do you want your ceremony?
This can narrow down your search depending on the time of year you’re looking at. Do you want light for your photos or are you OK with night shots only? Do you only want to serve one meal? A lot of venues have minimum numbers and minimum spend on certain key dates throughout the year (especially the summer).
And finally – Have you set a budget?
Because without this in place, you might as well wade through treacle and roll around in feathers. Your budget will be the BIGGEST thing that dictates your venue options.
Now then, you’ve answered these questions so you know what type of venue you want and when you want it. But how do you narrow down that list?
1. Minimum and maximum numbers
Some venues set minimum numbers and even if you have cancellations and drop below that figure you’ll have to pay the minimum amount. Be aware of this. Maximum numbers speak for themselves; you want 100 people but the venue only fits 60, you need to decide if you can cull people or else that venue is not for you.
2. Photo Opportunities
You photos are THE only lasting reminder of your day (except your video, obvs) and they are important. BUT the type of photos you want can dictate the type of venue you choose. If you’re desperate for flora and greenery a city centre venue won’t suit you. BUT remember – the weather will also dictate your photos so you should check with your shortlist what the internal and undercover photo options are.
3. Are you having a theme?
If you want a Pride and Prejudice type style of wedding, a glass fronted modern building could look odd. OR that could be exactly the contrast you’re looking for. This comes down again to what type of people you are; your venue should be a reflection of you and your personalities. You can always tell – I’m sure you’ve been to a wedding before and wondered why the couple chose it, because it didn’t suit them. Some people have a venue in mind and nothing will change that, so they end up with a venue that possibly isn’t quite right for them.
4. Guest Satisfaction
It’s your wedding, of course it is. But your guests will help to make it memorable so you should consider them a little bit! Things like the cost of accommodation for guests, the bar costs, the menu choices, the flexibility.
5. Your ethos
Do you need an Eco venue? Sustainability important to you? This REALLY narrows your search BUT remember, not all venues will should about their eco policy (we’re working on them!) so before you write off a venue search their website or give them a quick ring to see if their policies suit yours.
Now that you’ve got your list there are two more things you need to pay attention to:
How was your greeting both on the phone and when you went for your venue visit? Were you greeted with a smile by a front of house team who knew you were coming and plonked a glass of fizzy in your hand as soon as you arrived? Or were you shoved in the lounge to wait 20 minutes for the wedding coordinator to arrive with no contact and no offer of a drink? That first meeting is very indicative of your big day so pay attention and if you’re not keen on the wedding coordinator or front of house team you’re going to have trust issues and worry about your wedding day.
How do you feel? I know, it’s a bit ‘woowoo’ but honestly, your venue should make your heart smile. You should be excited every time you think about it. You should be able to picture yourself in the perfect dress wandering around your perfect venue. And you should be able to picture yourself going back year after year because you love it so much.
Good luck in your search for your perfect venue. The Fairy Wedmother can help if you’re stuck – we offer a free* venue finding service.
* conditions apply, see the website for info