Where you hold your wedding is going to be one of the big decisions you make about your special day, along with the dress, whom you choose as bridesmaids, the time of year you get married and of course who is invited.
So here are some tips we’ve put together to help you choose a wedding venue that’s just right for you.
Start with the budget
There’s no point going on the venue hunt until you know exactly how much you have to spend on your wedding day. We’ve written before advice on setting wedding budgets so have a read through and then start browsing through and making a list of venues to visit. Your budget is going to affect so many things like how many guests you have, what time of day you get married, the type of venue you choose etc. so it makes sense to get this sorted first and ticked off the list.
If you’ve got your heart set on a particular location but it’s tight on budget, then ask about payment plans or different options regarding dates and room hire. If you’re flexible on times and dates you could reach a mutual agreement.
Find out availability
If you’re getting married quite soon after your engagement, you may find you have to be very flexible on wedding dates as many popular venues get booked up to 18 months in advance, particularly on summer Saturdays. Getting married during the week may free things up and you’ll probably find more availability if you choose to get married in the winter months.
Think about the number of guests you are having
Decide as a couple (and maybe with your families) about how long the guest list is going to be. A venue that can only hold a small capacity won’t suit you and anything too large will feel echoing and unwelcoming.
What about catering?
Some venues will insist that you use their own approved suppliers like caterers and others will let you arrange your own catering. Find out in advance what the options are that are available to you. If you have to use their caterers, ask to try out some of the food in advance. You might also want to see a list of other recommended suppliers too that the venue works with.
Photography and confetti
Some venues ban confetti and if you’re set on confetti-strewn photographs then this might be a problem for you, so ask in advance. Also, you might like to ask the venue about photographers as they may have some good recommendations. Remember, word of mouth is invaluable here!
What’s your perfect backdrop?
If you’re a hopeless romantic, then you could get married in a castle. The UK offers plenty of options here, thanks to our history and the variety of properties licensed for weddings. You can have your very own fairytale wedding right here close to home!
For traditionalists, what about holding your reception in a manor house or stately home? You’ll have history, wonderful gardens and beautiful architecture.
Destination weddings are becoming more and more popular. You can go off to a palm-fringed beach somewhere in the Caribbean, hire a castle in rural Italy or a palazzo in Venue, do it the Mamma Mia way and get married in Greece! You’re almost guaranteed good weather too.
If you do decide on this type of wedding though, be sure to give your guests plenty of notice as they may well want to plan a holiday around the big day.
Then there are handmade and homemade weddings. If your family home has a large enough garden, then hire a marquee and host your guests there. It will be personal, informal and you can sort out the catering exactly as you wish.
Finally, if you want a real wow factor, then think a bit outside the box. Nowadays you can get married just about anywhere. At the football ground of your supported team, in a museum, at a racecourse and you can even get married at a zoo. If you’re a slightly quirky sort of couple and not really traditional then these are all the sort of options you should consider.
Choosing a wedding venue can be really fun so follow our tips to help you make the right decision!