Choosing the right venue will add to the success of your big day.

You’re going to be starting on the wedding planning almost the moment you get engaged. One of the first questions people are going to be asking you is “When are you two going to get married?” And then you’re likely to be asked where.

It’s okay not to have an answer ready immediately. In fact, choosing the date and the venue are the sort of big decisions that you shouldn’t really hurry to make.

In addition, the date will affect your choice of venue and probably vice versa.

For example, if you’re set on having a country-style wedding in a marquee then you’re probably not going to decide to have a January wedding. Well, not unless you’re marrying in the southern hemisphere anyway.

Thinking about wedding venues

The first thing to consider is your budget. Obviously some venues are more expensive than others. So it’s not until you have your wedding budget in place that you can really go out venue shopping.

Once you have a figure in mind it’s going to clarify the situation.

Your options

Here’s a quick run-down of the options where you can hold your wedding reception.

  • A stately home
  • A hotel
  • A private house (either belonging to a family member or rented)
  • A marquee in a garden (either of a stately home, hotel or private house)
  • A barn
  • The local village hall or a clubhouse
  • Somewhere quirky like a lighthouse or on a boat
bride and groom in stately home

A stately home could give you that Downton Abbey feeling!

Stately homes and hotels

The advantages of marrying somewhere like this is that you can probably have the religious ceremony there as well, as the premises are likely to be licensed. A stately home may also have a church or chapel you can use, so you and your guests can just walk to the reception afterwards.

There will be staff on hand who are experienced at putting on weddings and there also may be a wedding planner or florist for you to use. On the downside you may find that you are restricted to using the venue’s caterers/florists, cake maker. So find out what you are committed to before you sign anything.

wedding reception outside

If you have room, getting married in a private house can be very personal.

Private house

If this is available to you then it’s a wonderful, personal option. You can choose the caterers, florists and waiting staff you want and if there’s room, you could also have a marquee in the garden.

However, you will also have to consider matters like parking, toilet facilities for guests and possibly the noise factor unless the house is in the middle of nowhere!

Marquee wedding

A marquee is perfect on a sunny summer afternoon

A marquee

This is a fantastic choice if you’re getting married in the summer and can also work in the spring or autumn (if you have heaters inside). If the weather smiles on you then a summer wedding in a marquee is memorable, particularly as the evening wears on. However, in the UK we can never depend on the weather so you need to have a plan in place in case of rain.

barn wedding

A reception in a picturesque barn

A barn

Barn weddings are becoming more and more popular with brides and with good reason. A barn conversion usually has stacks of character and is in a pretty and picturesque setting. Barns tend to be roomy too so you can invite a decent number of guests.

Many barns are also licensed for weddings and some have a gazebo outside under which you can get married in. Do note that weddings have to take place under a fixed structure.

West Hove Golf Club

Gold Clubs are usually surrounded by well kept grounds and lovely views…

The local village hall or a clubhouse

If you’re on a budget, this is where you could find a real bargain venue. Don’t discount village halls as they can usually be rented out for a very reasonable sum and will have kitchen facilities for your caterers.

If you like the idea but think that the inside and/or outside of your village hall lacks charm, then don’t worry. Our stylists have transformed a number of village halls into something magical, using tricks like room draping to create a fairy tale wedding reception.

room draping

Making an indifferent venue look spectacular!

Your local clubhouse, could be the local tennis club, golf club or a rowing club, is also worth investigating. Again, there will be kitchen and toilet facilities and you’re likely to be able to use your chosen caterers. See what’s in your area. The only downside is that unless it is a large concern it’s unlikely to be licensed for wedding ceremonies, although that may not be an issue for you.


Finally, if you want to hold your reception somewhere different then there are plenty of options. Depending on the number of guests you want to invite you can hold your reception in a lighthouse, in a museum or art gallery, in a theatre, a warehouse or a windmill!