Making sure you choose the right venue for your wedding is vital. It’s one of the biggest decisions you will both make and can be one of the most costly parts to a wedding! To help you, here are my top tips for choosing your wedding venue.
Type of Venue
Start off by thinking about the kind of venue you can see yourself getting married at and the ‘vibe’ you want for your day. For example, do you want an outdoor/festival style wedding, a rustic vibe like a barn, or perhaps a more formal feel with a manor house?
When narrowing down your choices, think about the location. Where in the country do you want to get married? Are there any wedding venues near you that you might like? How practical would it be to get married somewhere far away from where you live? Or do you want to plan a destination wedding?
What’s important to you for your wedding venue?
What’s most important to you regarding your wedding venue? Is it location? Food? Aesthetics? Gardens? Some venues with nice gardens can have restrictions on when you can use the gardens. Some venues, particularly in cities have restrictions on how loud music can be after 11pm, will that be a problem if you want to dance the night away? Make sure you think about all the elements that are important to you and let the venues know your plans so they can flag up any areas that you might need to consider.
What is included in your wedding venue package?
Check what is included in your package. Are you just hiring the space and so will you need to arrange caterers, furniture, staff yourself (this known as Dry Hire)? Or does the venue come with their own caterers and staff? What rooms are you allowed to use during the day?
Will there be travel between venues?
Do you mind travelling between ceremony and reception venues? If you go for a city wedding, you may need to think about this. Will there be anywhere for your guests to park? Or will you need to provide transportation for your guests? If you choose a wedding venue in the countryside, can people easily get taxis to and from their accommodation?
Planning for an outdoor wedding
For outdoorsy weddings, if you plan to get married in the UK, you can only legally get married at a licensed venue and where there is a permanent roof structure (temporary marquee structures are not allowed). So you may have to do the ‘legal bit’ at a registry office before/after the day. For your main wedding celebration, you could get a celebrant to perform a more personal ceremony in the woods or in a field, which will allow you much more freedom to express yourselves in the ceremony and on the day in general.
How many guests will you be inviting to both daytime and evening? Venues can vary greatly in their capacity for both the ceremony and the reception.
Is it important to you to have accommodation as part of the venue? If you don’t mind about having accommodation on site, is there plenty available locally to the venue for guests who may need to travel?
Will you have exclusive use?
Will your chosen wedding venue be exclusive to you or will multiple weddings be happening at the venue on your day? In which case it could be busy!
What is the wedding venue layout?
What is the layout of the venue like? Is there indoor space in case of rain? Are there multiple spaces for ceremony/drinks reception/wedding breakfast? If not, how do the venue manage turning rooms around for dinner/evening?
Is the venue accessible?
Think about your elderly or disable guests; can they easily move around the space? Or make the trip through the woods or across the field? What about people with children and pushchairs? Are they able to get around easily or park their pushchair somewhere discreet when needed?
Do you get on with the team there and get a good vibe from them? You’ll be dealing with them quite a lot in the run up to and on your wedding day so a good relationship with them is key!
Top tips from two amazing Wedding Planners
I’ve also reached out to two fantastic wedding planners who have kindly given their tops tips on choosing the perfect wedding venue.
Meera from Carriages Weddings & Events top tip for selecting a wedding venue:
‘Pay close attention to the overall facilities that a venue offers to ensure that it is not only aesthetically beautiful, but practical too. For example, is there parking, sufficient toilets, disabled access, holding area for guests etc. Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with the other elements (which is totally fine) but can end up being disastrous on the day.’
Natasha from Wildflower Wedding Planner (https://www.wildflowerweddingplanner.co.uk/)
When choosing your venue it’s easy to get swept up by the aesthetics, but actually so much of the decision will come down to logistics and your budget! My top tip before you even start looking for a venue is to get laser focused on your budget so you know exactly how much you can (or want!) to allocate to your venue, and also get a good idea of how many guests you will have to make sure that 1) it’s within your price range and 2) it can accommodate your guest numbers.