The choice of a wedding venue is one of the most difficult that you’ll make during the wedding planning process. Stakes are high with the outlay of a large portion of your budget and your expectations of a dream location running high! Before you fill your diary for months to come with venue showround appointments, take a moment to check out our useful tips. They might just help to narrow your search!
Location, location, location!
A venue may be perfect in every way but just not perfectly situated. If you have a number of guests who will need overnight accommodation and the venue has none to offer then consider the impact on family and friends who will have to be scattered around the surrounding countryside in hotels or B&Bs. If a number of guests are travelling a distance and need to stay a night or two then it’s worth thinking about whether your chosen dream location has anything else to offer guests during their stay. If you’re in an enormous country house hotel with onsite facilities then guests should be satisfied but if your choice is a dedicated wedding venue in the middle of nowhere then guests may find themselves twiddling their thumbs once the celebrations are over.
If your guest list is set in stone then don’t waste time visiting venues that can’t accommodate your wedding party. It will only lead to the disappointment of having to give up your dream wedding spot or upset a bunch of family and friends!
Where to say, “I do” – Church or civil ceremony?
If your dream has always been to walk up the aisle of your local village church then your venue search should be restricted to within a reasonable radius of that spot. Don’t forget that most of your guests will have travelled to get to the church and probably won’t want to be further creasing their outfits by spending another hour in the car. Remember also that time spent travelling is time wasted that could be better spent chatting with your family and friends.
Easiest for all concerned is to have the whole shebang, from ceremony to evening reception, in one location and better still if the venue has plenty of car parking and accommodation. Find venues that hold a license for civil ceremonies on your local council website.
Name the day!
Unfortunately with the vagaries of our Great British climate, choosing a spring or summer wedding doesn’t necessarily guarantee great weather. If you’re willing to take the gamble in the hope that the sun shines for you then do take a moment to consider what Plan B your venue has on offer. Often those venues with stunning gardens and outdoor spaces lack any dry space of similar appeal! And if the heavens open that’s where you’ll be sipping your Pimms.
It has long been the practice for wedding breakfast catering to offer only one option of starter, main and dessert for all guests, aside from those with special dietary requirements. But with the media at saturation point with all things foodie we have become a nation of gastronomic critics and consequently expectations of what’s on offer for mass catering has risen considerably. So don’t hesitate in checking with your venues whether they would welcome offering a menu with more choice. If acceptable then a choice of dishes will require you to put together a pre-order sheet detailing your guests’ selection prior to the wedding itself.