Venue Credit: Drakestone House
It’s so exciting when you get engaged, it’s almost like you’re in a bubble isn’t it?!
You’re both over the moon, everyone is so chuffed for you, you have so many ideas fizzing, and images are racing through your mind as to how your wedding is going to be, how excited you are and how everyone is going to love it!
Now the fun begins! Planning!
*Venue Credit: Oxleaze Barn, Photographer: Squib Photography
After you’ve decided on your overall budget, the first step needs to be sorting out your wedding ceremony hand in hand with your venue selection – it’s almost like a juggling act and you need to do both together to ensure that you can have your chosen ceremony on a day when your venue is available…otherwise you’ll be in a bit of a panic if you book one without the other, and the other is already booked!
I always think venue hunting is like house hunting.You set your ideals including its look and location, decide on your budget and off you go.With some venues the compromise is too much, with other venues, the compromise is there but you don’t care because it just ‘feels right’ and your heart wins over your head – I totally get that, and if you can, you should run with it BUT, make sure you get all the nitty gritty details and you’re happy with everything before signing on the dotted line and paying over the deposit!
Venue Credit: Devizes Town Hall, Photographer Credit: Rose & Fay Photography
To help keep your head happy and allow your heart to run away with you, here’s a list of initial questions that I would always ask when venue hunting for a client:
Overall cost – does it include VAT?Are there any extras that you need to build in e.g. late finish time fee?Cleaning fee?Furniture hire fee? Does it include a DJ? If they have a package fee v’s a ‘build it yourself’ price list, don’t be tempted to go for the package fee without checking out the individual costs just because it’s easier and less hassle, you may save yourself a few bob!
Do you need to factor anything else in – do you need a generator?Are there enough loos?Is furniture included, or does it need to be hired in?
Wedding Coordinator – does your venue include one? How many meetings on the run-up to the wedding do you get, and when? Is the same person that you meet before the wedding the person that will also coordinate your day?
Set up and decoration time - will the venue do this to your exacting requirements, or do you need to do it / organise it?If you need to do it, when can you access?– if they can’t guarantee access the day before, find out what time you (and your suppliers) can gain access on the day of the wedding
Venue Credit: Assembly Rooms, Bath
Consider any restrictions placed on the booking - e.g. no outside catering except your wedding cake…therefore you can’t have the ice cream van you were thinking of!Do they have a corkage rate?If corkage, will the venue still chill your drinks down ready for service, provide glassware and service?If not, what are their drinks prices? Is there a sound limiter?If so, let your DJ / band know!
Recommended / preferred suppliers – do they have a list that you can check out?These lists are invaluable as they feature companies that have worked with the venue on many occasions and are considered to be super reliable and great at what they do, and are familiar with how it works to its very best
Bar price list – make sure you’re comfortable with the charges as you want to ensure your guests can afford to have a few drinks and enjoy the night.Also make sure that you like what’s on offer, and if you don’t, do you have the option to make any additions?
Finish time - generally, it’s 11.30pm or Midnight – are you happy with that or would you rather a 1am finish (which sometimes incurs an additional charge)
Photography locations – ask the venue where photographs are typically taken.Check out photographer’s blogs where they feature the venue to get some ideas.Is the wet weather contingency a good one that you are happy with?
Lastly, think about how your day will ‘flow’ - walk through your day at the venue, start with the experience of how you and your partner will arrive, how your guests will arrive, your ceremony, drinks and photographs, your wedding breakfast, your evening reception and partying.Does it all work nice and fluidly?Is the ceremony area separate to the reception area?If it’s in the same area, where will everyone go during the changeover?
Photo Credit: Alexandra Jane Photography
Overall, second to you actually marrying, the venue is the most important part of your wedding day – it brings everything together, so make sure you’re happy with absolutely every element of it before you book…even if your heart doesn’t want to listen to your head!You want to make a venue decision that you’re thrilled and excited about!
…and if you’re on the hunt for a fantastic venue and need inspiration, have a look over our Venues – they’re all vetted and approved and amazing, we highly recommend them and know that you’ll have a great experience with whichever one you choose! Simply fill out the contact forms to get an initial quote.