Choosing your wedding venue is one of, if not the most significant decision when it comes to planning your wedding.
Its so easy when you are looking at wedding venues to get overexcited and swept up in the moment, falling in love with a venue that might not actually cater to what you need. All couples have different priorities for their wedding day, so a venue that fits those priorities isn’t going to be the same for everyone. Your choice of venue will have an impact on so many other elements of your day (see below) and so it is important to consider them and choose wisely.
Your wedding venue:
will determine your guest numbers (due to its capacities)
will have an impact on your budget
will determine your catering for the day (they may have an in-house service or list of suppliers to choose from)
will determine whether or not you can supply your own wine or will have to use their bar.
may affect what florists or décor companies you can use (again if they have listed suppliers or have regulations against things like confetti or helium balloons for example).
may affect the furniture you use (they may have items in-house that you have to use or cover, they may allow you to hire your own to effectively ‘upgrade’ the look).
may affect what entertainment you can have (they may have noise restrictions, or regulations on certain entertainment like fireworks for example).
will have a big part to play in setting your wedding style, affecting all your other stylistic choices from flowers and table décor to stationery and your bridalwear as you will want them to complement each other. For example, if you chose a listed mansion or grand country estate you would want your décor and bridalwear to match the grandeur of the venue. If you chose a barn or a tipi as your wedding venue you would want the décor to be rustic and in keeping with the surroundings.
So how do you get started?
Firstly, think about the venue capacity. Do you want a large venue or would you prefer a small, intimate venue? If the venue is too big for your guest numbers they can feel lost in a big space, it can feel cold, lose that intimacy and sometimes you end up spending money on filling the space with furniture or entertainment that you might not have otherwise chosen. Equally if the venue is too small it will feel overcrowded and it will determine what else you can put in the space (for example adding in a photobooth that you may have wanted). So, make sure you make a rough guest list before you start looking.
When a wedding venue is empty it is hard to imagine it set for a wedding and not all venues can offer you showrounds when they’re set up, so if this is the case make sure you look through a variety of photos, looking at different layouts as well, so you can be sure it can hold everything you want to include in your day. If you’re still not sure about the space you can ask for a floor plan (from a previous wedding) so you can look at the space available.
Next you need to think about the location.
Is it where you need it to be? Close to the church you like? Near hotels or train stations? Wherever your guests are coming from or however they will be travelling on the day, consider how easy it will be for guests to get there.
Once you are happy with the size and location of your wedding venue, you should then consider the other elements listed above – style, budget, catering, entertainment, furniture, décor and any restrictions the venue may have. These elements may not be deal breakers for you but as mentioned before every couple is different, so work out together your key requirements and see if that venue allows you to have the wedding you want. If you can do all of this research before confirming your venue it will prepare the way for a much easier planning process.
Of course if this is all too much on top of an already busy day to day life then you can bring on board a planner (like myself) who will research venues and present to you the best option(s) for your dream wedding.