In the last few weeks we have met a number of engaged couples who, in their own words, ‘don’t know where to start’ when it comes to choosing the venue for their wedding, so we thought we would pass on some tips to bear in mind when you are choosing your wedding venue:
Be prepared – ask, ask and ask again!
Before you go and view a wedding venue, write out a list of questions and do not be afraid to ask them; when visiting, think about the following:
- Take with you approximate guest numbers and preferred dates.
- Always try and view your favourite venues when they are set up for a ceremony/reception as this will help you see the space available.
- Ask if the venue has minimum guest numbers. If they do, then make sure you meet these as you will be expected to pay to meet the minimum numbers if your guest list falls short and this is money that can be spent elsewhere!
- Ask how many weddings the venue holds per day/weekend?
- On a budget? Do not be afraid to ask when their cheaper rates are e.g. weekdays and out of season months, or ask if they have any special offers running.
- Ask who will be your contact in the run up to the wedding and on the day itself. You will build a strong rapport with the person you are constantly liaising with so if you build a good relationship with them it will give you extra reassurance to have them managing on the day itself.
- Always check if there is any building work(s) scheduled for when you are looking to hold your wedding. The last thing you need is to arrive the day before to set up and find your venue covered in scaffolding!
- Ask what the venue payment terms are – what is the booking deposit and when are the next payments scheduled.
- If your venue has accommodation, make sure you ask how many rooms can be set aside for your guests and do not be afraid to ask for a special rate for your guests. For those travelling on the morning of the wedding be sure to ask if there is a room or space available for them to be able to freshen up/change after long journeys.
- Are you using a venue that you are ‘borrowing’ or one that is not generally available to the public? Make sure you think about disability access and parking for your guests.
- Reception rooms – the ideal is one room, large enough to accommodate your whole party; you want your guests to share your wedding breakfast – it’s hard to feel involved if they cannot see the bridal party!
- Menu tasting – this is one of the exciting parts! Make sure to confirm with your venue what their menu tasting arrangements are and if there is a supplementary cost involved e.g. for your parents to join you.
- Table sizes! Ask the venue what size their tables are and their maximum place settings per table – there is nothing worse than guests being cramped next to each other with no space to comfortably eat their dinner.
- Check the cloakrooms! This may sound obvious but always ask to see the facilities available that you and your guests will use throughout the day – if your dress is big make sure you can fit into the cubicle! Too many venues have grand reception rooms and small, dated cloakrooms. Remember: if you are not impressed, your guests won’t be either.
- Will you be bringing in entertainers and external suppliers? Make sure you check with your venue as they may have a preferred supplier list that they expect you to use and may refuse to allow you to use anybody you have booked that is not on the list.
- Finally, remember your venue will appear in your photos so make sure it is one that you are happy with from all angles.
When it’s all over – clearing your venue
Nobody wants to think about the day after (unless you are jetting off on honeymoon!) but the final question you need to ask is when your venue will need to be cleared of any items that you have brought to the venue.
Most will clear the room down at the end of the wedding night and collate any items ready for collection the following morning; however others will expect the venue to be stripped straight after the wedding and this means you will need to find friends/family members willing to do this after a day of celebrating with you or you must make sure your external suppliers are collecting items in accordance with the venues wishes.
Remember that venues see prospective couples every week and they will be used to answering queries; go armed with a list of questions and if they are unable to provide answers on the day ask them to follow up with a phone call or email.
Remember: finding your venue is part of your wedding experience, so relax and enjoy.
Good luck and happy planning,