What to consider when you're choosing a wedding venue
One of the biggest and most important decisions when planning a wedding is choosing your venue. Much like the setting for an epic scene in a movie, the atmosphere and aesthetic of your wedding day will be sparked largely by your venue. For example, grand hotels and period properties naturally fit well with formal dinners, horse-drawn carriages and classical musicians, whereas a rustic wedding in a barn or outdoor setting calls more for earthy elements, folksy bands, and street food trucks.
Of course, there are also the less fun, but extremely important, practical elements of your venue-choosing limitations – such as your budget. It’s no surprise that the venue accounts for a huge proportion of a typical wedding budget, so be sure to have a range in mind before you go visiting. Falling in love with a venue you won’t be able to afford is disheartening, so focus instead on picking the best of those applicable to you.
Whichever type of wedding you’re envisioning, there’s some very important things to keep in mind when choosing a venue. Here, we explore the questions to ask, ideas to consider and key points to bear in mind when exploring your options – to help you find the perfect venue for your special day.
When you invite all of your family and friends to your wedding, they’re going to need somewhere to stay overnight if they don’t live locally. Some venues offer accommodation onsite, while others your guests will have to book with hotels or B&Bs in the area.
Hotel venues are a good choice if you want everyone to be able to easily retire at the end of the party, and perhaps even enjoy a breakfast together the morning after. Some larger, purpose-built wedding venues may also have a limited amount of accommodation, usually including a bridal or honeymoon suite for you and your partner, rooms for your immediate family and bridesmaids/groomsmen.
Even if you choose a venue with accommodation as part of your wedding package price, don’t feel obligated to pay for everyone’s rooms. You can offer the onsite accommodation and ask your guests to pay for the price of their rooms still.
You can find wedding venues in almost all locations, from bustling cities to remote beaches, in the rolling countryside or even at the foot of mountains. If you’re thinking of looking overseas to have a destination wedding, be sure to consider how practical it will be for your guests to travel with you to an exotic location. When searching for a venue closer to home, consider similar properties in different regions, as prices can vary considerably in less populated areas.
In the heart of London, there are plenty of incredible venues offering unique settings for your wedding, from cocktail bars with rooftop terraces to renovated warehouses full of jungle-esque botanical delights. Or, nestled in the countryside outside of the capital, you can find large, open spaces featuring barn conversions, lush gardens and fancy halls replicating palaces with their intricate interior designs.
The size of your guest list will depend on many factors, with your budget and preferences being two of the most important to consider. There are an array of wedding venues to suit all numbers of guests, with some able to accommodate larger numbers and others best suited to a more intimate event.
Be sure to ask for the maximum, and minimum, number of guests you need to invite to secure the venue – and how much extra you’ll pay per head over the minimum number. Consider also the main space of each venue; is it one open space, or does it consist of smaller rooms, columns, dividers, etc? Think of how you imagine your guests mingling and enjoying the space to determine if it will work for you.
When you view each venue, they’re likely to have an example table set to showcase the space and help you to imagine how your wedding breakfast will look. Ask about lighting and decorations, are they included? Are there any restrictions on what you can use? Some venues won’t allow real flames to be used in candles, for example.
Suppliers and staff
Pay close attention to the vibe you get from your tour guide when viewing a potential wedding venue, as the attitude, friendliness and attention to detail of the staff are paramount to you and your guests enjoying every moment of your wedding day. Whether it’s your proposed planner or the venue manager showing you around, notice how they speak both to you and other staff members.
Most venues will have a selection of recommended suppliers whom they use frequently. This can be beneficial as these suppliers know the venue well and are familiar with the layout, schedule and staff, which can help avoid any problems on the day. However, always be sure to ask if you would be able to book other suppliers, and which restrictions or limitations would apply. Then, weigh up the pros and cons of using the venue's suppliers over those of your own choosing.
It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your wedding, but considering the eco implications should be a big part of all wedding planning. With typical weddings producing as much as 20 kg of waste, it’s well worth asking your venue about their eco-friendly initiatives and procedures to help make your day as wholesome and kind to the planet as possible.
You can also make small changes to the details of your wedding to ensure it’s a sustainable affair, from using biodegradable confetti to reducing the amount of food you order, little adjustments can have a huge impact on the carbon footprint of your special day.
If hosting an ethical and sustainable wedding is high on your priority list, be sure to let each venue know. This way, you can assess their responses for yourself and decide which best suit your perfect wedding plans.
Go with your instinct
Some say that much like finding true love, when you find your perfect wedding venue, you’ll know. Even so, be sure to consult both your head and your heart to ensure that the venue is everything you need it to be, both practically and aesthetically. After considering your budget, guest list, location preferences and the overall feel of the venue, you’ll be sure to find ‘the one’.