Of all the things on your to-do list, booking your wedding venue is one of the most important. Weddings are still big business and wedding venues are much in demand. That means you have to move quickly in order to get your dream location before another bride snaps it up!
With that in mind, we have developed this guide to booking your wedding venue. It includes how to shortlist, what questions to ask and the myriad of considerations necessary to make your day a perfect one. Enjoy!
Select a Shortlist
Selecting a wedding venue tends to come down to four things. Taste, budget, timing and location. Not all wedding venues will suit everybody. Some brides love a castle, others a country house, some may like a field and others something a little more leftfield. Discuss between yourselves what kind of wedding venue you’re dreaming of and draw up a shortlist of two or three.
The budget will of course influence where you hold your wedding reception, as not all venues are created equal. It is important to define a budget before choosing a venue, otherwise costs can get out of hand and brides-to-be can get disappointed. Set your budget , satisfy yourself that it’s necessary, then start looking at venues.
The date of your wedding will often influence the venue you use and is why you should consider two or three venues when you’re planning. The further ahead you can book, the more chance you have of securing your dream place. That isn’t always possible, so be prepared to compromise if you’re planning everything last minute.
Location is of course important as you’re going to need to get from the wedding ceremony to the reception in good time. Your guests are also going to need to travel too, so you need to consider everyone’s needs here. If the venue has overnight rooms, you can book those for people who have to travel furthest. While the least of considerations, location is important.
Visit Your Potential Wedding Venues
Seeing somewhere in a brochure, magazine or on the internet is a poor substitute for seeing it in the flesh. Once you have your shortlist of reception locations that are available on the date you want, it’s important to visit them and discuss your needs with their wedding co-ordinator.
Many wedding venues will be able to offer a range of services from food, drink, entertainment, theming and parking, so it’s important to discover what each venue can offer.
Here are some useful questions to ask each one:
Can the venue accommodate all your guests?
Do they have an in-house wedding team?
Can they provide catering?
Can you bring in your own caterer?
Will food be provided for both the reception and the evening reception?
Can you supply your own alcohol and if so is there a corkage fee?
Will you have a free bar, paid bar or both?
How late will the bar be open?
Are there noise level restrictions?
Do they have an alternative space in case it rains?
Is there a safe place for guests to store personal belongings?
Will the venue decorate to your theme or allow you to decorate?
How much is the deposit to secure the date and when is it due?
Can they meet your budget?
Is there an extra charge for bringing your own suppliers?
As you can imagine, there are more questions you can ask, but this is a taster of the kind of information you’re going to need to be able to make an informed decision about the wedding venue.
Bear in mind the season you’re planning to get married in and consider how it and the gardens are likely to look. All think about the wedding photographs when touring the facilities. Where would be good places, what they will look like at different times of day and in the month of your wedding. The photographer will take care of the details, but it’s something to think about while you’re there.
The more popular wedding venues get booked anything up to a year in advance, so if you see the venue you like, book it as soon as your decision is made.
Finalising – Three weeks before your wedding day, we will contact you to confirm all details, final guest numbers and to request full payment. Payment must be made in advance to ensure everything goes to plan. This is your last chance to make any changes or discuss any special needs.
Once finalised, the wedding reception is set in stone. We begin preparing for your big day and do everything we can to fulfil our side of the bargain. You’re going to be busy leading up to your wedding but at least you won’t have to worry about the reception!