I get it, you’re newly engaged (congrats by the way) and you’re excited about getting your wedding booked. You’ve now just stumbled into the world of wedding venue shopping. You’ve realised how there’s an endless amount of options and you’re feeling overwhelmed and you’ve decided that you might just stay engaged that little bit longer. But before you close all the open venue tabs in your internet browser, I hope with these 10 things to consider before booking a wedding venue list that I’ve compiled that you’ll feel a bit more in control and one step closer to making that really big decision.
I’m well aware that money seems to be an awkward subject, but it really shouldn’t be. The main thing you need to consider here is that when making your list of wedding venues, you have got to be realistic with your budget. There’s no point googling royal palaces if in actual fact you know full well your budget won’t stretch that far. I would say first things first sit down with your other half and outline EXACLY how much you’re willing to spend on a venue. Use this as your starting point.
So you’ve outlined your budget, next thing I’d consider is the timeline, most venues get booked up between 12-18 months from each wedding date. So with that in mind, you should now think about what time of year and roughly what dates you’d like to aim for.
Have you got an idea so far of how many people you’re going to have at your wedding? Are your family really still insisting that if you invite Auntie Suzie then you’ll have to invite her best friend Doris too?
Venues have very firm restrictions on how many guests they can accommodate due to health and safety regulations, so therefore before you start approaching venues you need to outline exactly how many guests you’re wishing to have on the day. It’s only going to help you whittle down that long list of potential venues.
What’s your jam? Is it a rustic barn with a picnic as your wedding breakfast or do you want full bells and whistles formal black-tie affair at a manor house? It’s worth considering and also chatting to your partner about the sort of style they’d like! After all, it is supposed to be about both of you.
Now you’ve got your eye on a couple of venues maybe and now it’s time to think more about dates before you actually get to booking a wedding venue. I mentioned it earlier, but venues book 12-18 months out so there’s a lot to consider here. Do you want a winter wedding surrounded by log fires and mulled wine or is the only way to go a full on heatwave in your sunglasses drinking Pimms outside? There’s a lot to consider when it comes to dates and I think it really comes down to personal preference. Do you want that time of year or do you want that specific venue? The choice is yours! Just decide ahead you take upon the big task of booking a wedding venue to make sure you’re not disappointed.
As a bit of a horror story for you to think about – There was a bride a couple of years back who booked her venue on the same weekend as a big local sporting event. It meant that her family, most of them were from the US, couldn’t find anywhere to stay and the poor bride had to book them all in a hotel an hour and a half away and hire a coach to transport them! NOT exactly ideal…
That brings me nicely onto location. How do you want to decide on a location? Somewhere that means a lot to you both? Or maybe somewhere near home? Or perhaps you need to take a look at that guest list you outlined before and work out roughly where people are coming from and pick somewhere in the middle so it’s convenient for the majority of those people?
Wherever you choose make sure that when you do you’ve checked out your venue’s accessibility. Can it be easily reached or is it out of the way? Will directions be straightforward enough, for out of town guests (who are unfamiliar with the area), to make sense of? These factors become especially important if you do, in fact, end up with two venues as in a ceremony location and a reception location.
Packages, it sounds like some kind of holiday choice, but venues really do vary hugely when it comes to what they have to offer. Some venues provide a full service, catering, bar staff, accommodation… the lot, which is great if you’re looking for that polished service and everything is pre taken care of. Trust me, if life is stressful enough already then maybe you need that!
Other venues don’t take care of everything… But perhaps that’s a good thing? Maybe that means that essentially you can hire the space and add that next level of customisation. You want your catering to be a pizza van outside? You’ve got it! You fancy a tipi out in the venue’s grounds for all your guests as an accommodation? Then it’s a done deal! The possibilities are endless!
Just make sure whatever you choose that your budget considers it!
Speaking of tipis in the garden… This brings me to accommodation. I imagine this will largely depend on two things:
- How many guests are you having from outside of town?
- How many guests are you planning on having that even though they live 5 miles down the road are total lightweights. Because of this, your party is going to be messy and those people need somewhere to crash?
Whichever way you think you’re wedding will lean then make sure you ask venues what options they have in terms of accommodation. Often, lots of venues will have an affiliation with a local hotel and you’ll be able to offer all your guests a discounted offer on a room when they book, just by using your name. It’s as simple as that! You’ll basically feel like that Instagram “influencer” you’ve always followed and wanted to be like. Maybe booking a wedding venue isn’t so bad after all!
Drunk guests bring me on to curfew time. Ummm, I hate to break it to you but at some point, the party has to end. I know I sound like a real party pooper. But, if you want your wedding party to go onto the early hours of the morning. You want to witness your dad’s best mate falling asleep in the corner after one too many whiskeys. Then you’ll need a venue to accommodate that. Likewise, if you want everyone gone by 11pm so you can errm… sleep. You’ll also need a venue that accommodates that.
Finally with all of this accommodation, tipi’s, pizza vans and whiskeys in mind. If you want to make your wedding fully YOU. You’ll need to chat with those venues about how much flexibility they allow and again, it’ll come down to a bit of a compromise with how much each venue can accommodate. Most venues do genuinely try to go out of their way to make your day special so at this stage, if you have your heart set on something specific make sure you do mention it to them and see if it’ll be a problem.
Final note – Trust your instincts
If you’ve made it this far without switching off and looking at Netflix, I hope I’ve helped you in your hunt for the perfect venue. I will say one last thing, ultimately PLEASE follow your gut. I’m a strong believer that your instincts are there to look after you, so just because a venue looks perfect on paper if it doesn’t feel right I’d say don’t choose it. Booking a wedding venue is tough so choose the one that feels right for you both.
If you’d like my opinion to help you pick a venue head over to my contact page and drop me a message!