How to find the perfect wedding venue for you

22nd November 2017

The wedding venue is arguably the most important part of your big day. We think a lot of couples take it for granted as a background factor but it’s at the forefront of all of your decisions once you’ve found one.

Think about it – your venue dressing is guided by the interior design, sometimes your food is supplied by the in-house chefs, whether transport is needed is guided by its location; everything comes down to the building you choose. So it’s in your best interests to pick one that ticks all of the boxes. Here are some questions to ask yourself before deciding on a wedding venue!

Coworth Park, Ascot ~ see Chris and David’s Wedding here

What style of wedding do you want?

This depends entirely on your personality. If you’re a warm, folksy couple then maybe a barn or tipi will suit you. If you’re a glamourous, modern couple then perhaps a 5/4 star hotel would be better. Whatever your style as a couple you should reflect in your choice of venue. Once you’ve identified the type of wedding you want, you can narrow down the search.

Sam and Susie’s wedding ~ with Big Chief Tipis

How far will you go?

It’s an interesting debate: how far away from home would you go for the perfect venue? For example, a Scottish castle in the highlands on a sunny day would the dream for many, however, could you really see yourself and your guests driving 6/7 hours north with a whole load of luggage and arranging accommodation etc? Probably not. Far too much hassle! Identify what your catchment area is – it makes the selection process far easier.

Julie and Paul’s Wedding ~ Peckforton Castle ~ Image: Adam Riley

Can you get married there?

This sounds like a daft question but a very important one to ask! If you want a civil ceremony then make sure your venue is licensed to hold weddings, otherwise, you may have to hire another venue or marry at a registry office beforehand. This is perfectly fine but a bit of an inconvenience on the day. For religious weddings you will most likely have at least two locations anyway but make sure it’s accessible for guests to go between one and the other.

St Pancras International Station

Will everyone fit?

Consider this: Some people’s families are huge, where family photos look like a concert crowd! Whereas some families are comparatively tiny with around 12 core members. Therefore it follows that your needs and others would be drastically different. Over 200 people on your guest list? Make sure there is ample space for everyone. Don’t always take the venue’s word for it either! They may say their wedding breakfast room fits 180 but if you visit and think ‘how do they manage that?! Standing back to back?’ then you’re probably right. Likewise if your wedding is a more intimate affair you don’t want a room to look empty.

Lauren and Matt’s Wedding ~ The Palm House, Sefton Park ~ Image: SandSPhoto

Do both of you like it?

This is a big one. It may be your fairytale wedding but it’s the most important day of his life too. This decision must be made together so make sure you carry out your venue visits as a team. It may be difficult to agree on one but not impossible. Decide individually what you are willing to compromise on.

Nic and Ant’s Wedding ~ Victoria Baths, Manchester ~ Image: Mike & Tom

If you are not allowed outside catering, what about the food?

Food is a priority for many couples. Even if it isn’t a big deal to you, no one likes a bland wedding breakfast. Your guests will remember a bad meal for years to come, no matter how spectacular your table centres were! Our advice would be to start looking into the menu options and find out how flexible the catering staff are? Have as many tastings as you need to get the perfect menu for you, if you think their food is not up to scratch. Your venue should endeavour to be as accommodating as possible to your needs until you are 100% happy.

Tiff and Jack’s Wedding ~ Cheshire ~ With A Twist Catering

Does it have adequate parking and transport links?

I suspect many of your guests won’t drive to your wedding, particularly if they plan on enjoying any free booze you offer on the day! With that in mind, consider those who may be travelling from quite some distance. If that’s true of the majority of your guests then you may need to consider providing transport from nearby train stations. Vintage buses and coaches will eat into your budget but it can make things a lot easier and charm guests with personalised bus tickets, on board champagne and music!

Karen and Dean’s Wedding ~ The Titanic, Liverpool ~ Image: Adam Riley

Are there any restrictions?

Venues can be very funny sometimes particularly farm locations and country homes that are owned and inhabited by a family. If the farm or barn has livestock then fireworks probably won’t be permitted. Noise limitations can ruin the party as some venues install a machine that cuts off the power if the band or DJ go one decibel over the limit. Some venues don’t even allow petals in the ceremony room! Know what the limits are and make sure all suppliers are aware of them. There is nothing worse than a power cut at your wedding!

Stock Farm Barn, Cheshire

Can you afford it?

I’m sure some of you dear readers will think it strange that I’m asking this question so late on. Price is a big factor right? Well it depends on what’s included. Say you have a £30k budget. Naturally the biggest portion is likely to go on the venue and food so you set aside £10k to cover them. Venue 1 is a spectacular country estate with ample grounds. For 8k you get a dry hire which means you get full use of the house, the grounds, perhaps tables, chairs and linen but nothing else. Venue 2 is a 5 star hotel with a renowned catering service. For £10k you get use of the event rooms, the grounds, free bridal suite for the night before and a set three course meal for each guest. Which is the better deal? Obviously it’s Venue 2! Even though it’s slightly more expensive than Venue 1 you still get more for your money. At the end of the day, the expense of a venue depends on what is most important to you.

Louise and Phil’s Wedding ~ Chateau Rhianfa, Anglesey ~ Image: SMH Photography

What does your gut say?

After you’ve considered all of these factors and thought about things logically, it’s time to let imagination take over a bit. Can you see yourself getting married there? Do you feel the venue suits you as a couple? Were you blown away when you first saw it and could feel it all coming together in that instant? If the answer is no then keep looking.

That’s all for now folks! Thank you for reading our guide to finding your perfect venue. We hope it helped you – we had tons of fun writing this one! Where are you going to get married and why do you like it? We want to know! Pop over to Facebook and Twitter and let us know.


Main Image: SMH Photography

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