There’s a lot to consider when it comes to the wedding venue… Right…?
Well, to break down this somewhat daunting process I’ve come up with an A – Z of Wedding Venues; hopefully this will bust some myths, make you feel well-prepped for venue visits and of course settle those planning nerves.
This feature is broken into two digestible parts so swing back Wednesday for the next instalment and make sure you pin the bookmark image at the end for easy reference!
Let’s get started…
The A – Z of Wedding Venues
If you’re getting married, you’ll need accommodation of some description. Whether it’s for you and your family, guests travelling from afar or if you want a large bash with everyone you love under one roof.
If the latter is important to you, then hotels and large country estates will be the first place to start when searching for your wedding venue! For those needing accommodation in the area then have a chat with your venue to see if they can recommend some great local places to stay then include this info in your wedding stationery suites or on your wedding website – however do make sure they cover lots of different budgets.
Also, if you know there will be lot’s of guests using a particular hotel, then it’s always worth enquiring if there is a discounted rate for wedding guests.
Glamping-wise, you can find all venues who offer Glamping right here. But again, not all of you guests will feel comfortable with this so again make sure you’ve covered the local b&b/hotel options too.
Approx 10-15% of your overall budget will probably be spent on the venue. With the average wedding costing £21,000* then that means some couples will spend around £3,360 on a venue. But this is all “average” folks and it can be considerbaly more. So, to get your figures in check here are some tips to get you started;
Before you head off and start searching for venues, you probably need to get the budget in play. We have a full post on this which you can read here; but to help, here’s a quick breakdown for you!
- Make a spreadsheet.
- Decide who’s paying for the wedding – are you going alone or are family contributing…?
- Set a (rough) date – but remember to be flexible when you start the search!
- Work out how much you can save taking the above points into consideration.
- Allocate you budget – what’s important on your big day and what’s nice to have…?
- Get quotes.
- Give yourself a contingency fund – you’ll thank us later.
- Double check everything from the budget, to what you need to buy, to the suppliers you’ll need on board!
We’ve covered budget questions to ask your venue and things to consider when you’re searching in this article here.
When it comes to your ceremony, you’re rather spoilt for choice…
If you fancy a simple Civil Ceremony then the majority of our wedding venues hold a license, meaning your whole wedding can be under one roof. You’ll need to give notice and book your officiant via the County Council your venue sits in. A little tip; it’s always a good idea to enquire with the County Council and Registrar before securing your venue, just in case a Registrar isn’t available for the date/time slot you have in mind!
An alternative to the Civil Ceremony is the Humanist Ceremony. This kind of celebration can take place any where, at any time as a marriage license isn’t required. A Humanist ceremony is a non-religious blessing where couples can exchange their own meaningful words and symbolic gestures such as hand-fastening with ribbons. There’s no script, so it’s totally personal and flexible to the Bride & Groom. This kind of ceremony is perfect for couples looking at outdoor and woodland wedding venues.
Scotland is the only country in the UK that legally recognises a Humanist ceremony, so if marrying in England, Wales or Ireland then you’ll need to have a Civil Ceremony before or after the wedding day. You can find out more about Humanist ceremonies & celebrants here.
If you want to keep it traditional, then a whole host of wedding venues have beautiful Churches onsite.
To secure your venue you will be asked to put down a deposit and this will usually be a non-refundable amount of money. It’s vital that before you hand over this cash and sign any contracts you are 100% in with the chosen venue.
Make sure you read the small print attached to any deposits and remaining fund payments, so that you can understand when you’re required to pay your instalments or settle the balance.
This decision has to be made with your heart and head, because it’s a little tricky to have a change of mind when you’ve made a deposit, and rightly so.
But deposits also work in your favour too because PAYING A DEPOSIT = SECURITY & PEACE OF MIND.
E is for the desirable Exclusive Use venue!
More and more couples are wanting their wedding day to be in a private space that is solely for their friends & family. On each of our listings we highlight in the Need to Know section whether a venue is exclusive use or not. Most venues are, but if you’re looking at hotels and places that have public access such as parks then do enquire if exclusive use is a possibility and the timings for this if applicable.
A big part of your day will be the food… What you serve, how you serve and when you serve. Pretty much anything goes these days and if you don’t fancy the sit-down traditional Wedding Breakfast then that’s totally fine!
Talk to your venue about what their caterers can and can’t do for you… if you’re after something a little different then it may be an idea to work with a venue who have complete supplier flexibility when it comes to the catering and bar arrangements so you can bring in your own.
We particularly love sharing platters, interactive carving courses, street food canteens and bars and of course anything the Kalm Kitchen folks do is pretty epic! You may have spotted the ‘Gourmet Grazing Stations’ new for The George in Rye too – Donut Deli anyone…? Also we’re particularly smitten with the ‘COCO’ bar by Coco Dining (for obvious reasons).
You wedding day should absolutely be a reflection of you as a couple… So if that’s a vast loft space with minimal decor, a large country house with luxurious trimmings or an isolated beach with barefeet as the dress code then that’s all cool. But, if you’re sharing your day with a few people you know, let’s call them guests, then you might also want to take into consideration their personal requirements.
A little consideration could be shown by doing a recce of the location prior to the big day and suggesting fab things to do in the local area, or it might mean forsaking that style statement and swapping the haybales for Chiavaris for the comfort of elderly guests. Or it could just mean chatting to your venue about access, facilities and dietary options to ensure your guest’s individual needs are covered.
H is for him or her. The boy. Your girl. The groom or bride-to-be. In fact, just the other half of you, whoever that may be!
This is definitely a decision to be made by the two of you. For groom’s this is usually one part of the planning they’re happy to get involved in and I’ve long said that it’s actually one of the most romantic parts of the journey.
So work together, be a team, hit the road and enjoy it!
Insurance… A non-negotiable.
We have a whole feature dedicated to this topic so take a little look here for further reading. But in a nutshell we recommend getting some.
Having insurance significantly reduces the stress of all the “what ifs” and the potential consequences of wedding planning.
- WHAT IF you’re forced to cancel or postpone your wedding due to illness..?
- WHAT IF your wedding venue goes out of business..?
- WHAT IF one of your suppliers has to cancel or doesn’t show up..?
- WHAT IF one of your suppliers takes another booking on the same day as your wedding..?
- WHAT IF your wedding photos or video gets damaged..?
- WHAT IF there’s a personal accident on your wedding day..?
You get the drift!
Personal Insurance is a relatively small investment (between £39 – £300) and can actually save you multiple times more than its own cost if things do go wrong. Some of the most frequent claims to wedding insurers range from lost or damaged wedding attire to cancellations due to illness or bereavement. There are lots of potential scenarios – big and small – for you to insure yourself against and to give you ultimate peace of mind.
Many policies will also give you the option of insuring your honeymoon too. If flights are delayed, luggage stolen or your hotel burns to the ground before you get there (dramatic, but it paints a picture) you’ll be covered for the cost of reimbursement.
When it comes to Venue & Supplier Insurance, it’s critical that you check they have their own insurance to cover their operations, the work / services they’re providing and any errors they may make or accidents they or their staff may cause.
J is for juggling.
There’s a reason why I created this website; I believe the venue is the first and most important step into your wedding planning and for this reason I think it deserves time and attention. So, don’t try to juggle all of your planning balls at once. The wedding photographer, the florist, the dress and the favours can all wait. Start slow and ensure this first decision, the wedding venue, is made with a clear and stress-free head.
Let’s talk kiddies.
There’s a number of decisions to be made around the inclusion of children at weddings and I think you’ll either be in one camp or the other.
If you’ve always imagined have little flowers girls and page boys preceding your grand entrance then you will absolutely want to include children in your big day – when viewing venues just ensure it’s child-friendly and if there are any elements that could be dangerous (think fountains, ponds, live stock on farms) then make sure you communicate this to the parents amongst your guests prior to the big day.
Some venues may even have créche facilities (hello Hengrave Hall playroom!) or can recommend local companies.
If you don’t mind children attending but want to keep them entertained so the adults can enjoy themselves, then we love the folks at The Little Top who provide beautiful and stylish set-ups and parties for kids at weddings!
If you don’t fancy having kids at your wedding, then that’s ok. We didn’t and you should absolutely feel confident with your choice.
I think one of the biggest fails at my wedding was the bar set-up.
I wanted it in a different room to the dance floor. Why…? I couldn’t even tell you now. But it was one of the things I was totally adamant about and boy did I get that one wrong.
My venue advised me on a number of occassions to leave said bar alone and I absolutely should have listened, so L is for listen. Listen to your wedding venue and their advice about how the space works best, because they might just be right.
For most couples the only music question they will be discussing is “Band or DJ” but actually there’s a little more to think about when it comes to music at your wedding. Whatever your tastes you need to consider the following;
- Are there any noise restrictions…?
- Can amplified music be played indoors/outdoors…?
- What is the decibels limit…? (around 90 is usual here)
- What paperwork/documents does your venue require from your entertainment…?
- Is a sound check required prior to the wedding…?
- What is the finishing time…?
- Is it possible to extend the license with the venue (fee may be applicable)…?
- How big can you band be…? (some venues may stipulate a “six piece band” for example)
- Are you allowed to bring in your own speakers…?
That’s enough to get your head around today right…? Hopefully that’s been useful for those of you starting out, but definitely pop back on Wednesday for Part II folks!
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