We all have an idea of how we want our wedding day to look. Some love the idea of a small ceremony, escaping to somewhere sunny or having a grand celebration in a stately home.
Having been in the industry for quite a while, where I have a tick box of criteria before even considering a venue, it’s hard to for me to imagine the emotional investment that goes into choosing suppliers. The venue is definitely the MOST IMPORTANT of these. However here are some tips that I always follow
1. Does your dream venue fit within your budget?
We are spoilt for choice in Kent, in particular, for amazing wedding venues. With my couples, the starting point must be budget. Other things you can save money on but the bulk of your costs will be taken up by the venue. If you have a venue that you have fallen in love which is above your means you can try…
a) Being flexible on dates. Booking out of the main season in summer tends to be much cheaper for all suppliers
b) Decide on your priorities. For my own wedding I wanted an exclusive venue, good photographer, good food and a live band so I had to spend less on my dress, flowers etc.
c) Is there a fee for corkage are you able to supply your own alcohol? Even with a small corkage fee it will still be cheaper to bring your own wine etc..
2. Don’t book it from the pictures.
It’s a bit like buying a house. The venue will be showing you their best side in the brochure. Go and see it and if possible stay there and eat there too.
If you are getting married in high summer you will be hoping for good weather but thanks to our infamous British summers you can’t book a venue based on the outside space. The inside will need to be great too. You need to be realistic and imagine what it will look like if it’s pouring down
3. You need to consider your guests (a little)
Of course, however you want your wedding day to look is a very personal decision but I have met a few couples who book their wonderful dream wedding in the Caribbean only to be disappointed that some of their nearest and dearest can’t attend due to cost or other commitments. Not a reason not to do it, just something to think about.
4. You CAN’T get married in whatever church you want
I am afraid there are a whole other set of rules to getting married in a church. If you have your heart set on a particular church, in an area you don’t live, you will need to have some personal connection to be allowed to get married there and will usually need to attend regular services for 6 months before hand. More info can be found here
5. Questions to ask the venue before you book
- Is there accommodation on site and can you offer a special rate for guests?
- Is there a set list of suppliers that I must use if I book with you? This is becoming increasingly common and not something I don’t particularly approve of.
- Which area is licensed for weddings? In the UK you can get married outside but the ceremony has to take place under a fixed structure like a gazebo. In 2012 the UK law changed to allow civil marriage ceremonies after 6pm. If your venue offers this it may be a handy way to save money if needed.
- If you have chosen lots of different suppliers all delivering on the same day are you confident the venue is going to manage this for you? I remember from my own wedding this was more of a problem then I imagined and I wished I had paid for a co-ordinator.
Also, check things like -
Liability insurance, alcohol license timings, Use of sound system for speeches, Extra costs for cake knife (yes really), Sound check, clean up charges.
Take the stress out of organising your big day by speaking to one of our experienced Wedding Planners.