Over the next few months I’m going to be hitting the road, hoping to discover some really special wedding venues. I can’t wait to see the potential and meet the owners and managers who, like me, eat, sleep and breathe weddings!
Seeing as I’ll be visiting many of these venues for the first time, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my top tips for choosing a venue.
1. Take your time
Choosing your wedding venue is one of the biggest (and most expensive!) decisions you’ll make, so it’s worth allowing plenty of time to look around. Don’t try to visit so many in one day that you feel rushed before you start.
When you first walk in, ask yourselves ‘does this feel like us?’ It’s a bit like buying a home. Walk from room to room; sit at the tables and even dance on the dance floor! Can you imagine yourselves getting married there? Can you picture your friends and family having a great time? If the answer is ‘no’, move on!
2. Find out what’s included
Let’s face it; many of us sign on the dotted line without reading the t’s and c’s. When you’re choosing your wedding venue, you really can’t afford to skip to the bottom. Find out exactly what is and isn’t included in the hire charge. For example, does the price include accommodation? Does the venue have an in-house coordinator? Do they charge corkage? Don’t assume anything and remember that there is no such thing as a silly question.
It is well worth checking when you’ll be allowed to access the venue either the day before your wedding or on the morning itself. Ask what time you have to vacate the following day.
3. Check the capacity
It’s essential that you know how many guests you’re intending to invite before you book your wedding venue. Some venues have a minimum number as a well as a maximum. Keep in mind that towards the upper limit, everything may feel quite cramped! It’s hard to imagine how much room a table takes up, so ask to see photographs of the venue laid up for a dinner of a similar size to yours.
4. Ask about preferred suppliers
Most venues will give you a list of their preferred suppliers. Some will be happy for you to choose your own, others will only permit those they’ve worked with before. If this is the case, check you’re happy with the options and that they’re within your budget. This is particularly important when it comes to the caterer. If you have set your heart on a particular style of food make sure that this is something their preferred caterer can accommodate.
Similarly, find out if there are any restrictions on decorations. Some wedding venues have strict rules about the use of candles, for example.
5. Did you get along?
The wedding industry is a very friendly place and, remarkably, most venues manage to make you feel like yours is their only wedding! But if you didn’t get along with the team who showed you around, or you didn’t receive a reply to an email you sent, this should ring alarm bells…!
I hope these tips are useful. If you would like a comprehensive list of questions to ask your venue, please email emma@emmajoytheweddingplanner to receive your free copy.
Photo Credits: Forde Abbey, as captured by Annie Spratt