10 things to consider about your venue that you might not have thought of

18 Aug 2017

There’s more to choosing a wedding venue than meets the eye; here are 10 of the top considerations 

Image: Tom Pumford/ Unsplash

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When choosing your wedding venue, there’s more to consider than just the way it looks. Wedding planner Stacey Stephenson details the practical elements that you should take into account when making one of the most important decisions.

1. Number of guests

When planning your guest list, you may already be thinking about having 50 guests but these numbers may change when pen hits paper. Perhaps look at venues which can accommodate larger parties as your numbers can change. Having this option can relieve stress later on, should you wish to expand your guest list.

2. Photos

When spending all that time searching for the perfect photographer, you want to have the perfect photos of your big day but sometimes weather can get in the way of this. The venue you have chosen may have beautiful gardens complete with manicured florals and foliage and grounds which go on for miles, but should the rain pour the chances of you using these backdrops will be slim. Search the gardens and outside space – and inside the venue itself - for alternative undercover and indoor photo opportunities. Does the venue have a stunning stairway or beautiful view out of its windows? Perhaps a covered passageway through the garden, or a large old oak tree to shelter you from the Great British weather?

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3. Which day?

Weekend weddings can be much more convenient for guests but it’s your big day, so with enough notice, childcare and days off work can be booked in advance allowing you to consider a mid-week wedding. Hundreds, if not thousands, can be saved when booking a venue mid-week. Plus, booking additional services can be easier and cheaper.

4. Accommodation

With family living far and wide these days, many people will travel for a wedding to see their loved ones enter married life. This can have its benefits, as guests are more likely to stay longer when they know they do not have to travel too far at the end of the night. When sending invites, give guests the option to purchase accommodation at the venue either through yourself or your wedding planner. If there is no accommodation available at your venue, scope out places to stay nearby and suggest these to your guests.

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5. Parking

Your venue may pledge to seat 50 for your wedding breakfast and accommodate 100 overall, but what about parking? There are many venues where parking barely provides room for half of the day guests, let alone the evening too. Is the parking on a hard surface or grass? If it’s on grass, can it get boggy when wet? Does the venue have a back-up plan should anyone become stuck?

6. The ceremony

It’s becoming very popular to have garden ceremonies and quite rightly so; if your venue has a beautiful garden then why not embrace it? But every plan needs a plan B. Be sure to have a look around the venue’s indoor ceremony room; does it live up to your expectations? And if not, can it be suitably dressed to fit the occasion? Check the number of guests the licensing allows for the ceremony, incase this number differs from how many can be seated for the wedding breakfast.

7. What is included in the price?

The room may be set up with lovely chair covers, ribbons and beautiful centerpieces, but bear in mind that this is to show off the room to its full potential – so these are likely to come at an extra cost. Lighting for the dancefloor, the DJ deck system, cake stands and even bar staff if you require them; always check whether these will incur an additional cost and do not be afraid to ask for a clear list of what is included and what isn’t.

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8. Catering

Most venues will lay on catering for you, but it may well be that you have someone in mind, or you like the venue but reviews on the food weren’t great. Check with the venue to see if you may outsource catering services or if they have a restricted list.

9. Arrival

Most brides wish to save the big reveal for when they walk down the aisle. So, the big question is: can the drive or footpath on which you are set to arrive be seen by those at the ceremony? And if so, can it be concealed in any way?

10. How will it look?

Be sure to have a look around the venue at the time of year and time of day you wish to be there. For example, the garden may be in full bloom in July but you’re planning to marry in April; or the sun may have lit up the ceremony room perfectly at midday but your ceremony isn’t until 2pm. The time of year and time of day are both crucial aspects in ensuring you get the wedding day (and venue) of your dreams.