London

How to choose a wedding reception venue in London

19 Nov 2017

What to consider when selecting the perfect venue for your London wedding reception

Words: Dakota Murphey

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Image gallery

The venue is a huge part of your wedding reception and if you are celebrating your special occasion in London, you are truly spoiled for choice with the range of options available. But don’t assume that this means it will be easy – finding the right place at the right price can be challenging. Here are some key tips to follow when you come to choose your reception venue in London.

Set a budget and stick to it

Weddings are expensive, and a big part of the expense inevitably comes from the cost of hiring the venue. Venues in London are available across a huge variety of budgets but with almost no upper limit – those looking to splash can indulge in the ultra-luxe Dorchester Hotel or the world famous Kew Gardens. But this can be a problem if you go into your search without deciding how much you’re willing to spend.

It’s all too easy to can end up choosing somewhere that is realistically far too much money and overspending, or finding the perfect venue and not being able to afford it. Before you begin your search you should decide on what you want to spend and then only consider venues that fall within this price limit. With such a wide variety of options available, you will easily be able to find something that suits your budget but is still amazing. Did you know, for example, that you can hire iconic locations for your wedding like a capsule on the London Eye or even a reception room in the Houses of Parliament?

A beautiful view?

If you’re holding your wedding in London, it’s worth taking advantage of the location. The capital has some truly jaw-dropping venues with everything from gorgeous architecture to stunning views out over the city. Having a venue with lovely views or interesting architectural features lends itself to beautiful wedding photos. The Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard hosts weddings with awe-inspiring views through the double-height panoramic windows.

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Understand the numbers

It is absolutely essential to know how many people are going to be coming to your wedding before you book a venue – remember that space often comes at a premium in London. Finding a venue that you love and then realising later that it's around half the size that you need for the number of guests that you have invited would be a nightmare. The alternative is to choose a venue first and then plan the wedding reception around the space that you have available, but you may find that this scenario unnecessarily limits you.

Get expert advice

Clearly, there is already a lot think about when you come to plan and book your wedding reception. That’s why it’s a smart idea to work with a professional venue finding service – choose a team with years of experience working with venues around London, so that their team will be able to provide you with honest and unbiased advice about the kind of location that might be suited to you. Working with professional venue finders guarantees that extra layer of protection; there’s nothing more stressful than to realise on the day of the reception that you have forgotten something important.

A good configuration

It’s sometimes the case that a couple will fall in love with the aesthetics of a wedding party venue and not really think about the practicality of holding the reception there. A good wedding reception needs to have areas for eating, drinking and dancing – and it’s essential that those areas should be separate from each other. Remember, not every guest will want to dance, and at the same time it can be off-putting to try to get up and dance in the proximity of lots of people still sitting.

Ensure that your venue has sufficient space to be able to have multiple areas to suit the desires of your partygoers. The right configuration can make the difference between everyone enjoying themselves and a more reserved atmosphere.

Consider transport issues

One issue that is often overlooked during wedding reception planning is the fact that the guests will need to make their own way there. This means that you need to take transport into account. Of course many of the venues in inner city London are well serviced by tubes and buses, but venues in some of the outer boroughs are not covered so comprehensively by public transport – that’s not a problem if you are arriving in a limousine, but for the guests who are not, this can be a real challenge. 

Take a venue like the beautiful Chiswick House and Gardens in Hounslow; it is a popular choice for its elegance and charm, but the nearest tube station is around a 25-minute walk from the venue which is less than ideal in wedding outfits. This is another aspect that you need to take into account before you book your venue.

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Pick something memorable and original

One of the major advantages of having your wedding reception in London is the variety of unique venues available. It’s definitely worth spending time finding somewhere that you really like, rather than just opting for the first place you find. One surprising wedding venue is the HMS Belfast. Aside from the completely unique décor and aesthetic, this WWII warship boasts lovely views of both Tower Bridge and London Bridge.