How to choose your wedding venue

17 Jan 2019

Make sure you make the right choice when it comes to your wedding venue by taking heed in these top tips from venue teams across the country

One of - if not the - most essential priorities when planning a wedding is finding a venue that strikes a chord with you as a couple. Once you have announced your engagement, the next step is to find a venue and set a date, but where to start when there are so many options presented to you?

Take a look at wedding magazines, browse supplier directories and delve inside Bride's Online Venue Guide as a starting point, then make a shortlist. From this shortlist, you can begin to make appointments for a tour of each venue. 

Remember that your wedding venue is not just the backdrop to your big day and a wealth of criteria should be considered when viewing venues in person - as advised by these venue teams...

What are you looking for?

"Establish items that are important to you and your partner and draw up a shortlist of venues accordingly. It could be a venue which provides everything in one location or one that is exclusive. Visit a handful that ticks your boxes and budget." Hattie Irlam, part of the events team at Merrydale Manor in Cheshire

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"Take some time to do some research before heading out to see venues. Make an ‘absolute must-have’ list and a ‘nice to have’ and use this to help pin down some venues to view. Start by viewing three or maybe four venues and if you find one that meets your criteria and gives you the right feeling, book it. The more venues you view, the more confused you might feel." Sophie Rymer, operations manager at Birtsmorton Court in Worcestershire

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Set your criteria

"Think about the most essential criteria you have for your wedding venue, such as: do you want to get married outside; where will you have your wedding photos taken; the size of the venue; and how well they can cater for your wedding party. Also have a budget in mind. It’s your day, so make it truly memorable." Brett Stewart, wedding co-ordinator at Hotel Miramar in Dorset

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"Make a list of your requirements before you visit venues so you can ensure that it ticks all the boxes. Try to keep track of all the pros and cons of each place too as it’s very easy to forget otherwise, especially if you are seeing quite a few." Sara Harding at www.wedding-venues.co.uk

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Size of guest list

"Always decide on your guest numbers as a first priority. This way you will end up with a venue that you love and it will make it much easier to theme all of your décor and colours etc to suit the venue that you have chosen." Rachel Howard, event manager at Tatton Park in Cheshire

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Consider the team

“Choose a venue with experienced wedding co-ordinators who can work closely with you and tailor-make your big day, rather than just offering a one-size-fits-all package. You should be able to go to them for ideas, solutions, or even just a chat to steady your nerves on the day.” Caroline Harms, events office manager at The Grand Hotel Eastbourne in East Sussex

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“Find out who will run your event on the day – some venues have a separate operational manager, while others have a wedding manager who stays with you through the planning stages. You’re going to be trusting them to deliver the day of your dreams, so a good rapport is essential to help you feel at ease.” Jen Braithwaite, weddings manager at North Lakes Hotel & Spa in the Lake District

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“Find somewhere which can provide an experienced wedding co-ordinator and other services which will take the stress out of planning your wedding. It’s all about making the day unique to you, with all those special and personal touches, so make sure your venue will be with you every step of the way to help with all the big decisions and give expert advice." Josie Smith at Barnham Broom in Norfolk

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"Choose a venue that you have confidence in with a team who will be able to look after and take care of everything." Netty Hickling, wedding & special events manager at Mottram Hall in Cheshire

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A reflection of you

"When finding the dream venue for your big day, it’s important that it’s reflective of who you are as a couple." Hannah Parsons, marketing and PR executive at The Mere in Cheshire

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“Make it YOUR day and make sure the venue you choose offers you the flexibility you need to make it completely personal. We love seeing all of the little touches that each of our couples add to make their days completely unique – from a helicopter arrival to owl ring bearers” Jaegar Andrew, wedding specialist at The Elvetham in Hampshire

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Image: Ideal Imaging by Alistair Jones

"Have a vision for your venue. Many couples want a wedding venue that reflects their personalities. Perhaps an exclusive location in a stately home, a contemporary space with beautiful views, or outdoors by a lake or a woodland theme." Christine Mountney, hall manager at Capesthorne in Cheshire

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Assess indoor and outdoor spaces

"If you imagine yourselves and your family all dressed up and having the time of your lives in the space, then it’s the one for you. Practical things to consider are ensuring that the bar is big enough and in the same room as the dancefloor. Your ceremony room should feel magical. Also, is there somewhere where both of you can get ready for the big day?" Vanessa Morgan at Owen House Wedding Barn in Cheshire

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“Ideally, all facets of the wedding should be able to take place at the venue, including ceremony (unless you’re having a religious ceremony), reception, wedding breakfast and evening party.” Tony Beales, managing director of Beales Gourmet at The Italian Villa in Dorset

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Image: Kay Clarke Photography

"Your wedding is a whole day and evening experience for you and your guests, so find a venue that offers flexibility and a range of inside and outside spaces to enjoy. Ensure your venue can provide a change of setting for your guests throughout and accommodate for unpredictable weather." The team at Wrenbury Hall in Cheshire

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Image: Capture My Big Day

Create an atmosphere

"Your venue is the central part of creating the atmosphere of your wedding day. We find that many couples choose to build their theme around the venue, therefore if you have a theme in mind, it’s important to find a venue that fits your requirements." The team at Caley Hall Hotel in Norfolk

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"Remember, the venue needs to work with all the details which combine to make your day magical, such as your theme, menu, service, entertainment and photographs. So whatever venue you choose, you need to make sure you can transform it so that it can fulfil your wedding dreams." Rebecca Smith, senior event manager for Brasted’s which run three wedding venues in Norfolk and Suffolk: Brasted's, Langley Abbey and Somerleyton Hall - as well as their outside catering

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Trust your gut instinct

"The feeling you get when you’ve met the right partner should be the same feeling you get when you walk in to the perfect wedding venue. Feeling confident with your choice, and ensuring it is right for so many reasons, will make your wedding planning journey much more enjoyable.” Francesca Cribb, marketing & communications manager for Bijou Weddings 

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"When you walk in the door, you want to feel immediately at ease and confident that your venue is the one. If you can see yourselves getting married, sharing those special memories with your family, and dancing the night away with your friends, you should book." Hannah Crosdale, wedding and events co-ordinator at The Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants Group

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Image: Mr & Mrs Boutique Wedding Photography & Video

"When you know, you know. If you are feeling butterflies in your tummy (in a good way) and envisaging your perfect day, then you have probably found the one. Ultimately you want to feel relaxed and confident that your wedding day will be perfect wherever you choose." The team at Upton Farm in Devon

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Image: Russell How Photograpy

"Your perfect wedding venue needs to have a wow factor that’s unique to your vision. It should be the one that gives you that instant feeling of ‘yes, this is it’. Or, as one of our brides said recently: 'It will be the only one that makes you cry'." Jo Rowlandson, sales and marketing manager at Tower Hill Barns in North Wales

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Start your search for your dream wedding venue NOW by browsing >> Bride's Online Venue Guide

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