The perfect venue: Country v City
Country versus town or city weddings, which should you choose? Liz Ballinger Wedding Co-ordinator at The Bishopstrow debates that question
For many years now, happy couples looking for the perfect venue to tie the knot have fretted and flustered over what sort of venue they should use for their wedding. Do they stay local to their current home, go to the place where they met or grew up or pick somewhere entirely new? Should they escape to the country or venture into the city for their ideal wedding venue?
The location of the ceremony and the reception has such a big effect on every other element of your happy day, from the choice of caterers to the ability of guests to attend, the pressure is on to choose something that will keep everyone happy. Not only that, but the wedding venue says so much about you as a couple, picking a venue to reflect your style and personality is a tough call for anyone.
So let’s address one element of the decision making process: should you stay in town or hop out to the rural wilderness to tie the knot? Deciding whether to opt for breathtaking, rolling scenery or city centre convenience should at least start to refine your list of choices down.
Picking the right location for both you and your guests will make a big difference to your big day. A city-based wedding will usually ensure excellent transport links for all your friends and family, making lots of positive RSVP’s more likely. There will also be lots of affordable places to stay, should they want to, or plenty of public transport options for getting home after the party.
A countryside wedding can be a bit more difficult in some situations. Hosting a wedding in the Scottish Highlands is likely to exclude a good number of your guests, as those in the south will be hesitant to make the trip. However, not all countryside locations have to make getting to and from a difficult prospect. Wiltshire wedding venues, for instance, are located just a stone’s throw from the M4 motorway, making it possible to secure your stunning rural countryside escape but still ensure easy access for your guests. And with many such venues offering on site accommodation, more guests can stay over and prevent the early evening exodus that city weddings sometimes encourage.
Our winner: Countryside weddings – for onsite accommodation and assurance of company all night long
It’s unlikely that a wedding venue in a city location can rival the natural beauty that you find in countryside locations. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get some awesome wedding photos in and around your city location too. If you’re a couple with a bit more ‘street’ about you, taking pictures in front of graffiti smothered walls, around warehouses or in busy streets can actually be totally arty and cool.
However, the traditional wedding picture still tends to be on a background of rolling hills, landscaped gardens, unspoiled beaches or panoramic vistas. And it’s only the countryside location that can really deliver this in style.
Our winner: Countryside weddings – Urban can be edgy, but for timeless beauty, the countryside is the top choice
Getting married in the countryside offers a number of unique choices. Unusual castles, rural barns and tents in fields are all an option, and with so much space to play with you’ll be able to tailor your big day to completely reflect your personality and preference.
However, having your wedding in a city location can offer a huge variety of choices when it comes to unique surroundings. Sure, cities have hotels, manor houses, churches and halls, but as well as that you have the choice of warehouses, nightclubs, even aquariums or zoos. If a unique and unusual wedding venue is your bag, nothing can beat the city.
Our winner: City weddings – A wider range of quirky venues make this the top choice
Always a major consideration, price can be a make or break element of your perfect venue choice. City locations are traditionally more expensive, but, as with anything, it depends what you want. Getting wed at the Hilton with a wedding party of 500 is always going to be expensive. But with fewer guests and more flexibility in your choices, there’s no reason you can’t get married on a budget, even in the biggest of cities.
For countryside weddings, the choice is endless. With an unlimited budget you can hire out a whole castle for the weekend, or on a shoestring you can rent a local barn. Price is totally under your control, and will all depend how many people and how much you have to play with.
Our winner: Draw – both wedding locations offer a wide range of options dependant on your budget
As with every element of your wedding, there is no right and wrong answer when it comes to wedding venues. Everything depends on your own preferences, personality and ideas. Whether you have a budget of tens of thousands or of just a few hundred, with a bit of tenacity and innovative thinking, you can find the perfect venue for your big day.
Liz Ballinger is the Wedding Co-ordinator at The Bishopstrow, a Longleat Hotel in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside.