Here at Country House Wedding Venues, we recently found ourselves pondering the chicken or the egg equivalent of the world of wedding planning – should you select your ideal date first, or your dream venue?
While we weighed up the pros and cons of choosing one of these all-important elements over another, it seems that this question was a no brainer for our brides.
Following a survey of 120 Country House Wedding Venues brides, we discovered that an overwhelming 82 per cent would select their perfect venue before settling on a definitive date.
Image courtesy of Rafe Abrook Photography
Those that selected the venue first were thorough in their research, with responses as to how they went about it including:
“We shortlisted a selection from an online search based on location, size of venue and reviews. We booked an appointment to view the venues and fell in love with the first one we saw - Upwaltham Barns.”
“We visited a few venues before falling in love with Bassmead Manor Barns. We had a date in mind but that didn't dictate our choice of venue.”
“I was open minded - I knew I didn't want a church but wanted something other than the normal hotel. I saw Sandhole Oak Barn on a photographer’s stand at a wedding fair and asked him where it was. I Googled it then visited and fell in love with it.”
“We wanted somewhere private and where it would only be us getting married there on that day. We wanted somewhere local and rural and I didn't want to have been to a previous wedding there. We also wanted accommodation for guests to stay and to have everything in one location!”
Image courtesy of Hayley Rose Photography
Brides that prioritised the date over the venue tended to be either sentimental or pragmatic when it came to their choices:
“It was very close to the anniversary of when we had our first date.”
“It was a year to the day from when we got engaged.”
“It was the summer holidays, which meant everyone could attend. It was also a weekend day which suited us better.”
“We decided the month as it means a lot to us and the date followed.”
“We liked the time of year, and it was a good time to ask all our family and friends to travel to the wedding without losing many guests to planned holidays and work.”
When choosing your ideal wedding venue, it is important consider the following points:
Make a list
Prepare a list of wedding venues that you have in mind, be it a luxurious mansion or an elegant manor house. Research them to ensure they are conveniently located for your guests and that they offer all the amenities that you require to help you create the perfect big day.
Your budget will essentially determine the wedding venues best suited to you and your needs. Decide your budget range before you start approaching various wedding venues to avoid any disappointment further down the planning line.
You will have to ensure that any wedding venues you consider have enough space for you and all your of guests. Your chosen venue must be big enough for you to seat everyone without feeling uncomfortable, but not so large that it feels empty and impersonal.
Visit the venues
Today, the majority of people research wedding venues on the internet, where you can quickly and conveniently find all the information you need, along with photographs. However, it is impossible to put a price on the value of visiting a venue in person for a show round. There you can familiarise yourselves with the owners and staff and envisage what your day might look like.
Carry out research
Wedding venues can either turn out to be a huge success or a big disaster, so make sure that you cover all ground in order to be fully-informed about the location you ultimately decide upon. Ask questions if you have any doubts and visit the venue as many times as you wish to make sure it is the perfect one for you.
Follow these useful tips when it comes to setting the date:
Do you want to marry indoors or out? At a spacious barn venue or in a cosy castle? Consider the style of wedding you'd like to have and the most appropriate season for it as you start to think about your wedding date.
If you're on a tight budget, consider marrying during off-peak season (October to March). Alternatively, venues are often cheaper to rent on week days. Marrying during the workweek can be a tough thing to ask of your guests, but if you're having a smaller wedding and give people plenty of notice, your friends and family should understand.
Many couples want to go on their honeymoon straight after the big day, so be sure you can get enough time off of work to accommodate your busy pre-wedding schedule and honeymoon.
If you have your heart set on a particular venue, you'll need to check availability early on. Many wedding venues book weddings 12 to 18 months in advance.
While you and your spouse-to-be are undoubtedly the most important people at the wedding, you will need to try and pick a date on which all or most of your nearest and dearest are available, even if this does fall in the summer or Christmas holidays.
If you want to team up with a popular wedding photographer, you'll need to contact them soon after you begin your wedding planning to check their availability. Be flexible, though, and remember that there are many wonderful photographers to choose from.