Your wedding venue is one of the most important things you’ll choose in the run up to your big day (yes, even more important than the dress!). Your venue will have a huge impact on the feel of the day, how many guests can attend, and your overall wedding budget – it’s likely to be one of your biggest expenditures, so you want to get it right! If you’ve no idea where to start, then we can help. Here are our top tips…
Work out your budget and guest list first
Rather than just jumping into looking at every venue nearby, create a shortlist by having a frank discussion with your fiancé about how much you want to spend and how many people you want at the ceremony and reception. The last thing you want to do is to fall in love with a place, only to find out that it’s way over budget or can’t fit all your nearest and dearest in. To give you a guideline, you can expect to pay around 40% to 50% of your entire budget on your reception venue, including food and drink.
Location, location, location
When looking at your shortlist of wedding venues, bear in mind where the majority of your guests will be coming from and where the nearest hotels are. If your families are based quite far apart, or one of you has a lot of family overseas, address this early on to avoid disagreements later down the line. Ideally, the location will also be somewhere that you can easily plan from – it can start to get tricky if you’re based in Scotland but trying to liaise with vendors and suppliers in Cornwall!
Image © Ed Brown Photography at Mythe Barn
Think about how you want your day to feel
Once you have a budget, a size and a location, the next thing you should consider is less set in stone – how you want your wedding to feel. Your day should be a reflection of you as a couple, and the venue is a big part of that. If you’re both country bumpkins at heart and you love natural surroundings, then you can rule out swish city hotels. If you want a sparkling 1920s Great Gatsby theme, then you’re probably best avoiding rustic yurts. It may sound obvious, but feeling a real connection to your venue is a good sign that it’s the one for you.
Image © Weddings by Nicola & Glen at Morden Hall
Be flexible with the date
If you’re starting to feel like you’re running out of venue choices, or you’ve fallen in love with a venue only to find out that it’s not available, think carefully about your wedding date and whether you’re willing to change it. Many venues are more likely to be free on a weekday, or even a Sunday. You could swap a peak season June or July wedding for one in October – not only are venues less likely to be booked up in the off peak months, they’re a lot likely to be cheaper, too! Being flexible means that you’ll give yourself a wider range of venues to choose from, and you’re more likely to find that perfect venue for you.
Image © Georgie H Photography at Bassmead Manor Barns