Planning a wedding is exciting, all-consuming…. And if it’s your first time (like me) then it can be a bit overwhelming at the start. Because, to put it bluntly – where the hell do you start?
I began with a frantic Google search, but many of the articles and blog posts suggest drawing up a budget as your starting point. This may work for some people, but I for one had no idea how much things such as the perfect wedding venue, decorations and dresses etc cost. So instead we started with the fun bit, searching for a wedding venue!
One of the first things you need to consider when searching for a wedding venue is how far you’re willing to travel.
Do you want a destination wedding or something more local?
How will your guests get there and if some are travelling in from afar is there accommodation at the venue or nearby?
If your guests like a drink (and who doesn’t at a wedding?) are they going to be able to get a taxi to the venue and how much will it cost them?
Living in a small town, there seems to be a ‘circuit’ of venues near us that everyone either gets married at, or has been to for a wedding. But because we’re awkward buggers, Craig and I decided we wanted to somewhere a bit different and that wasn’t as popular. We wanted the venue to be ‘ours’ rather than following in the footsteps of our friends.
Before you book any viewings you need to decide roughly how many people you want to invite. You don’t need a guest list as such, just a rough figure. This helped us eliminate a lot of places early on in our search for a wedding venue because of minimum number requirements and how many people the rooms would hold.
We tried to find venues that fit our number so that our guests would be comfortable and ‘together’ -able to mingle but not squeezed in like sardines. At the same time, we didn’t want the room to look half empty.
Rule Out Nothing When Booking A Viewing.
Once we figured out an approximate size and travel radius, we sent about googling venues, checking out their social media profiles and booking viewings. We arranged to visit most of them on the same day and our list ranged from stately homes, to modern builds and country pubs. We didn’t really have a type of building because didn’t want to miss out on a hidden gem.
The first we looked at was a Georgian manor with large grounds and multiple bars for the guests. We thought it was nice enough to get an estimate so left our details and moved on to our next appointment.
When we pulled up outside, Craig didn’t even want to go in – compared to the Georgian manor its exterior wasn’t that exciting. In fact, it looked a bit boring in comparison. However as we’d made an appointment to be shown round we reluctantly headed inside.
I am so glad I did! The venue instantly felt like ‘us’ and had everything we wanted – multiple areas that all connected so guests could explore without being too spread out and loosing everyone. It also turns out that we’d effectively parked at the back of the ‘wedding’ part of the venue – hence the lack luster entrance!
Although we loved this venue, we went on to view about four or so more venues. I think we both knew we’d already found the place we wanted to get married in, but there felt like a lot of pressure to get the choice right. Chronic overthinker that I am, I was worried about booking somewhere and then going on to regret it.
Some of the other venues we instantly knew were a ‘no’ whilst others were just OK. I think the main piece of advice I can give is listen to your gut and the wedding coordinator. Do you get on with them, and could you work with them for the foreseeable future?
Consider the day you want to get married, even if you don’t have a date in mind, as some venues have minimum numbers and/or additional fees for certain days. We were dead set on a weekend wedding, so factored this in to our plans as we had to get a venue that would accommodate this without being extortionate.
Be prepared for questions!
In almost every venue we visited we were met with questions we hadn’t even considered.
Do you want a civil ceremony or a religious one?
Will you be getting wedding insurance? (Most of the venues we visited insisted on this.)
What month/seasons are you considering?
Are you thinking about a package deal or a DIY wedding?
Booking the venue is one of, (if not the) biggest part of planning your wedding so it can be difficult to choose and be sure you’ve made the right choice. I hope this post has gone some way in helping, because once you’ve booked – things start to feel properly real.
It’s a huge milestone, so make sure you celebrate it like one!