How to Choose Your Wedding Venue

You’ve just got engaged – woohoo! But now everyone’s asking where and when you’ll have the wedding and you’ve no idea where to even begin!

The best place to start is always your venue. You can’t plan anything without a wedding date and you’ll never know what date you can even book your wedding until you’ve found your dream venue.

So, here are my top tips for choosing the wedding venue that’s perfect for you.

 

Size

One of the most important factors to consider is the size of your venue and how many guests it can hold. Without finalising your wedding guest list, consider roughly how many people you’ll be inviting and only explore venue options that’ll accommodate your numbers. Similarly, if you’re planning a more intimate wedding, you’ll want to look at smaller venues to avoid having too much space. A venue that’s too big with not enough guests can have a negative impact on the atmosphere of a wedding.

Huntsham Court, Devon

 

You, you, unique you

Your venue is the single most important thing to have an impact on the feel and style of your wedding. If you’re wanting a rustic, informal, relaxed vibe, you wouldn’t book a swanky, elegant, urban venue or vice versa. Consider the style and feel you’re going for, and make sure this reflects the kind of people you are, your personalities and your vibe.

Home Farm Wedding in Wiltshire

Do it all or DIY

Consider how much input you want on your wedding. Are you crafty and creative and want to get involved with all the decorations? Do you want to source your own bijou catering company? Or maybe you just want to rock up on your wedding day, knowing it’s all been done for you.

There’s no right or wrong, and you’ll be sure to find a venue to suit what you’re looking for, but this is another important thing to consider.

 

Availability and Timings

Ask your venue whether there’ll be time for you to arrive the day before. Will there be time for you to settle in and set up? It might be more relaxed to hire the venue for the whole weekend, but this might come at a cost. More established venues can hold multiple weddings each week and will only allow you to arrive the morning of your wedding. Work out if this suits your plans before deciding to book.

You’ll also need to ask what time you can party until. Most venues have restrictions on what time they need to turn sound systems off. So, if you’re keen to party until the early hours, make sure you ask about this. Do bear in mind that weddings can be long days and guests will often be ready to retire by midnight, so don’t stress too much about wanting a venue that’ll let you party until 5am.

Giffords Circus Wedding, Winchcombe, Cotswolds

Outdoor Space

Consider what outdoor space is available and how this will impact your day. If you’re keen for outdoor reception drinks, then make sure there’s space to do so.

If you’re having lots of children at your wedding, you may want more space for them to run around and stretch their little legs.

If you’re on a tight timeline and can’t afford to go off-site for portraits, make sure there’s lots of lovely outdoor space for your newlywed photographs.

If you’re after a full group shot of everybody, consider where this could take place. Your photographer will need to be able to get up high to get everybody in.

wedding guests relax outdoors at a festival themed weddingGarden Wedding in Dartmoor

Indoor Space

Considering available light in your venue is super important. Lots of natural light means your photographer can focus more on capturing moments than creating good artificial light. If your venue is lacking in natural light, consider how this will impact the look of your photographs. Ask your photographer to see an example of a wedding they’ve shot in a darker venue, to see if they still like your style. You may want to consider a second photographer for darker venues – check out my blog to find out more about the benefits of having two photographers.

Consider visiting your venue before and after dark to get a sense of what the venue feels like throughout the day – especially important if you’re planning a winter wedding when a large portion of the day might be after dark.

If your venue consists of multiple, smaller rooms consider the impact this will have on the atmosphere of the day. If people are dispersed will this fracture the atmosphere and feel disjointed? Similarly, one large room has the potential to get rowdy and may be unsuitable for older guests or children who need a quieter space to escape.

 

Restrictions

I’ve already mentioned restrictions on timings but consider other restrictions too. Are you able to throw confetti? Will you be able to use sparklers? Is there space to set off fireworks? Can you have live music? Will you be able to light candles? You may or may not want any of the above but find out what you can and can’t do before deciding on your venue.

 

What’s Included

Some venues charge extra for use of certain extras. Don’t be fooled by what’s been set up at a venue’s open day. If you’ve been quoted a price for a wedding package find out exactly what that includes.

Here are some examples of things that may cost extra:
Furniture
Linen
Corkage
Decorations
Food

 

Location

Maybe you’ve always wanted to get married near your hometown or near the beach. Maybe you’ve always had the perfect venue in mind. Consider both sentimentality and practicality when choosing your venue. Is your nearest guest over 4 hours’ drive away? There is an endless amount of stunning wedding venues in the UK so if the venue you’re considering is totally impractical, consider exploring others before making a decision.

Think about transport links and local accommodation too. Your guests will need to be able to get to your venue and are likely to need somewhere to stay too. If the nearest town is a bit of a treck away, consider hiring a bus to take guests to and fro.

Practicality

Is your venue suitable for the elderly or wheelchair users? Grandparents presence is often a very precious thing at weddings, but if they can’t get into the ceremony room maybe you need to look elsewhere.

Cornish Home Farm Wedding

Flow of the Day

Ask your venue about how the day will flow. For example, if the ceremony is in the same room as the wedding breakfast, where will guests go for the turnaround?

The weather may also impact the flow of the day, I’m going to be writing another blog al about coping with the wet stuff on your big day soon.

Does your package include a wedding coordinator? You may be happy enough to plan everything before your wedding day, but someone needs to ensure the smooth running of the day itself so you can relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour. If your venue doesn’t include a coordinator, why not hire someone like the wonderful Natalie from Toastworthy Events. Natalie can be hired for the day and will take charge of all the intricacies to give you peace of mind and ensure your day goes to plan.

 

St Audries Park, Somerset

Rockbeare Manor, Devon

 

Becky is a Somerset Wedding Photographer with a natural, informal, documentary style and a love of beautiful, creative portraits.

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