Looking for your wedding venue can be one of the most time consuming tasks that you will do when it comes to planning your wedding, it’s probably the one that feels the most important too as it will define the look and feel of the whole day, with many of your other wedding related decisions based on it-get it wrong and your whole day will be affected…
No pressure then!…So where do you start?
What kind of wedding are you having?
First up you really need to define the kind of wedding you want to have, after all if you’re thinking traditional all the way a funky warehouse venue might not be the right fit, but if you’re after something a lot more relaxed, with a laid-back party vibe, that warehouse venue could be the ideal spot!
Sit down together and brainstorm some key words that describe the feel and vibe you want for the day-I would pick between 3-5, here are a few suggestions (in no particular order) to get you started…
Once you’ve narrowed it down to your 3-5 keywords you’ll find you can use these to guide your venue choices and return to these words throughout the planning to keep you on track.
So the list above will help you with the feel of the day but how about practical considerations? What do you want from your wedding venue? Decide your priorities re location, accommodation on site or off, transport links, costs, capacities, availability, catering, outdoor spaces, lighting, exclusive use, bar options, access times etc.
Create a spreadsheet of all the practical considerations and as you do your online search for venues keep track. You’ll soon find as you work your way through your questions some venues will instantly be ruled out but you will slowly gather a short list of venues that will be worth looking at in more detail and visiting in person.
When visiting venues pay attention to the little details, like routes your guests will take, what the bathrooms are like, whether there’s ample heating/air conditioning and where the power sockets are for your band/speeches/DJ/ceremony music.
Do chat with the venue about how they like to run their wedding days and how flexible they are willing to be in terms of timings or any ideas you may have. Are they willing to accommodate your ideas or will they revert to the tried and tested formula? Confirm any conversations you have with them in writing to check that you are on the same page and refer back to or should there be a staff change at a later stage.
Before you sign on the dotted line.
When you’ve decided on your venue do make sure that you sign a contract with them confirming the booking and payment schedule. Don’t sign anything though until you’ve seen a full breakdown of the costs that shows exactly what is and isn’t included in the price of your venue hire especially VAT. It’s also worth checking what their policy on suppliers is? Do they insist you use their recommended lists or can you bring in your own. If they do ask you to use their list check you like the suppliers on it, you don’t want any nasty surprises down the line.
I would also just ask them to confirm who will be your main point of contact during the planning stages and on the day itself, sometimes you first meet the sales team, then they pass you on to an event manager for the planning and then on the day itself it could be the banqueting manager. If you’d prefer to deal with one person throughout, you might want to consider working with a wedding planner who can oversee everything for you and liaise with the various venue staff.
Finding your wedding venue is the essential piece of the puzzle that will help bring all your ideas together. It’s all too easy to fall in love at first sight, but make sure you stay clear on what you want. This will be the biggest financial outlay for your wedding, so you can never ask too many questions!
Not sure you’ll have the time to look for your perfect wedding venue? Get in touch today to discuss my wedding planning services and to book your free wedding planning consulation so we can discuss how to find your perfect wedding venue
Photos by Cecelina Photography