Choosing the right venue for your wedding day is arguably one of the most crucial decisions you can make in the lead up to your wedding day. It’s only once you’ve found the ideal setting for your day that you can truly begin to visualise how your wedding day might look. I frequently meet couples who fall head over heels in love with a venue to the point where they’re prepared to change the date of their big day, purely to accommodate the venue’s availability.
I can only liken your venue search to house hunting. You might look at dozens of places and not find the right one. You might get lucky and fall for the first place you see but whilst your budget will play a part in deciding where to book, my experience is that it’s a decision made more by the heart than the head. You’ll know when you’ve found YOUR venue, hopefully from the moment you walk through the door!
Here’s my checklist of factors to consider when deciding on your venue;
- Bring the outside in – Unfortunately, all the planning in the world won’t guarantee Pimms weather on your wedding day. So with the all important wedding photos in mind, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. A good venue will ideally have the best of both worlds – Picturesque grounds outside and some interesting and photogenic backdrops inside just in case the heavens open.
- Go open plan! – I’m lucky enough to play at some stunning venues including Grade II listed country manor houses. There’s no doubt these will provide your wedding day with the kind of grandieur you might be looking for but they were never built with a modern wedding in mind. If I could take a sledgehammer to some of the internal walls then I happily would! They may look stunning on the outside, but inside, many contain a myriad of rooms that won’t necessarily help with the flow of your wedding day. The bar might be in one room, the buffet served in another and the entertainment takes place it yet another room. Give your guests too much space to explore and with all those distractions your evening entertainment may fall a little flat. Look out for a future blog where I’ll detail some ideas to help keep your guests on the dancefloor.
- Alfresco Agogo! – Marquees are becoming increasingly popular as a wedding venue option. They ‘re a great way to link the outside space with the inside and give you the best of both worlds. Most marquee venues will form a single focal point for the entire day so everything takes place in a single space, from your wedding breakfast through to your evening entertainment. Marquees are also a ‘blank canvas’ allowing you more scope to make the space your own with decor, lighting and layout.
- If you are planning on holding your wedding reception in a local hotel which is part of a national or multi-national chain, beware! At first glance what they have to offer may seem very tempting, reasonably priced and good value. You may have seen some of them advertising a wedding package for £1000? How can they do this? Well, invariably this is achieved by standardising every aspect of your day which leaves you very little freedom to do things your way.
In summary, whilst your venue decision might be governed by your heart, don’t neglect your head. I wish you every success in your journey to find the perfect wedding venue. Happy hunting!