The venue is one of the most important decisions that you’ll make when planning your wedding.
Consider this post your Venue Check List to make sure you’re asking the right questions.
The times at which you can access your venue on/around your wedding day will have a major influence on how your day will run.
If you’ve got a fantasy image in your head, with extravagant table displays, floral garlands adoring the room and décor that will take hours to assemble, will you have enough time on the morning of your wedding? Are you able to access the venue the day before to complete the set up in advance? This is a real bonus as it will leave you with the morning of your wedding day to sip champagne, have your hair and make up done, with the reassurance that your venue was decorated the night before. Some wedding packages include this day before access, some will charge a hefty fee; try to find out before you book. Image sourced here.
It’s also worth asking whether or not you can pick up all the bits and bobs the day after too. When you’re exhausted, emotional and ready for bed, is that really the time you want to be dismantling the venue and packing away the bunting? This may be influenced by how many weddings the venue have going on that weekend.
Venues that I refer to as ‘wedding factories’ will often have between 2-4 weddings per weekend and you may find yourselves mixing with guests from other weddings, or being rushed out to make room for the next function. Consider a 1-wedding-per-weekend venue and exclusive use if this concept doesn’t float your boat. Image sourced here.
From converted barns, historic castles and even underground caverns, through to country houses, hotels and golf clubs, there are so many venues for you to choose from.
And each one will have its own logistics to consider. Think about your wedding theme. It makes sense to hire a rustic barn if you’re planning a vintage bash than a slick modern venue that will need a lot more dressing to suit your requirements. Image sourced here.
The nature of the venue will impact the staffing that will be available for your wedding. If you opt for a DIY wedding, and decide to bring your food and drink, who will be there to serve it? Sometimes, doing it yourself can be more costly than first anticipated. Castles and caverns are less likely to have a pool of staff available than the busy city centre hotel, so think about this when you first book.
Does the venue have a dedicated wedding co-ordinator at your disposal? Also, how difficult will it be to access your venue to double check a little detail? If the venue is only open for functions, or is run by volunteers, you might find it quite awkward. Image sourced here.
You’ll need to think about your venue’s capacity. It can often be difficult to find somewhere that can seat enough guests for your ceremony and having to start making cuts from your guest list is never fun. For the reception itself, round tables are always a popular option, but if you want something a little bit different, how will this impact the stated capacities?
Consider your guests as well. If you have relatives/friends who require wheelchair access, will your marquee in the middle of a field be a practical option? Can they park at the venue for free or are they likely to spend a small fortune? Is there anywhere on site for them to stay, or will they have to travel after the reception finishes? Are there plenty of toilets and baby-changing facilities available? Image sourced here.
It’s also worth considering entertainment for your wedding. Depending on the venue location, live music might not be permitted, or there might be time restrictions in place. Double check what time the alcohol license runs too as well, so you’re not disappointed when your event finishes earlier than anticipated. Image sourced here.
Catering is also extremely important to consider when booking the venue. Can you pick your own catering company? Or do you have to use the venue’s preference? And think about the layout of the venue – if there are 4 flights of stairs between the kitchen and the function room, maybe a three course hot meal isn’t the best option?
Basic venue hire is one thing, but you also need to consider all the extras you’ll need to bring the day together.
If you opt for a traditional, sit down meal reception at a popular wedding venue, then the chances are, they’ll have an all-singing, all-dancing wedding package for you. This will include everything you’ll need and should be relatively straightforward to understand. However, it is likely that there will be a large amount of restrictions in place, such as corkage charges on external alcohol brought in, and a selection of suppliers that you have to use. Image soured here.
If you decide on a more DIY venue, it will probably be a blank canvas for you to mould into your dream do. BUT, you will then need to consider the hiring of equipment, glassware, furniture and all the little touches. It’s worth checking on whether or not you’re allowed to have confetti thrown on arrival, open flames (tea light candles) and helium balloons. You don’t want to purchase anything and then find out you can’t use it. Image sourced here.
Be very careful before signing on the dotted line and paying your deposit. Make sure you know exactly what’s included in your hire price before committing. Find out about payment plans and when the instalments are due in the lead up to your wedding date. It’s also worth finding out if there are any penalty charges if you had to move your date, or in worse case scenario, what happens if you had to cancel? Image soured here.
And most importantly, does the quoted price include VAT? Your budget could fall to pieces if you suddenly have to pay out an additional 20% on top of what you originally expected.
There’s a lot to consider! If you’d like a downloadable Venue Check List sent to you (in PDF Format), please email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a comment below.