How to choose your wedding venue
Today I’m sharing with you my expert top tips for how to choose your dream wedding venue in the UK. As a leading UK Wedding Planner based in Oxfordshire, I’ve spent the last decade searching the UK to help my clients choose their dream wedding venues. If you’re just starting out your wedding planning journey, you may have already started researching venues. It’s arguably the most exciting step, as it sparks the real start of your wedding plans. Once you’ve found the perfect venue for you, you’ll be able to start visualising how your celebrations will look and feel. And that is truly amazing.
Have you made a decision on an ideal location for your wedding; based on where you live, where your guests will be travelling from, and where you love? Then you’re ready to embark on your wedding venue search!
I know it’s tempting to jump straight in and start visiting venues right away, but it’s so important to create a criteria checklist before spending time driving to various venues.
Put together a checklist of all the key points that you need from a venue. This is entirely personal to your requirements, but a few examples are:
Ability to accommodate 120 guests for a Ceremony and seated dinner
Possibility for an outdoor legal Ceremony
Overnight accommodation for a minimum of 14 guests
Maximum of 2 hours drive from London
Ability to use a range of Caterers – not just in-house catering
Having this list of requirements will allow you to plan your search more effectively, as you’ll have a plan. A strategy. There are literally hundreds of venues out there, and searching for the right one might take some time. However I promise it’ll be worth the effort when you do come across that dream venue that ticks all the boxes!
Start from home, and begin searching online for venues in the locality you’d love to get married in. There are several venue directories available, but not all of the venues are listed with them, as some websites won’t market anywhere else except for their own website. The directories are a great place to start though, to get a feel for the styles you are drawn to. I have a huge directory of venues which I refer to for my Full Planning clients. This includes many venues which aren’t easily found with a simple google search, and they’re beautiful venues I keep up my sleeve for when they’re a perfect fit for a client!
Create a shortlist of venues which you love, and fit your requirements from the checklist. Then give them a call or send an email enquiry to ask more about their wedding offering. Do they have availability around your ideal wedding dates would be your first question. If they do, great! Now you can ask a few more specific questions about the venue before scheduling a visit to view it.
What to ask?
Do they offer the venue for exclusive hire, and is this just for a day or would it include overnight too?
Do they have a Venue Hire Fee or a Wedding Package?
Are they licensed for Civil Ceremonies / Are they able to have outdoor ceremonies?
They should have a brochure they’re able to send you containing more information and a guide to their pricing. Once you’ve received all of these from the venues on your shortlist, spend some time together looking through them. Can you visualise yourselves celebrating your wedding there? What do you love about each venue? Is there anything you’re unsure about?
Once you’ve spent some time looking through the brochures, there are now probably a couple which really stand out to you. Make appointments to visit them. If you have around 12 months until your wedding date, this would be a great time to arrange a visit. It will give you the best idea of what the venue and grounds will look like around the time of your wedding, and will help you visualise your day.
When you come to visit the venues, it’s a good idea to arrive for your viewing armed with a checklist of questions you’d love to know about the venue. You’ll already know a fair amount about the venue and the facilities they have from your initial enquiry and their brochure. However, there are many more questions you may have. I’ve created a handy PDF checklist for members of my FREE Facebook Group for couples to use when they’re visiting venues. I also use it as a base for my own clients when viewing venues together to make sure we’ve asked everything we need to know, to allow them to make an informed decision.
I hope you’ve found this advice helpful for starting out on your wedding planning journey, and you now feel confident with how to choose your dream wedding venue. It’s such an exciting part of planning your celebration – enjoy the process!
My Facebook Group; Plan Your Wedding Like a Pro, is a safe sanctuary for couples dreaming of creating a heartfelt and refined wedding celebration of everything they are together – without the stress. This is a group you can retreat to from the busy-ness of work and life. Where you learn how to cut through the noise and tune into what really matters to you. Where over a decade of luxury wedding and event expertise is at your fingertips. And where it’s about less overwhelm, and more joy.