will spend the vast majority of your wedding
day there. It is the place where your wedding
breakfast, evening reception, and maybe
even the wedding ceremony itself will be
held, so it is absolutely vital that you
make the right decision 'for you'.
to visiting any venues at all, sit down with your fiance and have
a serious discussion about it all. Find out exactly how both of
you envisage your wedding reception, and then decide just how much
you can realistically afford to spend on it. Next, you need to decide
exactly what type of ceremony you want. Many couples these days
opt for a civil ceremony at a licensed venue, and the vast majority
of these now also offer wedding receptions as part of the package.
your local council for a list of licensed premises or log on to
where you can purchase a list of more than 3000 licensed premises
in England and Wales for just five pounds.
you are planning a religious ceremony, a good rule of thumb is that
your venue shouldn't be any more than 20 minutes drive from the
place of worship, so that your guests don't have too far to travel.
The same rule applies if you are having a civil ceremony at a register
office. Check the RedHot Business Directory for Hindu Temples, Mosques
and Gurdwaras near you - click
EXACTLY WHERE DO YOU BEGIN YOUR SEARCH?
the perfect wedding venue for you takes a great deal of legwork,
a great deal of research, and a lot of patience. Personal recommendation
is always a valuable starting point, as is considering places you
have been to as a wedding guest yourself.
arranging any formal visits to any of the venues you are considering,
either drop in and pick up a copy of their wedding brochure, or
phone and ask them to post you one out. If they are really well
organised you may even be able to download one from their website
via the internet.
wedding brochures usually consist of details of what rooms are available,
as well as sample menus and accommodation packages. At the same
time just check whether your intended date is free, and if not,
then what dates are available. This will probably rule out some
venues immediately. Now you will be able to arrange appointments
to visit the venues left on your list.
A FORMAL RECEPTION?
you are looking to hold a traditional sit-down wedding breakfast,
you will need to find a venue with a function room that is large
enough to accommodate all of your guests. Bear in mind the fact
that you will also need a room for a drinks reception for when your
guests arrive. During summer, if the weather is warm enough, a venue
with a terrace is just ideal for this.
night a buffet-style reception can be held in a smaller room off
your main function room, or you could even hold your evening reception
in a series of linked rooms and bars, depending on the size of the
venue. If you are planning quite a large, extravagant wedding, you
could create additional space with a marquee outside, if the venue's
grounds are suitable, of course.
KIND OF ATMOSPHERE DO YOU WANT TO CREATE?
style of the venue you choose will speak volumes about the type
of celebration your guests can expect. Stately home grandeur suits
an extremely formal event, but is this really the type of atmosphere
you want to create? Although sumptuous, this can often leave people
feeling on edge and uncomfortable. If
you prefer a far more laid back approach, consider alternative venues
like a converted barn for instance.
dance style reception is great for breaking the ice and getting
everyone talking and laughing. By the time you have finished everyone
will know everyone, and everybody will be having a ball. Alternatively,
book that local pub with that beautiful beer garden you know and
you visit each of the venues you are considering, think about the
number of guests you will be inviting. If you are hosting a small
reception, you will need a room that will create an intimate atmosphere.
An overly large room, however grandiose, will feel embarrassingly
empty with only a tiny wedding party in it, or if half your guests
suddenly decide not to show up.
MUCH CAN YOU PERSONALISE YOUR VENUE?
to visiting most venues, the vast majority of couples have usually
already formed a very fixed idea about what their 'ideal' wedding
reception ought to be like, so you need to make sure that your venue
- and it's staff - are professional enough, and flexible enough,
to help you to create your 'dream'.
is no use booking a wedding venue that wants to do everything in
pink when you want everything to match the yellow flowers in your
bouquet. If this appears to be the case, then cross them off your
venue list straight away and move swiftly on to the next one. Arguing
with venue staff over menus, seating plans and colour co-ordination
will only ruin the run up to your special day which will be stressful
enough, without added hassle.
you view each of the venues that you have short listed, try to imagine
what your own colour scheme will be like. A room with little or
no decoration will provide an exciting challenge for imaginative
but often expensive decoration, whereas a beautifully decorated
venue may well stretch your budget but will need little extra adornment.
carefully the way any potential venue is decorated. Obviously, there
is absolutely nothing you can do about existing decor, apart from
ensuring that it does not clash with the colour scheme you have
in mind. If it does, move swiftly on to the next venue.
there are items of furniture or ornaments in the room which you
don't particularly like the look of, ask if they can be removed
for the big day.
you are planning a summer wedding, examine patio areas and gardens.
Are they clean, neat and tidy, and in a good state of repair? Is
there any outside seating available, perhaps with parasols to provide
people with shade, or will you need to hire these? If you are expecting
a lot of young children at your wedding you will also need to make
sure that the grounds are safe and secure.
you have very strong views about the meal reception but are unable
to find the ideal venue, hiring a hall is always a good alternative
option. These usually have plain white washed walls, so you can
really go to town with your own decorations. White muslin across
the windows is relatively inexpensive to arrange as is hiring white
furniture. You can then add splashes of colour yourself with flowers,
and atmosphere with lots and lots of scented candles.
DOES THE VENUE OPERATE?
vast majority of wedding venues offer a wide variety of packages
from a full formal sit-down meal to a buffet with a specified number
of drinks (wine and champagne) thrown in. The price quoted per head
should also include the cost of tables, chairs, linen and staffing
on the day. Alternatively, you could hire a venue like a stately
home and then just bring in your own caterers.
venues prefer it if you use their recommended suppliers - if often
forms part of the 'package deal' - and they will charge you if you
insist on bringing in your own people. You will also be charged
a corkage fee if you want to buy and supply your own wine and champagne,
instead of using the venue's preferred list.
THERE A WEDDING CO-ORDINATOR ON SITE?
venues usually have a designated 'wedding co-ordinator' whose job
it is to work with you on all your reception preparations. And it
is important that you get on well with them, since you will be having
several meetings with them and will want them to share your 'vision.'
wedding co-ordinator is also invaluable for having knowledge of,
and recommending, suppliers that they have worked with in the past.
Most smaller venues won't be able to offer you this service, so
if you work full time it may be worth booking an organiser to ensure
everything runs smoothly for you on the day.
IF I WANT TO MARRY AT HOME?
ceremonies are not allowed at private premises by law in England
and Wales, but there is nothing to stop you from holding your reception
there, as long as it's large enough, of course.
your home happens to be extremely spacious or you are thinking of
inviting less than 50 guests, there will probably only be enough
room for a very simple party. The obvious answer to space problems
at home, however, is a marquee. Most modern marquees come complete
with hardwood floors and in a bewildering variety of shape and sizes
to suit just about everybody. The marquee will also act as a focal
point for your celebrations, keeping guests together, instead of
having them wander all over your home.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
you've made your final choice concerning your venue, always ask
for written confirmation of everything you've discussed with them,
and then go through the small print with a really fine toothcomb
before you sign anything. You will be expected to pay a deposit
at the time of booking, with the balance due a few weeks prior to
your wedding day - although some venues will allow you to settle
the bill after you've got married.
QUESTIONS TO ASK AT ANY VENUE:
Is there on-site catering, or can we bring our own caterers in?
Are there tables, chairs, and a choice of linens and tableware?
If not, do we need to hire these?
What is the basic cost of hiring the venue? What are the extras?
How much time is included in the rental period?
Is everything fully insured?
Will there be other functions on the same day as ours?
Can we use the gardens? Is there room for a marquee?
Is there scope to decorate the reception rooms?
Is there a bridal suite?
Are there restrictions on using candles, smoking and so on?
all you have to do is sit back, relax, and start thinking about
the menu and your seating plan.