One of the first, largest and probably most expensive decisions you will make is choosing your wedding venue and the location that your wedding will take place. You might want to choose local to you so you can attend appointments easily, marry somewhere special that means something to you both or you may even wish to elope! There are so many factors to consider when choosing your wedding venue and it can turn into such an overwhelming experience for you – but we’re here to help!
Keri spent many years working in a venue and has shown thousands of couples around to see if it was the right venue for them. At the end of the day, whoever is showing you around the venue, it is their job to sell the venue and their wedding experience to you! They’ll of course love it if you book with them and hold your wedding there but if not, and this may sound harsh, they won’t lose sleep over it…they’re used to it! Not every couple they show around book their wedding there – and that is fine.
We want to make sure your wedding venue viewings are as enjoyable as possible for you and that you are completely happy and comfortable with your choice of venue. Here are just some things to consider when you’re starting to shortlist and view wedding venues;
You’ll just know!
There’s a common misconception that you’ll walk into a venue, instantly fall in love with it and just know it’s the right venue for you. Yes, this might happen, but it also might not (we don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble….but it doesn’t happen often!) – that doesn’t mean it’s not the right venue for you! As long as you are happy with the venue, the staff, the location and your decision, that’s all that matters.
How is their communication with you? Ask yourself right from your first point of contact with any suppliers, not just a venue but often, they’re one of the first suppliers you’ll start to have conversations with. It’s very common that if they’ve been hard to get hold of, not answering emails or seem unprofessional, this level of communication is likely to continue throughout planning your wedding with them.
You want to be creating your wedding with people who WANT to create the perfect wedding for you and therefore make the effort to work with you to create YOUR perfect day.
Much like with communications, first impressions are key. You want to make sure the venue is welcoming and friendly from the outset, or imagine how they could be on your wedding day. First impressions aren’t just relevant to staff or suppliers, but how the venue is presented, is the venue clean & tidy for your viewing? Remember that essentially they are trying to ‘sell’ the venue to you, so they should be pulling out all the stops to make sure it’s looking at its best every time you view.
Trust other couples! They have been through exactly the same experience with the venue and have likely held their wedding there, so trust them and their reviews and if a venue is getting consistently good reviews, it’s probably worth checking out!
Take notes & pictures
Once you start viewing more than a couple of venues, all the venues and their wedding spaces will start to blur together in your head and you’ll forget which one offered which or looked a certain way. Our best advice is to take pictures of each of the spaces at each venue, as well as jotting down any important notes from the viewings – they can even be in shorthand or a drawing, anything that will help you remember what the venue offers. This can really help you once you start creating your shortlist or even choosing the one.
This is a great way to use your wedding planner or journal too.
If you need to go back to view a venue again to refresh your memory, do it! Don’t rush this big decision and if you’d like to go and view it several times, or take parents/friends to check it over there’s no problem or shame in doing that.
Is the venue in a good location for you and your guests?
Can your guests get to the venue easily? Is there ample parking?
Is there accommodation at the venue or close by?
Are there plenty of good photography opportunities? Your photographer will want to make sure they get some good shots.
If you’re having your ceremony elsewhere, how will your guests get to the venue?
Will your wedding actually fit?
Or are you trying to make it fit? We’ve seen it so many times where a venue is too small or too large for the guest numbers – it’s not a great look and no one is comfortable!
You want to make sure the venue suits your guest numbers. There’s no point having a small venue if you have 150 guests as everyone will be uncomfortable and on the other hand, you wouldn’t want to book a huge venue if you’re having a small, intimate gathering otherwise you could feel like you’re rattling around an empty venue
These are all questions you want to be asking yourself and things you need to think about before committing to your venue.
Think of choosing your wedding venue like buying a house. This is a big investment after all. You’ll see loads of homes online, view several in-person that you’re interested in, some will have bits you love, some will have bits you hate, some will be over-budget, some bang on budget and some under budget leaving you pennies to spare. You’d choose the one which ticked most of your wish list but it may not be perfect. You may have to make some compromises for it to work for you, as you might never find something that ticks all your boxes and as long as you are both happy, that’s all that matters.
This is exactly the same as booking your wedding venue, so take your time and make sure you are both truly happy.
Also be open to the idea that the venue you settle on may not be what you originally dreamt of. This is absolutely OK. We are constantly evolving.
Tabby & Keri
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