What to consider when choosing a wedding venue
There’s plenty to consider when choosing a venue. To help with this process, we’ve narrowed how to choose a wedding venue down into six simple sections below.
The best way to start is by visiting a couple of venues in your chosen area and then begin narrowing down the options from there. Soon-to-weds quickly gain an idea as to their wedding vision – as well as what they’re definitely not looking for – once they’ve seen a few potential venues.
Whatever your preferences as a couple, establishing a theme and then choosing a venue that fits in with (and enhances) this enables you to feel more connected to the space and your wedding day. If planning a modern wedding, you could look at art galleries, restaurant spaces, or even warehouses. Weddings incorporating more natural elements work well with outdoor venues such as parks, gardens, nature reserves, vineyards and converted barns. These sorts of venues complement barn or rustic themed weddings.
Do you have a theme in mind or hobbies and passions you share with your fiance? The choice of venue might even boil down to culture and heritage.
- Vision and theme
- Personal preferences and personalities of couple
- Family traditions
The venue is one of the first aspects of a wedding that couples book. And rightly so because great venues can get booked up 24 months in advance! The up-side to the forward-planning that this forces, is that it allows plenty of time to plan for the ideal wedding. What’s more, once the venue is booked, all of the other decisions become easier, as they can be guided by the venue characteristics.
- Dates and availability
- Location – proximity of ceremony, reception and accommodation venues
- Time of year – indoor versus outdoor facilities
- Facilities – wining, dining, parking and sleeping
Wedding day schedule
Some venues cater for both ceremony and reception. Whether you decide to hold both at the same location, or not usually depends on the type of ceremony you require (if you require one) and the size of your reception guest list.
Where the wedding venue and the reception venue are separate locations, timings and travel between venues are key considerations. Does the reception time need to be pushed back a little to allow time for guests to arrive? Can guests walk between venues, or is there parking available at both?
- Time taken to travel between locations (ceremony and reception)
- What’s happening when (ceremony, toasts, speeches, meal, party)
Wining and dining
Different people have different priorities when it comes to their ideal wedding and for some, top-notch cuisine might be one of these. If hiring caterers from off-site, you’ll want to make sure your caterers have access to an area where they can prep and store any equipment they need.
- Wining – open bar versus cash bar
- Dining – seated or unseated
- Allergies and food preferences
- Alcohol free guests
- Staff – onsite or external hire
The main considerations here are space, number of guests and type of entertainment. If a live band – or even a DJ – are playing, check there are sufficient power points as well as space for their equipment. Another question to ask is whether or not the dining area doubles up as the dancefloor. If the answer is yes, the timings of the meal, speeches and toasts need to be planned to allow sufficient time for the dining area to be cleared and the dance floor set up.
It’s also good to have an area where guests can relax between dances. If a venue has a place to sit once the tables are cleared and catch up with other guests away from the music, this is a bonus. This might be particularly relevant for couples whose guests range from younger years and infants to the elderly.
- Number of guests
- Space required by entertainers or musicians
- Curfew – is there a cut off time for music
If guests are travelling from afar, they may need a place to stay. If this isn’t possible at the venue itself, it’s wise to check the surrounding area for suitable hotels and B and Bs. Some wedding parties arrange group transport such as mini buses or coaches from the reception to the accommodation. This is a nice option if a large enough group of guests are staying in the same area. It’s also great if the venue has a music curfew because in addition to removing the need for guests to drive themselves home, it helps to ensure that the wedding party doesn’t outstay their welcome!
- Availability – send guests details so they have the option to book if they wish
- Transport from reception to accommodation
Looking for a wedding venue in London? Why not shop for your dress here too?
Andrea Hawkes is a British bridal designer based in Islington, creating beautiful, contemporary wedding dresses – perfect for the modern or traditional bride. We will work with you to select the perfect dress from our collection, work together on a design and create the perfect fit that compliments you and your wedding theme.