We have been unbelievably fortunate with our choice of venue, and we wouldn’t be able to get married there if it wasn’t for the help of family and very close friends, for which we will be forever grateful for. For us, choosing a venue was really easy, as Sam has always said from the get-go that this place was definitely the place that he wanted as our wedding venue, for sentimental reasons as well as that it’s a beautiful venue. But, we know that most couples aren’t as lucky as us, and that normally, choosing a venue isn’t the easiest of tasks. It’s one of the first big decisions you’ll make during the first stages of wedding planning, so it’s always best to be prepared, do lots of research and consider your options, working out what will work best for you and your wedding.
Ask yourself questions like – Do you wanna get married locally, or travel further afield? Would this be convenient for your guests, or will you lay on transport for everyone?
When you have the decision of the destination, research wedding venues within that area, then ask yourself whether you’d prefer to use a legal venue, or if you’d need to have a ceremony in a legal venue first, or whether you want your ceremony and reception in the same place, or separate places, and on the same day, or different days.
Once you have an idea of where and when you want your day to be, I’d suggest doing further research into the shortlist of chosen venues, and making sure they are all free on your date, and all meet your requirements before you go ahead and pick one from the list.
Once you’ve gathered all the information, pick your venue from your shortlist and call them to go for a viewing as soon as you can. We were really surprised to find out that other dates around our date had already been booked, as we thought we were getting everything locked in really fast, considering it’s almost two years away from the date.. but, we know everything gets booked up so quickly, so you have to act fast if you want your choice of venues, and it’s very lucky that we did, otherwise we’d probably have to choose a different date.
So, once you’ve picked your venue and have secured your date, you’ll probably be asked if you’d like to visit the venue to have another look around and have a meeting with the wedding / event co-ordinator, to discuss your day and work out a package that suits you and your wedding best.
…If you’re anything like me, you’ll go to this thing with all these wonderful ideas that you’ve already planned in your head in full detail, and you’ll just tell them what you want, and you think they’ll be able to wave a magic wand and make all your dreams come true… right? WRONG! Sadly, it doesn’t work quite like that. I’d say that before you get any ideas in your head of what you want, where you want things to go, etc.. go and scout the venue first. Make yourself a pain in the arse and ask all the questions under the sun. You wanna leave there that day with all the information you’ll need to be able to make all your plans in your head without being shot down and told that you can’t do this, that and the other for whatever reason, so it would be good to have a list of all of the things you’re considering for your day, so that you can get a “yes” or “no” there and then.
Again, luckily for us, because of our situation, we can ask any questions about our venue at any time, pop down there and have a look at what’s going on, where things can go, etc… so it’s not really a problem for us personally, but almost every other couple we know that’s got married hasn’t had that advantage, so it’s always best to ask loads of questions, take loads of photos and know exactly where you’re at with the venue. I’d suggest visiting at least twice before making a final decision.
I’d say the most important stuff to find out, is all the health and safety stuff. Make sure you find out about the venue capacity, fire procedures, risk assessments, insurance and whether there will be any safety restrictions on any of the entertainment or equipment that you plan to use at your venue.
Also, it’s handy to ask about more practical things, for example, finding out where all the power sockets are, so you’re aware of which spaces are available to use electronic equipment, etc. Also available lighting for outdoor spaces, ways to cover outdoor areas from rain, parking, etc.
Once all that stuff is out of the way, you can guide your questions a little bit more directed towards your day and your specific plans. I could write out an entire list of questions to ask, but there’s already a wonderful list over on Hitched that I’ll link here so you can go through them and ask all the questions that apply to you and your day.
Although it is a serious decision to make, it should also be a fun one, so don’t forget to enjoy the experience. Take a step back and fast-forward to your wedding day.. and you’ll see a certain staircase you’ll be walking down, or tables outside where you’ll imagine your guests just chatting and laughing.. you just get this feeling, y’know? And that’s when you know it’s the perfect venue for your wedding. Visiting the venue is where you’ll really start seeing your day piece together, so try not to get wrapped up in the stress, as it can be overwhelming to make all of these big decisions in such a short space of time. Just relax and try to enjoy the experience. Your venue will be the place in which you’ll be spending one of the best days of your life, so it needs to tick all the boxes, meet all of your requirements and be perfect for your special day.