You’ve heard us say it before, those early stages of wedding planning can be so overwhelming! All the questions, all the inspiration online and in magazines, there’s so much out there intended to help that can actually just cause a planning panic! So, where do you actually start? Well, after setting a realistic budget, then comes your venue search! We’re breaking it down for you below…
Setting your budget
You may have some money put aside for your special day, now is the time to think about how much you feel is reasonable to spend on all the elements of your wedding, and ensure you have at least 5% put aside as a contingency. It may also be worth setting up a dedicated wedding bank account to start saving. If you have set your budget right from the start, it will be much easier to stick to it. Also, don’t forget to ask family members if they would be willing to contribute to the budget.
You can expect to spend around 40% of your budget on your reception so finding the right venue is an important choice – here are a few things to consider:
How many guests?
It will be difficult to book a venue (and ultimately set a date) if you don't know how many people will be attending. Some venues will only be licensed up to a certain number and you don't want to cram all of your guests in. Likewise, you wouldn't want your 60 guests to be lost in a room big enough for 300. Some venues are more suitable for spending lots of time outside, likewise there are venues that have a beautiful interior that you will want to enjoy. When looking around venues, be sure to ask what the alternatives are to outside spaces if the weather is bad.
Do you want the ceremony and reception to be in the same location?
A lot of venues have a civil ceremony licence so the choice for your ceremony location is very wide. If you wish to marry in a church then it’s unlikely that you will have a reception venue within walking distance. However, there are some venues that have a church within their grounds.
Where are guests coming from?
Locations that are closer to home are much easier to liaise with. If your venue is an hour's drive from home, you will need to factor that in to your 'getting ready' time on the day. If a lot of your guests are based far away from the venue it may be prudent to provide some transport.
Is accommodation available?
You may want to stay at the venue on the wedding night or even get ready there on the day, ask to see the honeymoon suite so you know what to expect. If accommodation is available for guests, find out if you can hold a number of rooms to ensure your guests get the accommodation they need.
What style is the venue?
Is it a country house, converted barn, stately home, or a modern hotel? The style of the venue needs to complement the overall style of the wedding. A vintage style wedding would be much better suited to a country house or marquee venue than a modern hotel.
Are there in-house caterers?
Venues often have in-house caterers that you will have to use. However some venues allow you to bring in your own caterer. Bear in mind that this means you will need to choose yet another supplier!
Can they recommend suppliers?
Most venues will regularly work with some fabulous suppliers and may event have a recommended suppliers list. We've been working in the wedding industry for over 10 years and have built up lots of local contacts so we can happily recommend suppliers that meet your needs and most importantly your budget.
Bear in mind that popular venues and popular dates (i.e. Saturdays in the Summer) can get booked well in advance so the sooner you start looking the better.