Choosing the right venue is a very important part of wedding planning.
Similar to photos, the location and your venue is something that stays in your mind for a long time.
Additionally, the venue sets the backdrop of your wedding, it's one of your major costs for your wedding, its one of the important vendors for your big day!
Let's get wedding planning!
Who am I?
I'm Nehar Ullah-D'onofrio, a Luxury Wedding Planner and Enthusiast.
I love wedding planning, and have been planning wedding for over 15 years, including my own last minute home wedding in 2020.
My top tips for venue selection are:
1. The obvious but ensure the venue can hold your potential guest list and have your preferred date available.
It sounds obvious, but there are times when we get very excited with the venue viewing that we forget to ask, often leading to heart break when the answer is no.
A lot of this information you should be able to find on the website.
2. If you need to have a civil ceremony, it is key to ask if the venue is licensed for ceremonies and what the process is.
Some venues will as you to arrange your own officiant while others will have one that works with them and you will only be required to arrange the licence for marriage.
Many venues that do not have the license to host the ceremony still allow you to have a symbolic ceremony, but this means you will need to either earlier or at a later day get registered.
3. Where will the different "events" happen?
It is vital to understand where your ceremony will take place, where the drinks reception will be and where the wedding breakfast and/or reception will take place.
This is important to help you plan your wedding timetable. Often is the ceremony and reception is taking place in the same room you will need to give the venue time to change this over, but you will need to understand what you can do in the 60 or 90 mins that it will take to change over.
Find out if there are other rooms or outdoor gardens you can go to with your guests.
4. What menus are includes, are they flexible? How many people can attend the food tasting? What drinks are includes and what is the corkage fee?
This may sound like a lot to ask but its key. You and your partner maybe easy going eaters and wish to take someone more distinctive with you. Or you may have guests with certain eating requirements, vegan, halal, kosher etc.
Additionally, not everyone wants white wine or beer. You might have larger drinkers, or spirit guests. Most venues have flexibility, but you need to ask this beforehand. Many venues allow you to bring your own drinks with a corkage charge, but the charge varies. All of this needs to work for your budget.
5. Does the venue work for your theme?
As a planner I will always say, I can make the venue work for you, but there will be a cost. To create a fairy-tale or elegant wedding in a rustic environment can take a lot of work and a lot of dressing up. If its in your budget great, it not considering finding a venue that works as the backdrop for your theme. (If you aren't sure what theme you want, wait for my next email on themes).
6. What is actually included in the package?
Is the venue giving you a dry hire or is it a package hire?
Does the package include crockery, linen, cutlery and table sizes and shapes that you want? If not are they flexible in sourcing it for you?
Is decoration included? what about stationary (menus, place cards?
Again, all these things need to be discussed early as you may have to budget to bring in a decorating team or a florist to provide you with decorations.
Additionally, they need to suit you and your needs.
How will your guests get to your venue and how will they get home?
What if it rains or is too hot? Is there smoking areas near by or wheelchair access?
Are the toilets accessible for you to use in an emergency?
These logistics will make a difference to your wedding timetable and even the enjoyability of the day. If there is a 2 hour drive from the ceremony venue to the reception venue your guests may need snacks beforehand. If the venue is in the middle of nowhere your guests will need taxis access at the end of the night.
8. What support do you have, and what will that support do?
Most wedding venues provide you with wedding coordinator, but double check what they will do and if they will be there on the day from start to finish.
The major difference between a venue coordinator and a wedding planner is that the planner will look after everything from your dress creases to the taxis to get home, a venue coordinator will only look after venue related queries.
If you would like some more advice on selecting your venue, feel free to book one of my free consultations here.