Setting The Scene
Your wedding venue is the backdrop for your whole day. Everything from the decorations to the photographs will be influenced by your choice, which is why it’s always at the top of any priority list
ONE VENUE OR TWO?
There are a few key questions you will need to consider before you start looking for your venue. Think about the number of guests you’ll be inviting, whether you want to hold the ceremony and reception in the same location, how much influence you want over the décor and, of course, how much you have available to spend.
For a long time the only options for the wedding ceremony were in a religious building or a register office. However, more and more venues are now licensed to conduct marriages, so you can hold the whole event in one location if you wish. Reception venues typically get booked up quicker than places of worship and register offices, but it’s a good idea to visit the venue for your ceremony first to get a selection of dates before confirming one with your reception venue.
Hotels, golf clubs, stately homes, castles and restaurants all offer wedding packages. The great thing about established venues is that they’ve got all the bases covered. From ordering the teaspoons, to printing the seating plan and booking evening entertainment, everything can be taken care of – with your direction of course.
DOING IT YOURSELF
A cheaper alternative to a hotel or special wedding venue is to hire a village hall. With a little bit of creativity, you can turn the space into something that truly reflects your personalities. Of course, this will take extra time and planning, but if you are artistically inclined, this could be a great way of making a memorable day.
If you do plan on organising everything yourself, it might be worth visiting an experienced wedding venue just to get an idea of the sorts of things that you will need to consider.
With this sort of venue you’ll have to source your own caterer, waiting staff, entertainment and you may well be responsible for clearing everything away too. There’s certainly lots to think about, but if you are a good project manager and have an army of creative friends and family, there can be a great sense of satisfaction in putting everything together yourself. Just remember to keep a close tab on costs. You’ll have to hire everything from teaspoons to tablecloths, and the little things can soon mount up.
Marquees have come a long way and are today a truly glamorous option. With more and more companies offering hard flooring, you don’t have to worry about your heels sinking into the mud either! You can style them any way you like and have the added flexibility of choosing the exact location of your reception. Some more unusual venues, such as vineyards and stately homes, now host marquee receptions in their grounds, giving you the option of truly beautiful surroundings for photographs. Many marquee companies also have good links to caterers and wedding decorators, so they can help advise you and support the project management of the event. Remember that your guests will need to get to the venue too, so be sure there is ample parking nearby or transport laid on. You don’t want guests having to abandon their cars miles up a country lane!
MORE UNUSUAL OPTIONS
Museums, boats and disused warehouses are all spaces that have been transformed into stunning wedding venues. If you have the imagination, almost anywhere can be the canvas for your special day. Just remember that the British sunshine is about the only thing you can’t book in advance so, if you have an outside venue, be sure to have a contingency plan should the rain set in.
As with anything, take your time to visit a number of venues and get a feel for what your reception would be like there. Remember that the summer months are still the most popular to get married in, so you’ll need to be flexible with your dates. Some venues may be booked up two years in advance, but you’ll have more choice if you opt for a Friday or Sunday wedding. Remember that the venue will form the setting for the most memorable day of your life, so really enjoy time as a couple exploring some options.