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10 things to ask your venue

Cowley Manor Wedding Venue

10 step checks to finding your perfect wedding venue

I have been visiting a lot of venues lately and it prompted me to write this piece on questions you need to ask/things to check when searching for your dream wedding venue – failure to do so could result in utter disappointment!

1. Capacity

This is top of the list. You would be surprised at how many brides fall in love with their venue only to find out that they can’t accommodate their ideal guest numbers. All venues will have a maximum and it is important to check. Most will provide a “seated” and “standing” maximum. The seated maximum is normally your daytime guest limit.

2. ‘ Preferred’ or ‘specified’ suppliers

A fair few venues have a list of suppliers they either prefer you to work with or insist that you have to have (typically caterers). Whilst this can seem restrictive, it isn’t always a bad thing assuming the suppliers the venue has chosen have been picked for their expertise. However, if you have your heart set on a particular supplier, or you want the flexibility to choose you will want to check that your venue will allow this.

Somerley Estate

3. Last orders

Most venues have a limit in terms of time they would like your guests to finish their evening. If your idea of a perfect day is partying until the small hours, check that this is an option.

4. The décor, rules & regs

If you haven’t already, you will soon be developing an idea of your ideal day; how you want it to look and feel, everything from colour scheme through to the little details and you will want to ensure that your venue will compliment and allow these. Some venues are a blank canvas (a marquee or dry hire warehouse space) but others aren’t. Stately homes will have existing décor and if, for example, this is red and gold you wouldn’t want to team it with fuchsia pink bridesmaids dresses! Also check policy on things such as naked flames/candles, confetti, lanterns and fireworks. Don’t assume they will be permitted!

5. Corkage

check out what the venue policy is on bringing your own beverages. A few allow it with no corkage, others will apply a corkage rate per bottle and this can be different for wine versus, for example, champagne.

Cowley Manor Wedding Venue

6. Who will be there on the day

check who, from the venue, will be there on the day for you and what they will do for you in terms of set up, during the wedding and take down after. Different venues will offer different levels of support. If you need extra help or peace of mind, it is better to know and plan for this in advance than find out on your wedding day!

7. Sound limiters

A lot of venues, especially hotels where they may have other guests, have sound limiters in place. In simple terms this means that should your band/entertainment exceed a certain noise level, the power will cut them out. Check if this is the case at your venue and ensure you advise the band!

Cowley Manor Wedding Venue

8. The changeover plan

If you are holding your wedding ceremony and reception in the same venue and the ceremony area is required to be redressed to host the reception following the service, you will want to ask the venue what the changeover plan is – where will guests be during the changeover (if the answer her is on a terrace outside, ask what the plan is for wet weather) and also that the venue will take care of the changeover for you.

Cowley Manor

9. Where is the bar in location to the dance floor?

I couldn’t write this list without putting this on it. I personally find bars situated away from or (worse) in a separate room from the dance floor can quash any form of party atmosphere. If low key and intimate is what you want (perhaps yours is a second marriage and your idea of perfect is a beautiful meal with close friends and family) then this may not be an issue. However if dancing the night away is what you envision, make sure the bar is easily accessible and in a prominent place!

Cowley Manor

10. Do you have exclusive use?

If you have chosen a venue that is normally open to the public, what are the terms of use on your wedding day? Some venues (in particular council or national trust owned) will not close the entire venue to the public. If exclusive use is important to you, you will want to check this.

Happy venue hunting!

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