If you are recently engaged, one of the first things you’ll start with is finding your venue. Finding the right venue for you can be a little trickier than it first appears so I’ve put together some advice.
My first tip would be to try not to have the word “perfect” in your mind. It is really very difficult to find a venue that will be perfect in every single sense and you could end up frustrated before you’ve even begun. It sounds obvious but list out the things most important to you and start your search here. I would also have a discussion around what you are willing to be flexible on. I would think about things like: last order times; whether or not you are willing to pay corkage; do you require accommodation on site; is an outdoor space important; how do you feel about only using preferred suppliers?
THE BIG THREE
In my experience, the 3 big things to have clear in your mind at the start of your wedding venue search: location, numbers, budget. If you can, you’ll save yourselves a lot of wasted effort in searching.
Even if you haven’t a specific location in place, most couples have some idea of where they would like to marry. This may be as general as you know that you want to marry in the UK but you aren’t bothered exactly where or, perhaps, you know you want a destination wedding somewhere abroad. Defining a location, even if only broadly speaking, will help you whittle down your search.
It will come as no surprise that all venues will have a maximum capacity. With this in mind, you’ll want to decide how many people you are planning to invite. It can be really frustrating to fall in love with a venue and then discover you’ll need to cull your guest list.
I wouldn’t advise even beginning planning a wedding without working out your maximum budget and I certainly wouldn’t start venue searching until you have. As a rough guide, expect your venue and catering costs to take up 40-50% of your entire wedding budget and this should give you an idea of the price range you’ll be looking at.
WEDDING STYLE, FEEL, VIBE
And now to the fun bit! How do you want your wedding to look and feel and what vibe you are going after? Most couples have a pretty good idea on this from the start. Whether it be city chic, laid back luxury or classic elegance, you’ll probably find deciding this the easiest part! Different venue types will suit different kinds of wedding style. Stately homes tend to work well for classic elegance although there are some privately owned homes who will allow exclusive hire, super flexibility and more of a laid back luxury feel.
USE A VENUE FINDER
Once you are clear on the above, an online venue finders can be really useful to help you narrow down your search. By far the best available is the beautiful and style led venue directory Coco Wedding Venues. Founded in 2013 by Emma Hla, it features the most beautiful wedding venues around. It is also really easy to use and you can search by location, capacity, venue type or wedding style.
MY TOP PICK
My favourite kind of wedding to plan is one with a laid-back luxury feel for couples looking for absolute luxury but without the formality. Venues like Wickham House in Berkshire hit this spot! Located just outside Newbury, this privately owned Manor House can be hired exclusively for up to 4 days. Set within 25 acres of stunning grounds, it even has its own church. Blending worn country charm with luxury, it is my idea of a dream-wedding venue!
image credits : Kate Nielen Photography