At the start of your wedding planning, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by choice, and by the sheer number of decisions that have to be made. Selecting your venue is one of the earliest decisions you’ll be faced with, and it’s probably the most important one, as it has an enormous impact on practically everything else.
Before you get to choosing the specific venue, you need to narrow down the area of the country in which you’ll be getting married, and decide whether you’re looking at a chic city wedding, or something altogether more rural. Chances are, you’re not both still living in the town or village where you grew up, so the location of your wedding isn’t cut and dried. There are likely to be multiple meaningful locations in play, whether it’s the place your parents live, where you met your partner, or even just a part of the country you’ve visited together and fallen in love with.
I have to admit it, I am a sucker for a countryside wedding, I'm also a huge fan of the marquee wedding. Having said this, I plan both and city and countryside weddings each have their own personalities, with their fair share of advantages and drawbacks. Here’s my personal take on the pros and cons of the urban vs the rural, to help you decide on your perfect wedding venue.
A Wedding in the City
With a wealth of options and aesthetics available, there is bound to be a venue to suit your personal style. From modern and minimal warehouse spaces, to cosy old-man pubs and chic boutique hotels, one thing you won’t be short of is choice!
Particularly the case in larger cities, there’s a higher concentration of venues within the urban centre – many of which are within a walk or an easy bus, tram or tube ride from one another. This allows you to easily build a day of several parts should you so wish, holding your ceremony in one place and your reception in another.
Most modern weddings involve friends and family arriving from far flung places. A city location will have the necessary transport links to make guests’ travel a breeze, plus a wide array of accommodation options to suit all budgets.
This one’s not a given, and can be circumvented with careful research, but you’re likely to find your budget is significantly more stretched in a city venue. (This is particularly true if your UK wedding city of choice is London).
LACK OF PRIVACY
The city centre is busy and buzzing. Even if your venue is hired solely for you and your guests, there’s no avoiding other people during your day. You won’t get that same sense of private exclusivity in the middle of town as you would on a country estate away from the rat race.
LACK OF SPACE
Urban backdrops can create incredible photographs, but when it comes to your couple’s shots you won’t get the same rolling vistas and sense of the world having shrunk down until it’s just the two of you. If the wedding you’re dreaming of involves lush green spaces, then a city venue will be a struggle to match up to your ideals.
A Wedding in the Countryside
The British countryside does idyllic very well, from rolling hills to woodland glades to wildflower meadows. Many countryside venues boast stunning views, which make for beautiful photographs and a sense of peace and luxury.
PUTTING YOUR STAMP ON THINGS
Countryside weddings often include a marquee element (did I mention I love a marquee wedding?!). While these take careful planning and lots of consideration, they allow you to get really creative. A marquee is a totally blank canvas in which you can let your imagination run wild – choosing your own suppliers and designing a space that really reflects you. The results can be truly spectacular.
GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL
While you might have to travel further to reach a venue in the deepest countryside, once you’re there you can completely relax in your own private wedding bubble. Whether you’re returning to a childhood home or escaping to a recent rural discovery, a countryside wedding is likely to give you and your guests that feeling of being on holiday, when the pressures of real life stay well away.
This is the big one. A country wedding is far more likely to include an outdoor element, and should the great British weather decide to fail you, you need to have a sensible plan B in place to keep guests dry and not too cold or too hot.
Even the largest country houses are unlikely to have enough accommodation on site for every single guest (unless your guest numbers are within the 80-100 mark). Finding suitable accommodation that’s not too far from your chosen venue can prove tricky, although not impossible and will involve co-ordination of a fleet of taxis at the end of the night to make sure everyone gets there safely. Having said this more and more couples seeking countryside venues also want a decent amount of accommodation on site and venues are listening to this - they just need careful seeking out.
If your dream country wedding is in a parent’s garden, or another location involving a marquee, a sizeable chunk of your budget will need to be spent on the practicalities, rather than the pretty. You’ll need to think about such glamorous things as the toilet facilities, power and parking options, before you can get down to designing the fun details of the day. In fact this is one of the things that often surprises couples who come to me wanting a marquee wedding - the cost! It is a myth that a marquee wedding will save you money. Quite the opposite. Whilst the tent itself may not break the bank, you need to consider the marquee like a blank canvas - it needs all the additions that come as standard with a brick and mortar venue - flooring, lighting, power, heating to name but a few. Then you'll need facilities for caterers - a tent and all that needs to come with this - not to mention the fact the kit (ovens etc...) that need to be shipped in. Don't get me wrong, for me a marquee wedding is amazing, so personal and a blank canvas, but don't choose it because you want to save money.
Don’t let the choice of location tie you up in knots. Yes, there are positives and negatives to each option, but there are also a host of talented suppliers out there to help you bring together the wedding of your dreams no matter where it’s held.