Picking a wedding venue is one of the very first things you do when you start planning a wedding, it’s also one of the hardest.
The venue will largely decide the tone of your day and will be decided by a huge range of factors, from location to budget, capacity to availability.
By the time you come to pick your venue, you will probably already have an idea of the kind of day you’re after – there are so many options and each is aiming at a different type of person – finding the right one for you is where the difficulty lies.
Perhaps you’re a money-no-object sort, who demands the highest level of luxury and service – maybe you’ll be considering various 5 star London hotels or one of Englands Royal Palaces?
Maybe you’re after a more relaxed setting, one that will encourage friends and family to let their hair down, relax and have a great time. Maybe you want to invite friends who have kids and know the day will still be fun and relaxed? Consider looking at a Barn wedding venue – they usually have heaps of character and space and fit quite a relaxed crowd.
If you’re a crafty sort, who loves the idea of making all the decorations and details, and wants a basic venue that will enable you to put your own stamp on it – maybe barns or village halls would be more your style.
Maybe you just want the minimum of stress for the day and you want a turn-key setting that will take care of everything for you? A hotel or a dedicated wedding venue that will just put everything together so you can just pay your money, turn up and get married.
Picking a local wedding venue
Consider the location relative to any family and friends who might be involved in the day. If you’d like to get ready at a family member home, then consider venues close to that. Some venues have facilities to get ready within the venue, but sometimes getting ready in familiar surrounds has its own value.
You might want to pick a location close to you, for us, that would be one of the many beautiful Sussex Wedding Venues. A venue local to you will give you an easier time of transporting things to and from the venue – decorations, cakes etc. or if your suppliers are doing all that for you, then you may actually want to pick somewhere further away to add to the sense of immersion in the wedding – nothing like going somewhere remote to get out of your every day lives!
Consider where the majority of your guests are coming from and how easy it is to access the venue – If you have hundreds of friends based in London, then perhaps a wedding in the middle of Cornwall doesn’t make sense – unless you’re planning on providing accommodation or transport, you may find some guests unable to attend. Likewise to weddings out in the sticks – whilst an hours drive from London may not be insurmountable for most, a lot of guests may not want to use their cars so they can have a few drinks – so then considerations like train stations, or availability of public transport may come into play.
Planning a wedding is tough, but we hope our little guides provide you with a bit of help – or even just something to think about!
A great way to get inspired and to get an understanding of how a day works at a venue is to do a quick google and look for wedding photographers who have worked at that venue before – often they will have lengthy blog posts showcasing an array of images from the wedding and whilst they may not be the right photographer for you, their images should give you a visual idea of what a day there looks like and what happens in which locations/areas.
Many venues offer some kind of accommodation either for the bride or for the entire wedding party – some places, hotels etc. can also accommodate many or all of the guests. This is certainly something to consider when looking at venues.
A term thrown around a lot during wedding planning is ‘Dry Hire’ but what is Dry hire and why would you want it?
Essentially dry hire, means you’re hiring the building or space, as is and without any other support. That means you bring in your own caterers, decorators and suppliers.
Great for people that want to put their own stamp on a day, but is often much more involved and hands-on. Requiring a lot more research, planning and commissioning of suppliers.
The alternative to Dry Hire is Wet Hire, whereby space comes with some facilities – this could be chairs, tables or equipment – thus cutting down on some of your logistics, but you may still be required to provide your own suppliers and staff for example – still offering a large degree of control, but slightly less stress than pure dry hire.
Above Wet and Dry hire you have all-inclusive facilities, where everything is included, from food to decorations drink to staffing – everything is ready to go. Places like this often have packages with options and levels of service available to you.
Corkage and Bar Services
One of the biggest considerations for many couples is Alcohol and the provision of plenty of drinks for their guests. Some venues will have a bar included and you can either pay for the bar outright, allowing your guests to have whatever they want without charge. You can opt to go for a cash bar – whereby your guests will pay for their drinks (big money-saving tip there!)
Another alternative that some venues will allow you, is to bring in your own alcohol – but they will often charge a corkage fee for handling and pouring it. Consider how high the corkage is, in addition to the amount you’re spending on alcohol – relative to the cost of letting them do the bar in its entirety. Often corkage fees are high to the point it is cheaper just to let them supply and serve.
We hope this guide has given you some things to think about and has answered a few of your questions – but if you have any more, we’d love to hear from you.