How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Venue
24 November 2023
Planning a wedding can be both exciting and overwhelming.
From picking the perfect dress to crafting the guest list, every decision plays a significant role in creating a memorable day.
However, one of the most crucial choices you'll make is selecting the right wedding venue. Your venue sets the tone and atmosphere for your entire celebration, so it's essential to choose wisely.
In this article, we'll explore the key factors to consider when selecting the perfect wedding venue that aligns with your vision, style, and budget.
1. What's Your Wedding Vision?
Your wedding day should reflect your unique style and personality as a couple. It is a celebration of your love and commitment, and every detail should be a reflection of who you are.
Before jumping into the venue search, take the time to define your wedding vision. Consider the overall aesthetic you want to achieve, from a rustic countryside affair to an elegant city soirée.
Imagine walking down the aisle surrounded by lush greenery, with the soft sounds of nature in the background. Picture your guests mingling in a beautifully decorated space, filled with personal touches that represent your love story.
Your wedding vision is the foundation upon which all other decisions will be made, so it's important to take the time to truly understand what you want. You will become distracted by all sorts of wonderful and grand ideas. This clear vision will keep you on track and help narrow down your options.
Here's a few areas to consider:
Define Your Style
Your wedding style is a reflection of who you are as a couple, so don't be afraid to let your personalities shine through.
- Are you more drawn to modern or traditional settings?
- Do you envision a grand ballroom reception or an intimate garden ceremony?
- Is it a quiet afternoon event or a 3-day weekend occasion?
Knowing your style will help you find a venue that complements your vision.
If you and your partner have a love for all things vintage, a historic mansion with its ornate architecture and timeless charm may be the perfect setting for your special day.
On the other hand, if you have a contemporary taste, a sleek and modern venue with clean lines and minimalist decor might be more your style.
Estimate your Guest Count
Make an estimated count early on to ensure the venues you consider have enough space for all your loved ones. Think about the people who have played a significant role in your lives and who you want to share this special day with. From family to close friends, your guest list will help you create an intimate and meaningful celebration.
Consider the different dynamics of your guest list.
Are there children who will need space to play?
Are there elderly guests who may require special accommodations?
Taking these factors into consideration will ensure that your venue choice not only fits your guest count but also caters to the needs of your loved ones.
Consider the Season
The season in which you plan to tie the knot can greatly impact your venue options.
If you dream of an outdoor wedding, be sure to choose a venue with suitable weather conditions for your chosen season. Imagine saying your vows under a clear blue sky, with the warmth of the sun enveloping you and your guests. However, keep in mind that Mother Nature can be unpredictable, so it's important to have a backup plan in case of inclement weather.
On the other hand, if you prefer an indoor celebration, consider the ambience and atmosphere that different seasons can bring. A winter wedding can be magical with twinkling lights and cosy fireplaces, while a spring wedding can be filled with blooming flowers and fresh scents.
Each season has its own unique charm - select a venue that complements the season and will enhance the overall experience for you and your guests.
When considering the season, also think about any seasonal restrictions that may apply to certain venues. Some locations may have specific rules or limitations during certain times of the year, such as noise restrictions or limited availability. Being aware of these factors helps avoid any surprises down the line.
2. What's your Wedding Budget?
Your wedding venue is undoubtedly an important aspect of your big day. But, it's important to strike a balance between your desires and financial capabilities. You may have envisioned a fairytale wedding in a grand ballroom, but don't let it overshadow other essential elements of your special day.
Start by doing the reverse - set a budget for all your other wedding expenses. Such as:
Then, use the remaining budget to find the venue. Don't forget that some wedding venues can provide these other expenses at one cost.
Prioritise Your Spending
If the wedding venue is your top priority, you must be prepared to readjust the budget for other areas.
Sit down with your partner and identify the non-negotiables when it comes to your wedding day. If venue is #1, can you reduce the amount of decorations? If you must have a horse and carriage, can you swap a three-course meal for a buffet?
Remember that your wedding day is a reflection of you and your partner's unique love story. Prioritise the aspects that hold the most sentimental value to you both. Whether it's a stunning venue, exquisite cuisine, or live entertainment, make sure that your budget aligns with your priorities.
Watch out for these hidden costs!
Be aware of any hidden costs when researching wedding venues.
Ask about additional fees for rentals, service charges, or overtime charges, as these can significantly impact your overall budget. Some venues may require you to use their preferred suppliers, which also affects your budget.
Take the time to enquire about any restrictions or requirements regarding suppliers to ensure that you have a complete picture of the potential costs.
3. Where do you want to host your wedding?
Your wedding venue's location can make a significant impact on the overall experience for you and your guests. Consider the following factors when evaluating potential locations:
Proximity to Guests
Choose a venue that is conveniently accessible for the majority of your guests. Consider the distance from airports, public transportation, or nearby accommodation options to ensure easy travel arrangements.
It's not just about convenience - it's also about creating a memorable experience for everyone involved. By choosing a venue that is easily accessible, you'll be able to ensure that your guests arrive at the wedding feeling relaxed and ready to celebrate.
Additionally, a venue that is close to accommodation options is great for those travelling from out of town. It allows them to easily find a place to stay, eliminating any worries about transportation after the festivities.
If you have guests with specific accessibility needs, ensure that the venue can accommodate them. Check for ramps, lifts, and accessible facilities to guarantee a comfortable experience for all.
Creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all your guests should always be a top priority. By ensuring that the venue has the necessary accessibility features, you'll be able to provide a comfortable experience for everyone. Ramps and lifts are essential for guests with mobility issues, allowing them to easily navigate the venue. Accessible facilities, such as toilets and seating areas, are also crucial to ensure that all guests can fully enjoy the wedding festivities.
Taking the time to consider these accessibility factors will not only make your guests feel valued and appreciated, but it will also contribute to the overall success of your special day. When writing your guest list out, note any accessibility needs to give you the full picture.
4. Evaluate the Venue's Services and Facilities
When it comes to choosing a wedding venue, it's important to remember that not all venues offer the same range of services and facilities. Consider these factors when weighing up one venue against the other:
Catering and Menu Options
Food's a big deal at any wedding. When evaluating a venue, compare the catering options they offer. Ask:
- Do they have an in-house catering team or do they work with external caterers?
- Can they accommodate dietary restrictions or special requests?
Ask for sample menus to get a sense of what they can offer. If you have specific preferences or want to add a personal touch to the menu, find out if the venue allows you to customise the selections.
Venue Capacity and Layout
Consider if the venue has enough space to accommodate your guest count and desired layout. To help you visualise this, ask the venue to provide floor plans or show you photos from previous events. This gives you a better understanding of how the space can be transformed to suit your specific needs and preferences.
Parking and Accommodation Facilities
Can your guests park and stay overnight at your venue?
If the venue has limited parking or no parking at all, you'll need to consider alternative transportation arrangements for your guests. This could include providing shuttle services or arranging for nearby parking facilities.
If guests can't stay at the venue, check with nearby accommodation options for out-of-town attendees or those who prefer to stay overnight. It saves your guests from leaving before the party is over.
5. Check Venue Availability
Once you've narrowed down your list of potential venues, it's time to check their availability, book a viewing and secure your desired date.
Book in Advance
Booking your wedding venue in advance gives you peace of mind knowing that you have secured your desired location for your special day. It also allows you to plan other aspects of your wedding, such as catering, decor, and entertainment, with confidence, knowing the venue is locked in.
Be Flexible with the Date
If you don't need a wedding on a specific date, be open to moving the date. This flexibility not only secures your dream venue but can come with savings. Consider off-peak seasons, such as winter or weekdays.
Being flexible also allows you to take advantage of other benefits. For example, if you choose a weekday wedding, you may have a better chance of booking in-demand suppliers, as they are often more available during weekdays. Your guests may find it easier to attend a wedding on a weekday.
6. Visit Potential Wedding Venues
Researching online is a great way to gather initial information. But, nothing beats seeing the venues in person. Here's what to look for during your site visits:
- The overall condition and cleanliness of the venue
- What amenities are available? E.g. Bridal suites, outdoor spaces, dance floors.
- Space and current layout
Questions to Ask
Come prepared with questions to ask about the venue during your visit. Here are some standard ones to help you start:
- How many guests can you accommodate?
- Which rooms are licensed for civil ceremonies?
- Is the venue available for exclusive hire?
- Who will be the point of contact for the venue?
- What time can we access the venue?
- Are fireworks and confetti allowed?
- Are there any restrictions on decorations?
- Can you bring your own alcohol?
- What are taxis like in the area?
- Is there enough parking for everyone?
7. Making the Final Decision
Before signing the contract and confirming your venue choice, take the following steps:
Review Your Options
Take the time to review all the information and notes you've gathered from various venue visits. Compare pricing, facilities, and the overall fit with your wedding vision to ensure you're making the right decision.
Sign the Contract
Before signing the contract, carefully read through all the terms and conditions. Ensure that all verbal agreements and specific requests are included in writing. If there are any areas of concern, seek clarification before finalising the contract.
Prepare for the Big Day
Congratulations on finding the perfect wedding venue! Now that your venue is secured, you can focus on planning the other aspects of your big day, like selecting your dream dress, curating a delicious menu, and deciding on the music that will have your guests dancing all night long.
For now, you can breathe. A big part of your wedding is sorted!
If you dream of a castle wedding, consider Eastnor Castle. We're surrounded by the natural beauty of Malvern Hills and accommodate for outside and inside ceremonies. Sleep inside the castle overnight and get married just like a monarch.