By Sarah McBrien
The right venue can make or break a wedding, and it is the most important part of the planning process as it is the foundation on which you build the rest of your day around. Everything from your guest list to your theme is decided by the space you have chosen to hold it, so whether you want a country manor or wild forest party, here are the main things you need to keep in mind, and the questions you should be asking.
Choose your theme
Once you know what vibe you want your wedding to have, you can start shopping around for venues. Rustic or vintage weddings work well in countryside venues while an art decor extravaganza might be better suited to a modern city hotel or museum already designed to fit your theme. Wherever you want your day to fall on the spectrum, the best way to find venues is to check out wedding planner and photographer’s portfolios and find where weddings that fit your aesthetic were held.
How many guests do you want to have?
The first thing you need to do is decide what size wedding you want as this will automatically restrict your options. You don’t need to know the exact number yet, but a wedding with more than 150 guests will most likely require a hotel, exclusive hire venue or marquee. While weddings with under 100 guests would be better suited to a private hire venue or restaurant.
How involved do you want to be with individual details?
Most, if not all, hotels have in- house wedding planners and set layout and décor plans that can take a lot of stress out of planning. Marquees, private hire venues and restaurants are blank canvases for you to fill with all the individual design details you want included in your day but require you to be much more involved in the planning. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what best fits your theme, budget and planning time.
Questions to Ask When Booking Your Venue
- Can the venue seat all your guests?
- Is your preferred date available?
- Are reduced rates offered in the off-season?
- Do they have a one wedding per day policy?
- Is there an in-house wedding planner?
- What rooms are licensed for ceremonies?
- Is the reception held in the same room as the ceremony?
- Can you sample the menu before deciding what you want?
- Can your guests stay on site, and if so are there any discounts available?
- Is there a late bar option and how long does it stay open?