Venue planning

You know your budget and hopefully you’ve done your homework and have been looking at venues on line. Does this now mean you should get out there and meet some venues? Whoa hang on a minute! Put the car keys down for a sec, do you know how many guests you will be planning to have in the day to the wedding/breakfast and how many for the evening?  Yes, I know you haven’t sent out the invites yet but you do need a rough idea of numbers. All venues will have maximum capacity (they have to for fire regulations) and your venue will ask you about numbers. Also, you need to think about space, for example if you are planning a small intimate wedding you don’t want a vast barn or grand hall. Will your guest numbers double in the evening, maybe look for a venue with alternate additional space such as a large bar area or dance floor? Tipi’s and marquees with chill out areas also are good to consider if you are going for a outside wedding, but don’t forget each extra pod adds in cost.

So let’s go! Let’s meet some lovely people to show you round their venues. Don’t be surprised if they ask you lots of questions, they want to know what your wedding vision is. You should also be asking lots of questions too. Here are a few to consider asking –

  • Live music/sound limiter
  • Minimum and maximum guests
  • Are outside caterer’s permitted (including drinks bars) top tip, I said there would be some! having the choice to use your  own catering or bar could save costs.
  • If there is a bar in the venue what are the drink prices (especially important if you are putting a monetary amount behind the bar for free drinks)
  • When is access allowed for decoration and when does this need to be removed?
  • Is everything you see included in the venue fee?
  • If it is a busy venue and more than one wedding on the day how does room turnover work?
  • Do you get a complimentary room for bride/bridesmaids/groom the night before?
  • What time do the wedding party have to leave the next day if staying over? (late check out?)
  • Parking spaces
  • Are fireworks or Chinese lanterns permitted (if you want these)? This is very important at outside weddings as often they are not permitted due to livestock.
  • Is confetti permitted or which confetti can be used? Some venues unfortunately don’t allow it (particularly if it is a popular venue) or if they do will want your guests to throw bio degradable confetti. If it’s only bio degradable allowed you might need to think about telling your guests and supplying the correct type (your venue should help you with this if not there are loads of suppliers that range from degradable paper to dried petals). If not allowed you will need to let guests and your photographer know or potentially you could face a fine!

I’m just going to touch on destination weddings. There are loads of options out there from Europe to far flung destinations so make sure the travel company you book with is ABTA registered if you are all in package or if you are booking independently please, please make sure you have wedding insurance that covers weddings abroad.If you are booking a supplier from the UK for your wedding, such as photographer, wedding planner or celebrant, make sure you find out if their fee is all included or what expenses you will be paying on top of their fee – flights, food, accommodation etc – before paying a deposit.

Finally, and it might sound a bit daft, but go to the loo before you leave. No I’m not being your mum and making sure you can make it home without having to stop en route! Seriously, you can find out quite a bit on how a business is being run by the state of the toilets!!