You must be so excited about your impending nuptials, and if you’re reading this, you may be at that point of wanting to dive into planning your special day!
So we hope you’ve got your decision-making hats on, because planning your wedding day is a journey that involves loads of discussion, choices and decisions.
Usually when on the starting blocks, the first – and one of the most important – decision you’ll need to make is to choose the perfect wedding venue for you.
Whether you fall in love with a charming oak barn or a beautiful garden setting in a dedicated wedding venue, or you opt for an all-prepared package-style setup, you’ll need to go with the one that best ticks your individual boxes. There is much to consider! So to help you get started, here’s a intro on questions to ask when seeking your wedding venue.
Availability & Dates
Before traipsing all over the country, have a look online first. Many wedding venues have availability calendars that list available dates for a year or more ahead.
And if every Saturday is blocked off at a venue you really like, don’t be too quick to strike it off the list. We’ll let you in on a little secret, if you’re looking to book off-season, mid-week, or have your heart set on an intimate wedding, give the venue a quick call to see if there could be something available sooner.
Your wedding day is one of the most special days of your whole life, and a bit of indulgence is absolutely more than ok! Some of the best advice we give to prospective brides and grooms is to be selfish with your wedding planning.
That being said, of course you want to share your day with those you love, and you will need to factor in things like ease of access and transport options to the venue, and proximity to airports and accommodation.
We find that your guests are usually more than happy to travel if everything is held at the one site. A venue that can host your ceremony and reception/party, and also provide a wonderful spot for your photographs, will usually appeal to most of your family and friends.
When it comes to locking in your dream-wedding venue, size really does matter. For example, if you have a small guest list then a big venue can make your wedding party look a little small and the venue appear empty. So think about how it caters to your numbers. Consider how you see your day running, and try to visualise you and your guests using the space that’s available.
Hmmm, need we say more? Your wedding budget will likely impact when choosing between potential venues on your shortlist. Whilst we know there’s often a little wiggle room in the budget if you come across your dream wedding that ticks ALL your boxes, to save you some unnecessary heartache, it can be a good idea to simply stop looking at those outside your budget.
But if you are wondering if it might be possible to stretch your budget for that dream venue (and we think Tower Hill Barns is totally swoon worthy), it’s worth having the conversation. Many venues offer attractive deals on certain dates, and we often have a few days on the calendar (even within busy wedding season) that are open to flexible fees and event options.
Strange we know, but your guests will always remember the food you serve, and they’ll talk about it to all who listen. So whether you’re doing the traditional wedding breakfast, a casual buffet, or festival style finger food, make sure the venue can serve food to your liking. You might also want to enquire about just how flexible the catering department can be in terms of menu design, dietary requirements, presentation, and even the timing of when food is served.
It’s a good idea to speak with the venue about what on-the-day services they provide. Think about things like whether they have staff for the day or whether you need to pay extra to hire additional staff, whether the venue offers a wedding planning service for you (like we do) and, also, if there’s an ‘on-the-day coordinator’?
The larger hotels and event spaces will most likely have a team of staff, so you will want them to appoint a personable coordinator for you to liaise with. Whereas a family owned and run wedding venue like us here at Tower Hill Barns, will usually offer a more personalised, and caring service. Your happiness is most important to us, and we love to get to know our couples and really get invested in helping you to have your dream day that you’ll remember forever!
Decor and Venue Dressing
Whether it’s an oak barn, outdoor garden, purpose-built wedding venue, hotel or private event space, consider how it’s presented. If you decide to do just the bare minimum yourself, will it still look beautiful or do you need to think about extra aspects of venue dressing or hiring decor.
Consider too that venues can vary wildly on what they include in their pricings (with additional costs for things like candles, fire pits, tables and chairs, and even staff). So look for venues with no hidden costs.
Is the space exclusively yours, or do you share the car-park, building, amenities or technical facilities with other weddings? If you have concerns about how the venue will be able to make your wedding day as memorable as you dream it to be, then an ‘exclusive use’ venue will ensure you’re not at risk of going all “Bride Wars” mid-way through your ceremony.
Planning for your wedding photos may be something you have further down the to-do list, but if you’re tied between choosing a few different venues, we recommend you think about the aesthetics to help you narrow it down. Are there appealing locations on-site, and is there good lighting, or do you need to go elsewhere to have your photos taken? And if you do need to go off-site, can you factor in the extra time and travel to your wedding day timeline?
From a practical perspective, location, style, and budget are paramount and you’ll want to make sure the venue you choose has the services to cater to your needs. But if you simplify it right down, your perfect wedding venue needs to have a wow factor that’s unique to your vision!
It should be the one that gives you that instant feeling of ‘yes, this is it!’ Or as one of our brides said recently, “Your perfect wedding venue will be the one that makes you cry with joy”.
If you’re ready to choose your dream wedding venue, then we’d love to get in touch and arrange a viewing day for you. We just know that once you’ve seen our gorgeous old oak barn and the grounds, you’ll fall in love. To make an enquiry, send us a message or give us a call on 01978 823429.