Today we’re excited to feature a guest post by Zoe Dew AKA The Venue Expert:
So you are engaged – woohoo! When the initial excitement has waned and you begin to plan your wedding day, a major consideration is where this amazing celebration is going to happen. At The Venue Expert, we are passionate about everything to do with wedding venues and we have put together some tips for you to consider when choosing your wedding venue. These tips are based on feedback from real life brides and grooms, and the reasons that they discarded venues along the way.
Broadly speaking, location is the number one consideration for most couples. Split into two camps, there are those who don’t want to stray too far away from home, and those who want to head abroad and both come with their own challenges. If you cast your net a little wider than you initially thought you may find a perfect hidden gem for your day, and trust me, your guests will travel.
Also consider venues that aren’t licensed for weddings! Celebrant led weddings are growing in popularity and it means there are uniquely wonderful venues that you are able to have your ceremony at, with your guests none the wiser that your legal ceremony actually happened a few days prior.
My big tip would be to be open minded with venues especially if you are discounting them on price before visiting. If you are able to be flexible on day of the week or month of the year, you can have exactly the same day for a fraction of the price.
An example would be most venues run in seasons so January – March, April – September and October – December. Would a week’s difference between 29th September and 6th October make a difference in the grand scheme of things? Probably not – but price wise the saving can sometimes be thousands!
There is something about you as a couple that will be the “hook” to your day. Maybe it is live music, or food and drink, or that you want it to be a week-long party where everyone can stay over with you. If you find the perfect venue, you will soon decide what is most important on the personalisation front. Check your contract or actively ask the venue what you are able to do, specifying your plans on the personalisation front.
If you want floral hoops hanging all over the ceiling, ask if they allow this and who is going to get up the ladders to hang them – if it is you, maybe rethink, it is the last thing you want to be doing the day before the wedding! Maybe you want bottles of port as favours; if your contract restricts the use of alcohol as favours you may be stuck. You can’t ask too many questions before you book a venue; it’s far better to be sure on the restrictions or lack thereof than question after you have paid your deposit.
How are you treated in your communications with the venue? If you are constantly waiting for answers to questions or responses to phone calls, are these the people that you want to entrust with your wedding day? I suspect not. Following on from the last point, make sure you are clear on who performs what duty on the day. Is the wedding coordinator that you are meeting with the person that will be there to calm your nerves before the ceremony? If not, when do you get the opportunity to meet the person who will run the day for you?
If you are uncomfortable with the level of contact you will have with either of these people but know that you want to choose that venue, I highly recommend employing a wedding planner. This means that you have one point of contact for everything and gives you piece of mind that you have someone who is absolutely on your side with your best interests at heart all the way through the prices.
It is easy for me to sit here and type the logical steps on focusing your venue search, but the biggest factor in this search is usually that you fall in love with the venue as soon as you walk in. This gut feeling can be overwhelming and it’s the old adage of “when you know you know”.
Most couples that I have spoken to have found this to be the case. If this is you, there is little I can say to distract you from the love that you feel, but my main piece of advice is to read your contract, ask as many questions that you can think of to do with your perfect wedding day and the points made above, and do so in writing so that two years down the line you have back up when no one can remember what was agreed in the first place!
If you have venue related questions please feel free to leave me a comment on here or connect with me on social media – I would be happy to help!
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