The excitement of your engagement can encapsulate your wedding planning for the first few months - as it should. However, when you and your fiancé begin to get serious about your planning, your first point of call should be booking your venue. It goes without saying that a carefully considered venue will make not only a major difference to your guests experience, but also your photographers pictures, your days look and feel, as well as your final budget.
Here are my top 10 tips to consider when deciding on a venue:
1. Noise constraints
If you're looking to host a killer party for your guests once your wedding formalities have concluded, it is important you discuss your venues noise restrictions to ensure your fun isn't going to be cut short. If your hosting your wedding at a private venue, a call to your local council to discuss the surrounding areas noise restrictions is a must.
A beautifully landscaped venue will not only reduce the number of locations your photographer may need to whisk you a way too, but can also reduce your floristry or styling expenses - particularly for your ceremony or canapé spaces if being held outdoors. Be sure to discuss these options with your venue and consider whether these areas will be in full bloom during the that time of the year.
It is always best to start by considering how many guests you and your fiancé would like to invite to your special day. There is nothing worse than spending time looking at venues (and falling in love with them) to later learn they are unable to accommodate your number of guests. Firstly narrow your list down by confirming the number of guests your venue is able to service, being sure to consider the style of your wedding - whether it be cocktail or sit down.
4. Decor potential
During your site inspection with your shortlisted venues be sure to take a good look around at the venues facilities. For example, if you are determined to have copious amounts of drapped lighting from the ceiling of your venue you will need to ensure the height of your venues ceiling is appropriate, as well as accessibility to secure and power the lighting itself. Additionally, discussing the available decor provided by the venue is important to discuss as this will give you an idea of what elements you may need to hire or purchase to achieve the look you are wanting for your wedding. Any additional fees for the use of these products, or service fees charged by the venue to set up these elements is also crucial to consider as in some cases it may be cheaper for you to hire these products or services from a third party supplier.
Considering the mobility and health of your guests is also important when considering your venues. The ease of access from one location to another will ensure your less mobile guests are able to enjoy themselves as much as possible. A great question to ask your venue is if they would be able to supply any additional transport options for these guests if required - cue the golf buggies.
6. Location flow
All in one location weddings are becoming ever more popular - and for good reason. A nice flow between your ceremony, canapé and reception spaces will ensure a much smoother day for not only your guests but also yourselves and majority of your vendors. If you are hosting a church ceremony, ensuring your reception venue is within an easy walking or driving distance will keep your guests feeling comfortable as well as allowing them to enjoy the day as much as possible - rather than spending a lot of the time in transit.
7. Toilet locations
Again, this is a particularly important element to consider for your less mobile guests. A long hike to the toilets is never fun, particularly in heels, so ensure your venues toilet facilities can be accessed both swiftly and safely.
If your venue is somewhat secluded, you will need to consider any on site accommodation options for your guests. If your venue is unable to accommodate your guests, you will then be required to look further into group transport for your guests - as alcohol and driving from a venue should never be an option. It is also important to consider your bridal parties location the night before and night of the wedding. If your venue is able to accommodate a smaller number of guests, it may make your wedding much more enjoyable for you and your fiancé in particularly. Be sure to discuss these additional expenses (if applicable) with your venue.
Understanding the way your venue looks during both the time of year and time of day of your wedding is essential. Studying a venues photos is a great way to do this prior to your site inspection. Understanding were the sun will be sitting in the sky during your weddings festivities will be particularly important for your photographer - so be sure to discuss these with them as soon as you have a proposed time.
Be sure to take note of your venues lighting fixtures when considering your booking. Making your way to the loo, or easting in the dark is never a nice experience, so be sure that your venue has ample light throughout your various on site locations - not forgetting about the outdoors.