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Finding Your Perfect Wedding Venue
Now that you’ve answered the basic questions and agreed on your wedding budget, the next step is to find your venue. From the styling of the space to the timings on the day, the majority of your decisions will ultimately hinge on your choice of wedding venue.
What kind of venue are you looking for?
Traditional venues such as hotels and country houses dominate the wedding market and with their set packages, they are well rehearsed at holding weddings.There are, however, also a host of non-traditional venues out there: from art galleries, museums and theatres to restaurants, pubs, boats and warehouses. There are some real hidden gems that can be worth the extra effort to find, so don’t limit your options to all the usual suspects. Often these quirkier venues offer a lot more flexibility, as they are not so set in their wedding ways.
You also have the option having a marquee wedding, which gives you ultimate flexibility in terms of décor and styling but bear in mind it really is a blank canvas so everything from tables and chairs to lighting, flooring and more will need to be hired in.
What do you want from your wedding venue?
Decide what your priorities are for your venue and then create a spreadsheet that lists all these important points, allowing you to keep track of each venue’s suitability as you do your research. Do an online search and start with a long list of venues you like the look of in your chosen geographical area before contacting them for further information.
Don’t commit to ‘The One’ straightaway!
Before signing anything, ask to see a full breakdown of all the costs in an itemized list that shows what is and isn’t included in the price. Pay close attention to whether VAT and service has been included or not in the overall price too. Ask what happens to your money in the case of cancellation, whether on your behalf or the venue’s.
It’s also worth questioning the venue about their recommended suppliers. Do the venue, for example, insist that you use their suppliers? Are the businesses they advocate recommended on merit and experience of working at the venue? Or are suppliers paying to be on the list? Will you have to pay extra commission? If they do insist you use certain suppliers (as they normally do with caterers) then I would also get independent quotes from these suppliers prior to booking to check that the total costs are still within your allocated budget.
Finally, do ask who will be your main point of contact throughout the planning process and on the actual day itself. At this stage you may be dealing with the sales team and only once booked will you work with the events team before finally dealing with the banqueting team on your wedding day. For peace of mind you may prefer to deal with one person throughout, but if this isn’t an option you might want to consider working with a wedding planner who can oversee everything for you.