Choosing the right wedding venue for your day is arguably one of the most crucial decisions you can make in the lead up to your wedding day. It’s only once you’ve found the ideal setting for your day that you can truly begin to visualize how your wedding day might look and feel.
I frequently meet couples who fall head over heels in love with a venue to the point where they’re prepared to change the preferred date of their big day, purely to accommodate the venue’s availability.
I can only liken your venue search to house hunting. You might look at dozens of places and not find the right one, or you could get lucky and fall for the first place you see. It’s important you love your venue and whilst the temptation is there for your heart to rule your head, I want to arm you with some tips that will ensure you make this first, important wedding decision the right one. Afterall, it’s no exaggeration to say that your choice of venue can have a big say in how successful your wedding day turns out to be.
Here are my 7 tips to consider when deciding on your venue;
- Bring the outside in – Unfortunately, all the planning in the world won’t guarantee Pimms weather on your wedding day. So with the all important wedding photos in mind, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. A good wedding venue will ideally have the best of both worlds – Picturesque grounds outside and some interesting and photogenic backdrops inside just in case the heavens open.
- Go open plan! – I’m lucky enough to play at some stunning wedding venues including Grade II listed country manor houses. There’s no doubt these will provide your wedding day with the kind of grandieur you might be looking for but they were never built with a modern wedding in mind. If I could take a sledgehammer to some of the internal walls then I happily would! They may look stunning on the outside, but inside, many contain a myriad of rooms that won’t necessarily help with the flow of your wedding day. The bar might be in one room, the buffet served in another and the entertainment takes place it yet another room. Give your guests too much space to explore and with all those distractions your evening entertainment may fall a little flat.
- Alfresco Agogo! – Marquees are becoming increasingly popular as a wedding venue option. They‘re a great way to link the outside space with the inside and give you the best of both worlds. Most marquee venues will form a single focal point for the entire day so everything takes place in one open plan space, from your wedding breakfast through to your evening entertainment. Marquees are also a ‘blank canvas’ allowing you more scope to make the space your own with decor, lighting and layout.
- Time for bed! – Accommodation for you and your guests is a factor to consider. Some of the best venues I play at have little or no scope to allow you and your guests to stay overnight. If you’re considering a venue with little or no accommodation then you might want to block book a good hotel or bed and breakfast close by. Then lay on a coach to take your guests back there at the end of the night. That way, no-one needs to worry about driving and more importantly, it’s a great way to ensure your guests all stick around til the last dance.
- Simpler can be better – Some of the best weddings I’ve been to have taken place in a good, old-fashioned village hall. They bring the bar, food and dancing into one space. The 3 key ingredients for a great evening! Bear in mind you’re unlikely to have a wedding co-ordinator to pull everything together for you when choosing this type of venue. So you may need some friends and relatives who are happy to muck in and help but most of the time this gives you a lot more freedom to make the day your own without some of the restrictions associated with a traditional wedding venue.
- Exclusively yours – A lot of venues will give you the run of the whole venue, guaranteeing you exclusive use and leaving you and your guests free to explore and use every nook and cranny. Whilst exclusive use gives you that reassurance that you
- Less is more – Please, don’t feel obliged to use your whole venue just because you want to get your money’s worth. I know it’s a big financial commitment for just one day but sometimes it’s best to just focus your day on the parts of a venue that will work for you. Give your guests too much scope to wander off and the day may lose it’s focus, guests will get lost and you’ll spend your day chasing round after people!
Here are links to some of my favourite Kent wedding venues
In summary, choosing the right space to celebrate in is a key factor in the success of your wedding day. A venue which allows you to have the bar, food and dancing as close together as possible is a big thumbs up for me. Good entertainment, food and drink are all the ingredients for a great night so try and find a venue that lets you bring them all together. I wish you every success in your journey to find the perfect wedding venue. Happy hunting!