Whether you're looking for a church or a castle, home or Cyprus,
use this guide to make your search for the ultimate venue an
First work out exactly what it is you want from the venue. Do
you want to hold your ceremony and reception in the same location,
or separately? Are you leaning towards an intimate affair or
hankering after something more lavish?
You should also think about when you're planning to get married.
Are you looking at a winter or summer wedding? And does your
planned day clash with any major sporting fixtures? Although
you might not care about the Olympics or Euro 2004, it's possible
some of your guests might! You don't want people sloping off
to watch television, so visit www.events.co.uk
to ensure your wedding is the only event people are thinking
about on that day.
Back to Basics
Whatever your ideas, you're going to need to strip it down to
basics and consider your budget, and also what's legal. Many
couples decide to hold their ceremony and reception in one location.
This not only means your worries of how to get your guests from
one location to another are minimalised, but also holding your
day at a multipurpose venue can save money. However, before
you make any firm arrangements you will need to ensure your
venue is licensed to hold marriages. (Check the Wedding Planner
page to work out what is an approved building).
Before you start your search you need to get an idea of how
many guests you're expecting. You won't be able to get away
with an intimate venue if you're anticipating hundreds of guests,
and similarly, if you invite a handful but want to entertain
them in a mansion, there won't be enough people to fill the
venue so your guests might feel uncomfortable. Once you have
an idea of how many guests to expect, it's time to start looking
for your dream location! Many venues get booked up quickly,
particularly in the summer months, so the earlier you start
your hunt, the more likely you are to get your first choice.
Why not be a true princess and hire a castle for the day? Or
perhaps you're a traditional girl at heart and want to hold
your reception in your local village hall? Whatever you want,
different facilities suit different types of wedding. If you
want to keep things romantic, then consider a historic country
mansion with original period features and expansive grounds.
Or for an intimate reception, why not dine in luxury at an opulent
restaurant? (Zucchini's or Pavarotti's?) Recently married friends
(or Paphos Post Brides!) are an excellent source of information
as chances are they will have looked at some of the places that
you're intending to visit. Likewise, the Internet is another
fantastic search tool, as there are a number of sites that can
provide you with the inspiration you need to find your dream
venue. Check out www.noblesvenue.co.uk
for a comprehensive list of more than 3000 potential locations.
Also, local authority websites in the UK should list licensed
venues in the area, and failing that, Yellow Pages are sure
to list a range of suitable venues.
What to Look For
Once you've found a few venues you like, make a short list and
arrange an appointment to visit them. From the moment you make
that initial phone call, note how polite and accommodating the
staff are. Try to remember how efficient each member of staff
was and how friendly and helpful the management were when you
called, as these will be the contacts you'll deal with on a
regular basis, and also the ones your guests will have contact
with! When you visit, don't be afraid to ask awkward questions.
You need to know whether or not your wedding will be the only
wedding at the location that day and who is responsible for
clearing up afterwards. Make sure you ask about all the hidden
costs such as corkage and service charges, and find out if you
have the venue for a certain time or if there's a possibility
you'll be able to let the party overrun.
Picturing the Party
As you walk around each venue try to get an idea of how you
would like the room laid out. Think about how you will arrange
your banqueting tables. Is there a suitable space for a DJ or
a band? Will there be enough room for guests to dance? If a
room is too small then your activities could be cramped, and
if it's an odd shape you may find that the space won't be used
to its full potential. During your tour of the venue check to
see how many electric sockets there are for your band or DJ
to use, and also look at the flooring. A hard surface is likely
to amplify sounds while a thick carpet will tend to muffle them.
If you have your heart set on the soft sounds of a harp and
there's thick carpet on the floor you may find the romantic
tunes will be lost.
Another important consideration is lighting. Be aware that your
reception may need a certain amount of artificial light if the
venue is relatively dark. If the room is struggling for natural
light make sure your photographer is aware of this, otherwise
some of your wedding pics will also be quite dark.
If you're considering a venue that's likely to hold another
wedding when you plan on having yours, visit it again when there's
a dual wedding happening. This way, you'll see for yourself
how good the facilities are and how much noise another wedding
will make and interfere with your own celebrations.
It may seem like a lot to think about, but it's important to
get the finer points right in the early stages before you get
too far into the booking and money has changed hands.
If you're finding that your budget is too stretched to cover
the type of venue you really want, there are ways around this
problem. Usually, weddings are more expensive on a summer Saturday,
so consider moving your celebrations to a Friday or a Sunday.
Venues that offer an all-inclusive package can be a lot cheaper,
particularly if they are offering you a deal on guest accommodation
and your first night. If you decide to opt for a tailor-made
wedding package, then you will be able to choose the elements
such as drink, flowers and entertainment yourself, and you may
find you can source cheaper alcohol and food elsewhere.
Make sure that you choose a venue where you can relax and enjoy
your wedding. Your special day is likely to pass by in a flash,
so make sure you pick a location that's truly memorable and
perfect for the wedding you want
· Is the venue licensed
· What may be the hidden costs
· Do you have a written contract and is there a cancellation
& refund policy
· Do you think you will get on with the staff
· Is the venue suitable for the time of year