FINDING YOUR DREAM WEDDING VENUE
Choosing a venue is one of the first steps in the wedding planning process, but also often the hardest choice to make. Your venue influences the vibe of your day, your wedding photos, your guests and all of the other wedding suppliers you will book towards it. It’s a pretty big decision for what will be the happiest day of your life!
Having got married myself earlier this year I’ve been through it already and experienced a few mistakes along the way. I wanted to share 5 things to consider when researching venues, with tips before making that final decision!
Location, Location, Location
A great starting point when researching venues is the location! Are you wanting somewhere local to you, family and friends, or are you happy to travel wherever the perfect wedding venue takes you? There are some incredible venues up and down the country, so just consider what best suits you.
Speaking of location, it’s also worth noting not all venues cater for the full wedding day. Where one venue may have a bridal suite, be licensed for a civil ceremony and have a perfect reception area, others may not.
Venue Type and Style
The look and feel of your day play a big part in the style of venue you choose. Weddings are ALL about the atmosphere, so what do you want yours to be? In a world of crazy and unique weddings, there is truly no limit to what brides and grooms can choose.
Throw a marquee up in a field with hay bales, garden games, and booze and you can have the most amazing, relaxed day. (Literally my favourite weddings!). Fancy yourself as a bit of a DIY queen? A cosy barn venue allowing the freedom to make it your own could be perfect for you. If industrial is more your style, how about an old mill or abandoned building?
Jump on Pinterest for some style inspiration and don’t hesitate to book viewings at lots of different venues. It’s important to get a feel for what you like (or don’t!). If you need recommendations of some amazing venues in Northamptonshire or elsewhere across the Midlands, just ask!
Before actually starting your wedding search, it’s worth sitting down to write an estimated number of guests you hope to have at your civil ceremony or blessing. Different venues have different capacities, so it’s no good falling in love with a Manor House venue with beautiful gardens to realise half the people you wanted there, won’t be able to come.
A top tip from my personal experience with guest numbers: when we were viewing venues, we found ‘the one’ but unfortunately, the ceremony rooms capacity was stated as 40. After a chat with the wedding coordinator and moving chairs around, it was agreed we could fit 50 to accommodate our family and friends, so we booked!
2 years later, just a few months before our day, we were informed the wedding coordinator had left… Yes, you’ve guessed it – the maximum is 40 and this number cannot now be changed. We didn’t have this discussion in writing, so just make sure whatever you agree with your venue is signed.
Your Wedding Photos
A big one for me was always having photography in the back of my mind when scouting venues! Your photographer is a real investment for your wedding day, so make the absolute most of it! Although my wedding packages are designed to be as affordable as possible, I still want my couples to get the most out of me when booking me for their day. Spending £1000 if most of your coverage time will be in a dark pub probably won’t be worth the investment. The same goes for venues that don’t allow photography, so be sure to check this too!
I offer a three-hour package for brides and grooms who feel a shorter length of coverage may suit them and their day more! I love this package as it allows you to still have amazing photos from the key parts of your day. You can view this package, as well as my full day packages here!
If your venue has a bright ceremony room with plenty of natural light coming through, you will obviously notice a difference in the photos against another venue with darker walls, patterned carpets, and limited light. The same goes for the outside space at your venue, is it a carpark with no local outdoor spaces to make use of, or is it surrounded by greenery or cool industrial buildings providing the perfect backdrop for your couple and group photos? Think about what your wedding day will look like in photos. After all, they are one of the very few things left after your special day.
Something you may not think about when viewing venues is supplier restrictions! Some featured venues will have a great relationship with very specific wedding suppliers, but therefore not allow you to choose your own. I also had this when I got married, whereby my venue only allowed one specific firework supplier. They were way out of our budget, so it’s something we didn’t end up having for our day.
Do you have to use the venue’s recommended suppliers and if so, how much are they? Do you like the service they offer? Compulsory suppliers take away a little bit of freedom you may have hoped for when planning your day. Before deciding, ensure you are aware of who you have to book and if you like them too!
Choosing your wedding venue is such a fun part of the planning process, so enjoy it! Shop around, find what you both love as a couple and your dream day will soon come together. As mentioned, if you need recommendations of some amazing venues in Northamptonshire or elsewhere across the Midlands, just ask!
Whether you are yet to book your venue or come back to this post once booked, I’d LOVE to hear about your plans. I’m a wedding photographer based in Northamptonshire with a natural, relaxed and documentary style. If you think I may be the photographer for you – just get in touch!