It’s my birthday weekend so excuse me while I stuff myself with tea and cake while writing this. Grab a cuppa, a slice of cake or a biscuit, get yourself comfy on the sofa and join me for a read!

Lately on the blog we’ve been focusing on gorgeous venues in our area and what makes them so special. This week we want to help guide you in choosing your wedding venue. It should be one of the first things on your wedding checklist after creating your budget (so you know how much you can spend), planning your guest list (so you know how large you need your venue to be) and picking potential wedding dates (to ensure the most important people on your list can attend). Some of the points below may not have crossed your mind when considering venues…

Legal ceremony

For some people, they want their wedding day to be legal. Some people want a church wedding whereas some dream of having everything at one venue. If this is something that you want, then ensure you check with your venue that they hold a legal license for weddings.

In recent years we have seen an increase in couples choosing to have non-legal ceremonies (with a registry office visit before or after the wedding to make it official). A celebrant then joins you at the wedding instead to create a ceremony that is tailor made to reflect your personalities and own beliefs.

Creating Ceremony / Styling by Not Your Average I Do / Florals by Katherine Bly Flowers / Photography by Matt Ethan Photography

Style of the venue

Before you start looking at venues in your area think about what kind of wedding you want.

Do you want a festival wedding and therefore need to look for an appropriate plot of land to place a festival style tent and do they have additional space for all your guests to camp or glamp the night? Why not check out our Wedding Field

The Wedding Field / Tipi by Beautiful World Tents / Marquee and Tents by The Wedding Festival Company / Food by Gastro Catering / Photography by D & J Photography

Are you hoping to have a woodland ceremony in which case you need to look for a venue or plot with a beautiful woodland ceremony area? Just like the woodland area at our Wedding Field or the beautiful Chafford Park

Woodland ceremony area at the Not Your Average Wedding Field / Styling and Altar by Not Your Average I Do / Benches by Co-ordination Catering Hire / Florals by Katherine Bly Flowers / Photography by Sara Reeve Photography

Chafford Park Woodland Ceremony Area / Styling and Props by Not Your Average I Do / Florals by Katherine Bly Flowers / Photography by Matt Ethan Photography

If you want a rustic themed wedding, then perhaps a barn would suit you best – how about Sussex Barn.

 

Sussex Barn / Lighting by Not Your Average I Do () / Photography by Modern Vintage Weddings

If a traditionally British wedding is your idea of a perfect day then perhaps check out the abundance of beautiful country estates that you can hire for your day – how about Penton Park? P.S. Snow is not guaranteed!

Penton Park / Photography by SMP Weddings Photography

For a stripped back boho wedding you’ll want somewhere that exudes a chilled-out vibe we think The Yoghurt Rooms is the perfect venue for this.

Yoghurt Rooms / Styling by Not Your Average I Do

Capacity

It is important to pick your guest list before looking at wedding venues as it’s likely to impact the venue you choose. If you’re choosing to have a small number of guests for your wedding, you will want an intimate venue to match. If you’re having a full-blown party with all your friends and family, then you’ll want to ensure that the venue, marquee or tipi that you choose has the capacity for all your chosen guests to attend for the ceremony and/or the reception.

Price range

There’s no point looking at your dream venue if it doesn’t fit within your budget. Therefore, it is important to plan your budget before you start looking at venues as you don’t want to start married life in debt! Also, when looking around your venues, remember to ask the event manager for any additional extra prices that might crop up along the way so that you’re not caught out as the day gets closer.

Event management

Check with the venue whether they have a dedicated onsite manager for your wedding (and check whether this is included within the price they’re offering you). If it is a dry hire wedding venue or a DIY style wedding, you may want to consider hiring a freelance event manager for the day. They will ensure everything runs smoothly and gives a point of contact to suppliers so that they can liaise with them rather than interrupting you during important parts of your day. We love coordinating weddings at NYAID (in-between styling beautiful weddings!) so get in touch if this is something you need assistance with for your big day https://notyouraverageido.com/wedding-manager/.

Gote Barn / Styling, Props and Event Management by Not Your Average I Do

Accommodation

If you’re hoping for all or some of your wedding guests to stay on site, you might want to consider the accommodation options available at your chosen venue. Hotel weddings will often hold back rooms for guests for a certain period to allow them to book before the general public as well as offering a special wedding discount. Some sites will allow camping and glamping on site – just make sure they have toilets on offer otherwise you will need to hire these in!

Beneath the Canopy / Photography by D & J Photography

Frequency of weddings at the venue

Some venues (such as hotels) can hold more than one wedding on site a day. Some venues do two or 3 weddings a weekend, some once a week and some venues only allow 12 weddings a year. This is something you will want to discuss with your venue as it could impact your experience for your day and the days surrounding your wedding day as well as leading to additional costs.

Suppliers choice

You want to know that the suppliers you choose for your wedding day will be reliable. Something great about venue recommended suppliers is that you know they will be trustworthy as the venue are likely to have worked with them previously. However, some venues have set suppliers and don’t allow you to sway from their list which can restrict your options somewhat if you have your own creative ideas for your day.

Exclusive Use

Some people want to know that their venue is only going to be filled with their loved ones. Others have more of a ‘the-more-the-merrier’ approach and don’t mind hotel guests milling around in the background too. If you have the dream of an exclusive day venue, then make sure you check with your venue that this will be the case on your wedding day.

Chapel Barn / Styling, draping, lighting and props by Not Your Average I Do / Florals by Katherine Bly Flowers / Planned by Inspired by Susie Evans / Photography by Lauren Henson Photos

Midnight de-rig

This is something we see couples overlook all too often and often lead to additional costings that they hadn’t budgeted for. Some venues such as hotels, country clubs and venues that do multiple weddings in one week will have strict kick out times to ensure that the next couple’s suppliers are able to arrive to set up for the next wedding. With most weddings finishing at midnight this means your suppliers will be required to come in at midnight to derig and in order to pay for staff at this unsociable hour will lead to additional costs for the breakdown. If you have lots of suppliers, this can soon add up!

Chairs

Some venues already have tables and chairs onsite available for your wedding day. This can seem great at the beginning when you’re looking to keep costs low, but as the vision for your day takes shape this can create issues further down the line if you choose to hire external chairs in. Some venues will charge you to remove their chairs for the day on top of the cost of hiring chairs in this can add up to quite a sum!

Décor restrictions

You’ve scrolled through Pinterest night after night and you know exactly what you want your venue to look like. You then find a venue that fits the vision and you book. But you forgot to ask the venue manager if there are any décor restrictions and as you get closer to the big day, they tell you that you’re not allowed candles, you can’t insert any nails or touch the beams and suddenly your ideal day can’t be created. We recommend always asking venues what their décor restrictions are prior to booking.

De Vere Hotel / Styling and Props by Not Your Average I Do / Florals by Not Your Average Flowers

Confetti

Some venues won’t allow you to throw confetti. There are usually exceptions such a natural petal confetti and biodegradable confetti but it’s worth checking if you’re looking to achieve that traditional confetti aisle shot!

Corkage fee – BYOB

Some venues will insist that you use their alcohol stock, some will allow you to bring your own alcohol but will charge a corkage fee so this is worth checking as it can work out more expensive depending on their fee. If you’re supplying your own alcohol but charging guests, you need to ensure that an alcohol licence is obtained for resale of alcohol.

How to choose

We hope this has helped you think about some of the most forgotten points that you should ask before booking your venue!

Off to eat more birthday cake! Happy weekend!

Becky