Are you planning on getting married in 2016 or 2017? Have you booked your wedding venue yet? As one of the most expensive and important things you will have to organise for your wedding, your choice of venue is perhaps THE most important decision you and your partner will have to make together in the lead up to the wedding itself.  And often there are many little things we do not consider – or even forget to factor into the equation until the last moment!


But don’t worry! Courtesy of our fab guest blogger, Kate Robinson, here at Words To Glow we have done all the hard work for you! Read on and check out our Essential Top 19 Tips to consider and help make your wedding planning arrangements go like clockwork.


19 Top Tips for Choosing your Wedding Venue

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  1. Civil Ceremony or Traditional Church Wedding:

This should be the first thing you and your partner think about in the run up to planning your wedding. Traditional weddings are best avoided unless you are religious or have a particular upbringing. As an alternative, many people these days opt for a civil ceremony by a trained professional rather than a priest. If you do opt for a church wedding, be aware you may have to attend church for several weeks to meet the vicar or priest and take religious instruction prior to your marriage banns being read out.


It is also important to consider booking a reception venue no more than 25 mins from the church for the comfort of your guests.


  1. Decide On A Budget And Stick To It:


This is by far one of the most important things for you to consider when planning your wedding venue. By establishing your venue budget, you can quickly short list potential venues that fit your budget and see if they cater to your ‘must have’ needs.


  1. Decide On How Many Guests You Will Be Having And Choose A Fitting Sized Venue:


You need to decide how many guests you want and more importantly can afford to invite before choosing your wedding venue. Do you want the same people who are at the reception to be at the ceremony? Do you want children present? The types of guests, ages and number should all be considered and finalised before you go hunting.


If you have elderly guests or any disabled members of the party you will need to make sure your venue has disabled access and not a lot of stairs. Don’t forget about guests travelling to your wedding.  If you want to avoid incurring expensive taxi charges and hotel bills for them or coach costs for you, look for a wedding venue near to where the majority of your guests live or can get cheap accommodation.


  1. Is It Possible To Have Both The Ceremony And The Reception In The Same Place?


It is possible to have a venue to hold both the ceremony and reception which could be cheaper than renting two separate places, however be aware that this package deal could also be considerably more expensive depending on how specific your requests are. Of course, the allure of the package deal is inviting to reduce the stress involved in planning your wedding.


Bear in mind – venues need to have licences in order to host legally-binding ceremonies, so if you choose to hold the ceremony and reception at the same place this could reduce the suitable venues available to you.


  1. Will there be onsite accommodation for our guests?


A very important consideration if you’re bringing in guests from out of town, however you could get a bit of a discount at your local B&B for filling their rooms, so be sure to shop around and don’t get star struck by fancy boudoir rooms that will ramp up the cost.


  1. Is There Enough Natural Light For Your Photographer?


You want to make things as easy for your photographer as possible to make them worth the money. If your venue is dark (which many are) you may need to consider the hire of extra lighting to make sure they are able to capture those precious moments.


Ambient lighting is now available in many different forms and is a great way to add warmth and also a little bit of fun and added drama to the occasion. Traditional up lighters and fairy lights can create a warm glow and highlight key aspects of your room. New forms of lighting include starlight dance floors, gobo lighting to project a couple’s initials in a monogram on a wall or dance floor and of course, large marquee letters which can be used to add a bit of glamour to the occasion and are a perfect backdrop for wedding photography.


  1. Is There Plenty Of Outdoor Space?


Traditionally, people like to meander during the reception and after the ceremony. It is the perfect time for people to grab a glass of champers, spread out and get talking – sometimes there are groups of people who have never met before and others who have not seen each other in years, so having the space to allow people to catch up with their social groups and form memories is important.


Don’t forget to consider the options available for outdoor photography as well – does the venue have a pretty little corner garden or maybe incredible views which can be used to best effect in your wedding photographs?


  1. Will There Be Enough Parking?


This may not be an issue if people are drinking and getting taxis, but it is always important to have the option. More often than not, someone will be designated driver from a group of guests and most traditional venues available for hire don’t have great parking. You want to be positive that your guests can get to the venue easily; both the ceremony and the reception.


Make sure the site is near a good car park, garage, or empty street where it’s legal to park. If parking is a problem, look for other ways to get everyone to the party such as a shuttle bus.


  1. Will There Be Other Events Taking Place At The Same Time As Yours?


The last thing you want is to be crammed between tightly packed bookings and rushed out afterwards. The day is yours and being in a line will only add to the pressure of getting everything done on time – however if you decide to hire the venue for the whole day you could face some holding fee charges.


Banquet halls and hotels often hold more than one affair at a time. If there’ll be other events going on simultaneously in rooms close to yours, you may hear their party or run into their guests. If this bothers you, try to schedule your wedding when there won’t be another one next door. If this is impossible, visit the venue on an event night and see how the sound carries and whether there are any problems.


  1. How Many Members Of Staff Will You Have To Help On The Day?


You want to have enough staff on hand to make sure your event runs smoothly. If a venue is low equipped or unprepared it will only make things more stressful and you are more likely to miss out on enjoying the experience by cleaning up after their mistakes. You need enough people on catering, bar and waiting on. Depending on the type of service you choose, there should always be someone in the background available to ask for help, whether that be a Frontline Desk Manager or a designated Events Coordinator.


  1. What Are The Bar Options Available To You?


It is good to know the situation you have for alcohol, there could be an open bar offer, bottles of wine per table and if there is only a bar on offer you want to make sure the price list isn’t extortionate.


  1. Are There Any Restrictions Or Bans In The Small Print?


Knowing the restrictions of your venue will allow you to decorate it appropriately. It will also prevent you from getting an unexpected and unwelcome charge at the end of the day.


  1. Consider The Time Of Year To Get Married Long And Hard:


The majority of weddings take place in spring and summer, to benefit from a higher chance of sunshine. However, most venues from hotels to marquees can be made suitable for winter weddings. Whatever time of year you choose, you will have to consider photography options and the scope of land you will have for guests to explore. And as always, no matter what you should always have a plan B against adverse weather conditions such as snow, mud and rain.


  1. What Is The Theme Of Your Wedding?


This is something of a growing popularity, making weddings more fashionable than a state of tradition. You probably have your own ideas for the theme of your wedding and will choose the venue accordingly, but the building should not affect your theme or hired out simply because of your theme – chances are very few people will notice the connection.


  1. Will There Be Enough Privacy At Your Wedding Venue?


Many people these days choose to have open and public weddings such as in a park or on a beach (even a football pitch) which is naturally open to the public, strangers and passers-by. You should be aware of nosy people stopping and starting and potentially even coming over to gate-crash the event.


  1. Is There Good Ambient Lighting?


Wherever you decide to book, visit the site at the same time of day that you’ve chosen for your wedding. Even if the space looks romantic by candlelight, you may be surprised by the sight of that old carpet during the day. You’ll also miss a chance to see how sunlight streaming through the windows completely transforms the room, if you only check it out in the evening.


  1. Is There A Good View?


What will your guests see when they walk into the room or outside? No matter where you choose, you want somewhere memorable, the building may not be, but the location could be beautiful – or vice versa, give your friends and family something to remember. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and you don’t even have to leave the country or travel many miles out to find it.


  1. Does The Venue Have Good Acoustics For Music And Speeches?


 If the place is too echoed, it will make the band, music, speeches and general chitter-chatter almost deafening. A tile or wood floor, for example, will amplify sounds, while a thick carpet will tend to muffle them. Check out the room’s sound quality during an event, and tailor your music to the acoustic conditions.


  1. Are There Ample Power Sockets and Outlets At The Venue?


It may not seem important to you right now, but in this day and age, people need power, and most stately homes struggle to keep up with the demand for electricity. Power sockets will charge phones, cameras, music players, aid entertainers and DJs. If there aren’t enough sockets you will need to consider extension cables, which can be unsightly and carry additional health and safety considerations.


Thanks Kate for your fab lowdown and great, easy to remember infographic checklist! Some fab tips for the many stressed out brides to be out there!


Caroline  x