Your choice of wedding venue is one of the biggest and most important decisions you will have to make and so taking the time to research it and ask all the right questions will go a long way to ensuring a happy day.
Here is our guide, based on planning and hosting weddings with hundreds of couples, to choosing your dream wedding venue…
Where better to start than thinking about exactly what you want your big day to look like. Whether you have a vague idea on timing and location to a meticulously thought through colour scheme, this is the time to discuss it with your partner and agree what you want your big day to look like.
Here are just a few things for you to consider….
So now you have a vision of your big day, a great start, so now its time to overlay one of the practicalities….
It is worth saying that a budget doesn’t mean you have to curtail your ambitions. Instead it will help you deliver them at a price you can afford and push your venue/suppliers to help you find the best and most cost-effective solutions.
Although it is tempting to focus on a specific town it is worth extending your venue search beyond this. Venues within a town are easy to find and likely to be well used, looking beyond gives you a chance of finding something different and quite often cheaper!
You may already have an idea of when you would like to get married, it might be a special date you already have, or your wedding style or theme may dictate the time of year, but if you’ve no idea or preference and can be flexible, you may find that not only is your dream wedding venue available, your suppliers will have availability too!
Try to be flexible on your chosen wedding date as this will give you a greater choice of venues and suppliers… and more choice means better prices.
If you have a specific date in mind, particularly during the summer months, it’s not unusual for bookings to be made 12 to 24 months in advance of the proposed date to guarantee a venue. However, if you are more flexible on dates and venue, and can wait until 8 months or less you can find some excellent deals that could make big savings.
In addition to date flexibility, there are other budget saving ‘wedding date’ measures including:
We have some great offers available for weekday weddings at Easton Grange (Monday to Wednesday), and chances are, your suppliers won’t be as booked up during the week as well, so may be able to offer you reduced rates on services.
Once you’ve decided on your date, the fun can begin! So where do you start?
Ugh, don’t panic, this is more interesting than it sounds.
Your research should provide you with lots of options that you ideally need to get down to a more manageable shortlist.
When looking at the venues (websites, brochures etc) give some thought on how they match your dream wedding list. Consider all the aspects of your day; from decorating the venue, where you will get ready, where you will say I do, the food you will eat, your evening celebrations and your first night as a married couple.
Put together a checklist of initial venue criteria based around your ‘dream wedding’ criteria you did earlier. Use this as a guide to compare the venues and get to your short list.
Research is great, but there is nothing like going to see the place for yourself. It’s time to contact the venue organisers and set up some visits…. the emphasis being on ‘visits’ plural. While you may well fall in love with the first place you see, it’s important to see more than one so that you are able to compare and see what a range of venues can offer – they will all have strengths and weaknesses.
First impressions are important, but once you have taken these in you need to really evaluate the venue against your dream wedding… from the must-haves to the practicalities. Here is our quick guide to what you should be thinking about.
Book a venue like Easton Grange so that your guests don’t have to worry about travelling from one venue to another in bad weather. It also means you don’t have to book transport to take you to the church and onto your venue!
Take lots of photos of all the venues and make some notes about the things you like and don’t like while there. It will help you evaluate them when you get home.
In years to come you will be looking back on the images of your big day and so give some consideration to how well the venue will be as a backdrop your special moment. From enchanting ceremony pictures to romantic countryside locations
From open countryside and dramatic buildings to ‘Love Benches’ and footbridges, look for things that create the perfect backdrops for your couples shots!
It’s important to not only love the venue itself, but also the location and the team on hand – after all, they will be working with you to make your wedding plans a reality! We recommend asking them lots of questions to get to know them and get a feel for how they work. Here are some questions to get you started:
Food is an important part of your big day and therefore it’s another key component of how you choose your wedding venue.
Venues can handle food in different ways from managing it in-house with their own team to using external caterers. However it is managed you need to feel confident that they can deliver to the quality and budget you wish.
Sit down with the chef to design a food menu for your day… personalises the catering and enables you to manage your budget.
To compare your different venues you will need to establish what things are included and what isn’t. So with your budget clearly in mind, make sure you understand all the costs of hosting the wedding at the venue, from rooms and catering to lighting and sound systems.
Initial wedding quotes are likely to include a range of assumptions about what you want and may include things you don’t want. So don’t be discouraged, go through the quote step by step and make sure it reflects what you want. And, don’t be afraid to give honest feedback to the venue! The more you tell them about what you want and your budget, the more they can tailor a wedding package and price for you.
Changing Champagne for the popular Prosecco is just one way to reduce the costs of your wedding package.
You have researched the options, visited the venues, tasted the food… now you’re informed enough to make the right decision for you and your big day. So that just leaves you to formalise everything…. get your date confirmed with the venue and be aware that it may not be confirmed until you have signed a contract and paid a deposit.
Easton Grange is an exclusive use luxury barn wedding venue situated in the Suffolk countryside. On one fully connected site you can get ready, have a civil wedding ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast, party the night away and stay in our exclusive accommodation.
Check out what people who got married at Easton Grange say… our testimonials