Mellerstain House, Scotland. Photography: www.paulraeburn.co.uk
So we have discussed how to select which venues to visit (How to Choose a Wedding Venue Part 1), but what questions should you ask the venue/ consider before making your decision?
1. How it makes you feel
Let’s be honest, regardless of the advice we give you here, you have to want to get married there. If you don’t warm to the venue, regardless of price or availability, the chances are you will always wish you had got married somewhere else. So if you are able to, pick somewhere you love.
2. The actual visit
It is a great idea to visit the venue at the time you plan to get married. Firstly it allows you to check how long the journey takes, and if you are planning your wedding a year in advance, it will allow you to view the venue in the same light as you will experience, on the actual day.
Sounds obvious but if you have your heart set on a particular date or even day, or month, ask early on for their availability to avoid any disappointment.
Some venues can hold more than one wedding per day. This can affect the feel of the day so it is worth asking if this could be a possibility, and how it could affect the running of your day.
At this point it is also useful to ask the venue if there are any other weddings scheduled for the day before, or after. This could affect the set-up time if you are planning on dressing the venue yourself, but equally if there are other weddings, there could be the option of saving money on props or decoration.
Firstly there is the bridal suite- is there one, and would you like to spend your first night there as a married couple?
Secondly, is there enough accommodation for your guests, is it affordable and, more importantly is it available? This is a great time to see if you can block book some of the rooms and to ask if they will offer a discount.
If there is not enough accommodation, or it is too expensive for the majority of the guests, ask the venue for alternatives that are near by.
Are there adequate facilities for your wedding party, considering elderly and, or disabled guests?
Is there enough parking and are guests able to leave their cars overnight?
When looking at a potential venue, think about the types of photos you would like and where they could be taken. Most couples would like their photographs to be taken outside, but if you are unlucky with the weather how would the photographs look if taken inside?
Checking with the venue, the catering packages available, and what is included, is imperative. For example, does the price include wine during the meal?, is a wine for the toasts included? is there the option to have the wedding cake as dessert? Can you bring your own wine and if so, what are the corkage costs?
If you have your heart set on a particular caterer, are you able to use them, and if you have your heart set on a BBQ or buffet style, are these options available?
Plus, don’t forget to have an idea of the number of people you plan to invite, so you can calculate the actual cost. £35 a head might not seem too much until you multiply by 100 guests!
Check what is included in the price, and what isn’t. Most venues will include table linen and tableware, but it is best to ask so that you don’t get any surprises.
Are there chair options, or if you see the room laid out with chair covers, are these included?
Candles- some venues do not allow them on the tables (mainly historic venues) but it is worth asking if this is something you are thinking of.
With some venues you have to use their in-house DJ which is something to check. If you are thinking of having a live band, is there enough space and is it allowed?
For me however, the most important question here is ‘what time can the party go on until?’.
10. Preferred Suppliers
Most venues have a list of suppliers that they recommend. This is often because they know the venue well, which can be an advantage when planning your wedding.
Do however be mindful that in some cases these suppliers may have paid to be on the list, so it is always a good idea to get more than one quote, and to check reviews.
11. Wedding Co-ordinator
A wedding co-ordinator will be your point of contact in the run up to the wedding, and be the person there on the day to set-up the venue and ensure everything runs smoothly.
More and more venues now offer this service as standard but it is worth asking who this would be, and their contact details. If there is not a co-ordinator you will need to decorate the venue yourself.
12. Before signing on the dotted line
- Visit the venue with your parents and/or your wedding planner to see the venue objectively (boring, I know!)
- Read through the contract to check there are no hidden extras
- Understand the payment schedule and make sure it can be met
- Go to the venue for dinner to check the food and the service of the staff
- Check the facilities are clean, and if you are planning on wearing a big dress, make sure you will fit into the bathroom cubicles!
- Check the price of the drinks at the bar, this is important whether you are offering a free bar or not!
If you have any additional suggestions, or you liked what you read, why not leave us a comment. We would love to hear what you think.
Handmade Weddings is all about gorgeous accessories and regular blogging about all the things to consider when planning your wedding. If you have a question about weddings, why not get in touch and we will do our best to feature on our blog.
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