10 Questions You Need to Ask Before Booking the Wedding Venue of Your Dreams
Finding the perfect wedding venue is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as part of your journey to married life.
A venue can make or break your wedding day, so taking your time and choosing exactly what’s right for you is crucial. From sticking to your budget right through to knowing when you have to leave, many elements come into play.
With all the hubbub that surrounds planning your wedding, there’s a chance you might want to pick the first place you fall in love with. But it pays to wait and research before you commit to something that turns out to be not all your first believed.
Here’s a list of 10 questions that you should ask before you finally say ‘I do’ to your wedding venue.
Can I actually afford it?
You’re researching venues and you come across what looks like the absolute dream. While it’s easy to get swept away by the perfection, this is the time to step away from the computer, put down the credit card for the deposit and ask, “is this within my budget?” Remember to check all the prices and consider the hidden costs. Things like VAT and hire of furniture or other extras can bump up the price exponentially.
If your heart is set on one venue that is a little out of your price range, it’s always worth checking with the company to see if there’s a way to get the price down. Could you get married at short notice? If so, you might be able to take advantage of a late availability package. Or maybe you would enjoy a winter wedding? Special offers are usually always available on what’s commonly considered the wedding “off-season”.
Is my chosen date available?
For some people, the date is at the same level of importance as the wedding itself! If that’s the case for you, then this will narrow down your venue options considerably. Many of the most popular venues have peak days booked years in advance, so if the date has to be exact make sure you check as early as possible to see if your place is available.
Weekends in summer are, on average, booked up extremely early, spring summer mid-week have more potential, whereas autumn/winter weddings are by far the easiest to book later.
How many people do I want to invite?
Your guest list is a big part of choosing your venue and it’s crucial to get a good idea of how many people are coming to your big day before you start considering the possibilities. Having this knowledge will help you narrow down your choices, as many venues have strict guest limits.
Similarly, you need to factor in whether your venue has places for your guests to stay if they are travelling from far away to attend your wedding. If the venue doesn’t have accommodation, check if they have a relationship with somewhere nearby where guest can stay or research local hotels and factor in people’s budgets.
Does the venue have preferred supplies?
Many venues will work with a set of preferred suppliers on a regular basis for things such as flowers, chair covers, decorations, and entertainment. Because of this, they may be able to give you preferential or special rates which could keep the cost of your wedding down and help you stay under budget.
This is something to consider when choosing a wedding venue, not only because of the financial side but also because it can make things easier for you to organise.
Are there any photographer limitations?
Of course, you’re going to want photos to remember your day. But depending on what kind of venue you are thinking of getting married in, there may be some restrictions on what you can photograph and where. Particularly if your dream venue is a historical attraction or is lived in by the owners.
Make sure you call your potential venue and ask them whether there are any limitations to what can be photographed and/or where.
When can I get into the venue?
When you can have access to the venue is an important thing to take into account. Some venues will allow you to come the night before or in the morning, especially if you are decorating the place yourself. Others might only be available for a few hours before a wedding, making it less likely you’ll be able to get everything ready if you’ve got a lot to do.
Consider how long you will need to get your decorations and everything else in place and then check with your chosen venues to see what time limitations there are and whether they will work for you.
When do we have to leave?
If your first chosen place is a busy wedding venue that has constant events on, it might be that you are asked to leave earlier than you’d like. The staff often have weddings scheduled the next day and so will need you to vacate so they can begin preparation for the next happy couple.
Consider whether you are happy with a strict checkout time before booking so that it doesn’t come as a shock later down the line.
Can I be creative with decorations?
You might have some amazing ideas for wedding decorations, some more fanciful than others. But before you get carried away, it’s important to check whether the venue has any restrictions in place for what you can put up in their function rooms and areas. Naked flames, Sellotape, pins, and Blu-tack are just a few items that are often banned at venues as they have a high possibility of causing damage.
What happens if it rains?
If you’re getting married in the UK there’s always the chance that you’ll get a spot of rain. It doesn’t matter whether you’re getting married in the middle of summer or winter! You may love the idea of getting married outside among the trees or near a sandy beach with the azure ocean in the background, but if you set your heart on it with no backup plan there’s going to be a lot of potential disappointment if you wake up on the morning of your big day and the rain clouds are forming.
If you want to get married outside then consider venues that offer an alternative that keeps you dry if your special day is a washout.
Can I bring my own alcohol?
If you would like to bring your own alcohol, make sure you check it’s possible before booking your venue! While most places will allow you to bring drinks for the table and toast, they will sometimes require you to pay for drinks at their bar or, conversely, put a charge on the price of bringing your own. Corkage charges vary from place to place, so double check all the details in advance so you can check this against your budget and aren’t surprised by secret charges.