Congratulations! You’re engaged, set your budget and have put together your guest list, now you are searching for your perfect wedding venue, which can be an extremely daunting task! With so many beautiful choices, which one is right for you? Words: Rachel Allen
Here, the experts from Stoneleigh Abbey offer six steps to aid you in your search for the perfect wedding venue…
Knowing your numbers
Putting together a rough guest list before viewing any venue is so important, whether it be an intimate occasion you’re planning or a large celebration, you need your venue to suit your capacity.
Church or Civil Ceremony
Do you have your heart set on a religious church ceremony or a civil ceremony? If the answer is a Civil Ceremony, check with your potential venues that they have a ceremony licence, which rooms are licensed and what the maximum capacity is for each room.
The most common question I am asked is “how do I book my Registrars?” Once you have contracted to a venue, decided on a civil ceremony and set your date, the next step is to give notice of marriage to your local registry office, this can be done from one year prior to your wedding day. After giving notice of marriage, you will be invited to an interview, there is a fee involved with this, however, the amount does vary so do take this into consideration when setting your budget. When booking your interview, do ask what information and documents you will need to take with you. The registrars will also need to know a little about your venue;
Name and Address of your venue
What room you will be using for your ceremony
After your interview you will be given the time for your ceremony (don’t forget to let your venue know) this will be the time your ceremony begins, so keep this in mind when sending your invites.
This is crucial when it comes to finding your venue. How do you envision your day? Does the venue have any limitations when it comes to décor, catering, entertainment and suppliers? For example, would you like a firework display during your evening reception? Would your venue allow this? if so, is there a preferred supplier? Have you got a certain type of catering in mind, is outside catering allowed? Are live bands allowed and is there a sound limiter?
Always ask questions during viewings and do not feel that any question is to embarrassing to ask, nine times out of ten the wedding Co Ordinator has been asked it before. It is a good idea to put together a list of questions to ask before viewings, for example, can you put dates on hold and is there a charge for this? How much is the deposit? Who will be your point of contact from now and on the day, if it’s not the person conducting your viewing, could you meet them, and can a payment schedule be put together for monthly payments?
After narrowing down your search to two or three venues, book a second viewing. This will give you chance to ask any forgotten questions and look at the incentives the venues have to offer. If you are yet to receive any quotes now is the perfect time to get some. If the venues have grounds and or gardens, have a walk round noting any areas that you like for photos as your wedding pictures will be what you look back on in years to come.
Found the one? Here are some of the things you need to ask your venue
Is glass wear, cutlery, crockery and linen included in the price of the venue?
Is there parking on site, is this exclusive to you and is there a charge?
Can cars be left onsite over night?
What time can the venue be accessed and what time does the evening reception need to finish by?
Can items be dropped off the day before (table plan, name cards, drinks)
Can items such as cards, presents, guest book etc be collected the following day?
And always read the contract between you and your venue carefully!