This is where everything begins.
Choosing your dream wedding venue is often one of the biggest decisions newly engaged couples have to make on their wedding planning journey.
Your potential wedding venue can affect every single part of your day.
Wedding venue hire shouldn’t be a rushed decision.
Just like viewing a new property, it’s easy to be over expectant and fall in love without knowing if the property will meet your needs.
Here are our top tips for choosing the perfect wedding venue for you!
1. Choose A Wedding Venue That Fits Your Vision
You might have absolutely no idea what you’re looking for but, most couples do begin their journey with at least a vague idea of how they want their wedding to look.
You might have always imagined an outdoor woodland wedding for example, or maybe you’re more aligned to partying the night away in a cool modern city warehouse. Whatever it is, you do you.
Whether you choose a local tipi wedding, an eco-friendly wedding, a castle wedding, or a destination wedding, get this in your head before you begin your wedding venue search.
This will help you eliminate venues that aren’t quite right from the get-go, allowing you to make a shortlist of those wedding venues that fit your theme.
2. Pick A Location That Works For Everyone
Choosing where in the world you actually get married is ultimately up to you, but you have to consider a few things before making that final decision on your wedding venue location.
Can all your desired guests get there easily enough? Is there somewhere for guests who have traveled a long way to stay? Is there an airport nearby if you are flying guests over?
And that’s just a few things to think about for your guests. You also need to consider your own suppliers and how the location of your wedding affects them.
Think about your overall guests experience when choosing a wedding venue location. A good way of judging your location is by thinking about where the majority of your guests will be traveling from.
3. Check If The Venue Has Any Live Music Restrictions
How important is live music to you on your wedding day? Had you dreamed of hiring an awesome wedding band to rock the night?
If so, you need to know well ahead of time if the venue has any restrictions in place that could affect your choice of wedding musicians.
Some wedding venues will have a ‘sound limiter’ installed which restricts the decibel limit in the room.
Whilst there are many sound limiter-friendly bands out there, it pays to know this information before you start trying to hire musicians.
Most wedding venues will be upfront and tell you about noise restrictions before you sign on the dotted line, but you should ask either way.
If having any kind of live music is important to you on your day, find out the following:
- Is there a sound limiter?
- If so, what decibel level is the sound limiter set to?
- If the sound limiter is tripped, what happens? (Some limiters cut power to the stage).
- Can I have live music outside?
- Can musicians be amplified outside?
This is a great start and it gives you enough information to start considering what kind of musicians and bands you can actually have.
4. Prioritize Availability
This one depends on if you have a desired wedding date in mind or not.
When looking at potential wedding venues, you need to prioritize those that have availability for you.
We see it all the time when couples are hiring wedding entertainment. They leave it too late to book and end up having to settle for less because their first choice wasn’t available.
The best wedding entertainers and musicians get booked up years in advance. The same goes for wedding venues, and it can be a tough pill to swallow if your dream venue isn’t available on your wedding date!
The best tip here is to be realistic about your date if you really want that dream venue.
The more flexible you are, the better. the possibilities are. You might have had your heart set on having a Saturday wedding in June, but have you thought about having your wedding in one of the other seasons?
Getting your ideal wedding venue is also one of the reasons to choose a weekday wedding over a weekend. Weekday weddings give you more choices of not just wedding venues but also wedding suppliers.
5. Visit Wedding Venues More Than Once
I know, we just said that wedding venues get booked up years in advance and that you shouldn’t hang around.
But, there are some parts of your wedding planning that you need to be sure about.
This tip is much easier if your wedding venue is local, but if you think you’ve found “the one”, it doesn’t hurt to go back one more time to make sure.
You’ll be way more clued up by this point and most importantly, you’ll have other wedding venues that you’ve visited to compare it to!
6. Be Mindful Of Your Budget
This is the biggest financial commitment you will make when it comes to wedding planning decisions.
Before pulling the trigger on and choosing a wedding venue, you need to be aware of your entire wedding budget and how much you can allocate to wedding venue hire.
Not having a budget at all is one of the biggest wedding budget mistakes couples make, and you’ll make your wedding planning much more difficult going forward if you make a budget faux pas this early on!
Be comfortable with how much your spending on your chosen wedding venue and make sure you have enough leftover to shape your big day just how you want it.
7. Know Your Guest Numbers
Different venues cater to different capacities and guest numbers.
Before you choose your wedding venue, or even start beginning your venue hunt, you need to have a good idea on how many guests you are intending on having.
You might end up wasting your time looking at small intimate venues, only to realise that all along you aren’t going to have enough space for guests coming along.
The size of your wedding is really important, and you should choose a venue that suits.
Many venues publish their capacity on their websites. This means you can start filtering out those that are too big or small before you spend your time visiting.
8. Be Clear On What's Included
There are loads of questions that you should be asking your wedding venue before booking.
Most of them boil down to what’s included, and what isn’t.
You don’t want any surprises down the line.
You might want a completely blank canvas of a venue so you can do your thing. Or maybe, you’d prefer it pre-styled.
Do the venue provide venue staff or is it hire only? Can you have exclusive hire of the venue? Are you allowed to bring in external suppliers or do you have to choose from the venue’s supplier list?
Understanding all this and having it crystal clear is key to making sure you make the right decision on your venue.
9. Look At Real Weddings From Your Dream Venue
Look at real wedding photography, videos, and real wedding blogs featuring potential venues on your shortlist.
You should also be looking at reviews and other media on the internet surrounding your venue.
This can give you a great idea of what the venue is really like on a wedding day, and allow you to visualize your own if you feel lost in all the excitement of wedding planning!
It can also help you find recommended suppliers who have provided their services at the venue before, making sourcing wedding suppliers a much easier task for your big day.