How to shortlist wedding venues
Choosing your wedding venue is a crucial first-step in your wedding planning. Until you have your reception venue booked, it is difficult to set a date for your wedding, to finalise your guests list or to get an idea of what your theme may be.
The first stage in selecting your final wedding venue is creating a shortlist of potential venues that you can visit. This list will be determined largely by three key factors: its location, its capacity, and its per-head cost.
Naturally, there may also be other reasons that are unique to your needs, so factor those in before creating your reception venue shortlist.
Location, location, location
Some couples immediately know the area in which they wish to get married, but for others it takes a little more thought.
If both families along with most of your friends live in a certain place, it makes sense to choose a nearby venue. If your families live far apart, it is tradition to choose a venue near the bride’s family, but not all couples stick to this custom and, to be fair, a venue located somewhere half-way between where the families live makes much more sense
If you have friends and family scattered all over the place, you could make a list of your guests and their locations, and choose to marry in an area that would be convenient for the majority of guests.
Of course, you could disregard all this and simply choose a venue located in an area just because it has special significance for the two of you. Perhaps you met there, or had your first holiday together there Once you have determined the area in which you wish to get married, make a list of all the possible wedding venues in that area by visiting our directory.
The size of your guest list
Making a rough guest list before you start looking for the perfect wedding venue is a sensible idea.
You don’t want to fall in love with a small and intimate venue only to find their maximum capacity is 100 people – and your guest list is currently sitting at 300.
You can always amend your guest list a little according to the venue you choose, but it is wise to have your ideal number of guests in mind before drawing up your shortlist.
Cross off any venues that have a maximum capacity significantly less than your ideal number.
The cost of your wedding venue
There are always ways to reduce the cost of a your wedding reception, things like holding it out of the peak wedding season or on a weekday. Of course, you can also slash your guest list!
However, most venues have a fairly rigid price per guest in addition to room hire costs, so if that comes in way over your budget even on a Wednesday in July, you should scratch that venue off your shortlist.
It’s good to have dreams, but you don’t want to picture yourself at your ideal wedding venue if you already know you can’t afford it. But before you scratch it off, pick up the phone and chat with their wedding co-ordinator. You’d be surprised at how accommodating many of the wedding venues are and some of them can be very flexible. Let them know what your budget is and ask them if they can do anything for you.
The worst they can say is no!
Once you have arrived at a shortlist taking the above factors into account, order the brochures for the venues on your list, or give them a call to get some more information.
You and your fiance may have very specific views on what you want in a wedding venue, and some factors may be deal breakers for you.
Here are some of the other things you might want to find out about each venue before you finalise your shortlist:
* What style is the wedding venue If you’re holding a classic, contemporary wedding with an industrial theme, you probably don’t want to hire a bed and breakfast as your wedding venue.
* Does the wedding venue offer accommodation or have deals with nearby hotels If your venue is a little out of the way and guests are going to need to travel to get there, ask if the venue has any accommodation or if they have partnerships with nearby hotels or bed and breakfasts where weary guests can stay the night.
* Does the venue offer wedding packages or can you use your own suppliers While most venues will have their own suppliers for food and drink, as well as preferred suppliers beyond that, some venues will allow you to use suppliers of your own choice. If your heart is set on a certain caterer and your wedding venue won’t allow that, you’ll need to scratch them off your shortlist.
* Will you have exclusive use of the wedding venue Not everyone wants to share their wedding venue with other parties holding, well, other parties.
There are hundreds of brilliant wedding venues available and any one could do a fantastic job of helping you pull off your dream wedding reception, however, you have to choose just one and the only way to do that is to be brutal in shortlisting potential venues. It can be a difficult task, but it’s one that must be done. But, don’t worry, answer the questions above and your dream day will be all the more dreamy at the perfect wedding venue!