Finding the perfect venue for your big day can be a tough decision with so much choice available but the decision will make a big impact on the day itself so it is important to get it right. Having struggled previously myself to find a venue for my own wedding, here's some of my top tips for picking a venue.
Before worrying about a venue, draw up a preliminary guestlist because this will affect your venue choice. If you decide to have a small, intimate wedding then picking a venue with large, sweeping rooms is going to seem empty, whereas a small venue will quickly become crowded with a big guestlist. Don't worry if the initial guestlist isn't exact, it's more to give you a rough estimate of numbers so that when you start looking at venues, you'll know that if they say a room holds 50 and your list has 80 people on it, it's probably not the right venue for you.
Of course, if you seriously fall in love with a particular venue, you may want to adjust your guestlist to accommodate it anyway!
Check the Budget
When coming up with your initial guestlist, it's a good idea to decide on an overall budget at the same time as this will help narrow down your choices. Be aware that a lot of venues will charge an expensive venue hire fee, with all your food and drink charges being added on top of that so consider what you can and can't afford before you set your heart on the grandest stately home you can find. However, a lot of venues offer set packages too, with a flat fee that will include everything for a set amount of day and evening guests but keep in mind that these packages often come with limitations in choice or specific suppliers that have to be used so you may not be able to inject quite as much of your personality into a package wedding like that.
Once you've figured out the basics which will narrow down your choice, you need to find some options! Search Google for wedding venues in the area but be prepared to extend your search area because you never know where that amazing venue might be hiding. Check out local wedding magazines or visit local vendors such as dress shops as they always have a selection of flyers for all types of wedding suppliers. Visit local wedding fairs too as venues will have stands particularly at the large and regional fairs and even ask friends and family for suggestions!
With my own wedding, we looked for ages without finding a venue until my mum suggested checking out a place that she drives past on her way to our veterinary practice. As soon as we pulled up, we fell in love with the place instantly so it just goes to show that you never know where you might find that perfect place!
Follow Your Heart
This is perhaps the most important aspect of all in choosing a venue. Arrange a visit to chat to the owner or wedding co-ordinator and have a look around. How do you feel? If you're unsure, ask yourself what you're not sure about and give yourself some time away to think about it. Perhaps you're visiting two venues which tick all the boxes but can't decide which one to go with. The answer is follow your heart. How do you feel when you're there? Do you instantly love it and can easily picture yourself getting married there or holding your reception there? If so, it's a winner!