Wedding Venues

Some considerations for picture perfect castles, historic homes and landscaped gardens

Your wedding photographs will last forever so why wouldn’t you choose a picture-perfect wedding venue to provide you with wonderful backdrops for your wedding photos?

Beautiful castles and historic homes with landscaped gardens make for amazing photography. These types of properties can also provide fantastic indoor opportunities such as sweeping staircases or large ornate windows should the weather prove to be unfavourable on the day.

Remember that this is your ‘ONE’ day and you want it to be just perfect! Choose the venue you want, the florist, DJ and photographer that you’ve set your heat on and don’t be persuaded into using wedding venues that insist you use their ‘approved’ suppliers.

Some bundle deals are not as good as they first appear (more on this below). Choose a venue where the staff are experienced and professional and willing to adapt to your needs as this will be a major factor in how smoothly your day runs.

Advice - Wedding venues

In summary here are a few questions to ask yourself

SIZE – Will your venue hold all your guests for your ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception?

LOCATION – Is it near where you live, and not too far from where you want to hold your ceremony if you’re getting married elsewhere?

CEREMONY ROOM – If you’re marrying in your venue, check that you like the ceremony space on offer.

LICENCE – Make sure there’s a licence so you can have your ceremony on the premises.
Availability – Check the venues available for the dates you have in mind so you aren’t disappointed!

PACKAGES – Check what packages they have on offer, and whether they fit with your budget?

SUPPLIERS – Do you have to use their chosen suppliers, or do you have some flexibility?

DECORATION – How much are you allowed to do to the venue to put your own stamp on it?

CORKAGE – Check if you’re going to end up paying a lot if you want to supply your own wine?

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES – Take a look around the venues and grounds to check there are lots of lovely spots for pictures!


Here’s more detail and important information to consider when choosing your wedding venue

UNUSUAL / POPULAR VENUES – Many couples are looking for something a bit different – unusual and popular wedding venues do get booked up quickly so must be chosen well in advance. It’s not uncommon for some venues to be booked more than 2 years in advance! If this is the case then you need to double check the price that you will be paying as this can change from one year to the next. The facilities and infrastructure must be carefully checked; it is important that style is not favoured over the services that will be provided.

LOCATION – The location of the reception venue is important; it must be fairly close to the wedding ceremony venue or church. People can often get lost if the journey is too long or held up in traffic on busy days, especially on bank holidays. Delayed guests will have an impact on the rest of your day and no one likes to delay the wedding breakfast or miss out on the beautiful photographs.

SUPPLIERS – Some venues come with suppliers or in-house facilities that they state ‘must’ be used, whilst other venues allow for external suppliers to be brought in. Obviously this is your day and you may already have your own selection of suppliers that you know will be perfect for your day. You should have the right to use them so ensure from the outset that you have the flexibility of using who you want. Be cautious of what may first appear to be great all-encompassing deals as typically these suppliers will just offer the basics to help keep the price down and then inflate their prices for additional items to make up for the initial loss once your signed up. Typically corners will have been cut in quality, service and products all designed to save money. This could end in heartbreak for you knowing that you can’t have exactly what you want without having to pay a premium.

PARKING – Sufficient parking for wedding guests and suppliers must be provided. It is a good idea to find out whether non-resident guests are able to leave their cars at the venue overnight. This is a useful facility for guests who have a few drinks and are happy to pick up their vehicles the following day.

AMENITIES – There must be plenty of lavatories (typically allow for one per 40 guests) of a decent standard and accessible to the elderly and disabled. It is advisable to request a separate dressing area with facilities for the bride, mother of the bride and chief bridesmaid, if they are non-residents; the bride can then touch up her make-up in private and avoid queuing.

CHILDREN – Some venues will provide an extra room for children. This can be an area for them to have a rest, and may even provide supervised entertainment such as a computer games or a television.

HOTEL WEDDINGS – Wedding packages at hotels will often include an allocation of rooms or special rates for guests. The bride and groom should read through the details carefully to ensure that they are not out of pocket if hotel rooms are not taken. They should also check how many nights the wedding package stipulates – some deals, usually ones for exclusive hire, require two nights’ accommodation which may be too much to ask of the average wedding guest if they are paying for it themselves. SIZE Ensure that there is enough room for your guests to feel comfortable and not too crammed in. Ideally, there should be separate areas for drinks, dining and post-meal entertainment. Some venues offer a ‘Turn-Around’ service so it’s important to find out where your guests will be going during this time.

HISTORICAL PROPERTIES – Historical properties, although they are frequently subject to restrictions, are popular choices for both ceremonies and receptions. Often, they are large enough to host the whole day and can accommodate the bride and groom, wedding party and guests overnight. You just need to ensure if there are any restrictions or areas that are off limits as these can be owner occupied with their own private residential areas.

THE WEATHER FACTOR – The weather can be a big factor, especially if you’re planning to have part or all of your wedding outdoors. Celebrating your wedding day under sunny skies is fantastic, but consideration also needs to be given to the differences in weather that we see from year to year. A canopy or tables with umbrellas are essential for screening from the sun, especially in the height of summer. A good tip is to ask each facility manager about the sun’s direction and typical intensity with respect to the time of day and month that your wedding will take place. Guests will be uncomfortable if left in the sun too long. When the weather is less reliable and may turn cold or wet, prepare a contingency plan. It’s a good idea to have access to an inside space or marquee where your wedding day can comfortably continue.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS – Some venues can have strict rules and regulations. If most of your guests smoke then pick a location that doesn’t restrict smoking and if alcohol is going to be consumed, make sure it’s allowed and find out if bar service needs to be licensed if you are providing this yourself. If dancing and a big band are critical, then limit yourself to those locations that can accommodate them and the accompanying noise levels. Do you have children, seniors or disabled guests, vegetarians or folks who want kosher food on your list? If so, you need to plan for them, too. It’s essential that you identify the special factors that are important for your wedding day before you sign a contract with any venue or supplier.

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