Prosecco & Petals
Wedding planning guide
Find the right wedding venue and planning the rest of your wedding will be a doddle. However, get it wrong, and you will end up feeling like a wedding coordinator, without the salary.
Scroll down for a step by step guide to kick-starting your venue search and critical factors to consider.
Searching for a wedding venue is the first activity to undertake once you have a timescale of when you want to marry. Everything else will depend on this, and newly engaged couples are often surprised at how competitive wedding dates at their venue of choice are.
It is recommended to start searching for wedding venues approximately 12-18 months ahead of when you would ideally like to get married. If you want a particular venue or a peak season wedding, it is wise to manage your expectations that timescales may need to be even longer.
The most effective way to start searching for venues is to use a specialist comparator tool, which will allow you to search by location and venue type. This will begin to give you an idea of options in your specific area.
Venues often have to pay to be included in comparative wedding search engines. Therefore, by using these tools alone, couples may miss out on smaller, lower-cost independent wedding venues.
Therefore, it is also worth running a geographical search online by typing in keywords into a locator map, for example, 'wedding venues in Somerset'. By searching with the map, you will return only wedding venues results and instantly get a list of places.
Alternatively, it can be worth contacting the local council of the county you want to get married in, and they will have up to date lists. By doing a little more research, you can often find cheaper, independent wedding venues that are willing to be more flexible.
We recommend that your venue offers the below facilities, unless you intend to plan a DIY wedding:
When looking at wedding venues online, expect to be wowed by the majoirty, but try to stay on track with what makes logistical sense for your specific wedding day. Below is a list of further considerations to make when researching venues:
Choose a wedding location that is accessible for all: Realistically, most couples will need to visit the venue and local suppliers between three and five times during the planning period. If your venue is remote, this can add stress and eat away at annual leave. It is also vital that any guests travelling by public transport will be able to get there. If the location is remote, putting on wedding guest transport could be a wise option.
Keep to a realistic budget for your wedding venue: It is recommended to go for an approximation of what you can afford right now. Goodwill gifts and savings made throughout the year can be used on other aspects of your day and honeymoon. When budgeting for a venue, it is a good idea to consider that on average a venue makes up approximately 60% of your total wedding spend (70% if including catering and entertainment).
Only consider wedding venues that will accommodate your estimated guest number. Some venues will have size restrictions or specific packages for different guest numbers. It is better to overestimate rather than underestimate.
There is wedding guest accommodation at your venue A lot of hotel venues will have enough bedrooms for all guests, and this can help to elongate the night for all. If your venue doesn't have accommodation, make sure there are accommodation options close by (within a 15 to 20-minute drive).
Whether you want in-house catering vs external catering: A significant proportion of wedding venues offer in-house catering, and this option can often be cost-effective. However, couples who have very distinctive tastes may want to have the opportunity of external catering. Therefore, it is vital to make sure the venues that you shortlist include your catering preference.
When researching venues, it is wise to create a wedding venue comparison list in Microsoft Excel so you can keep track of each venue's pros and cons. It is recommended to create a worksheet that contains you wish-list criteria and details on the logistics, such as; cost, location etc.