Wow, you've got engaged, everyone is so happy for you and you have that lovely, glow! But what next!!?? Most people will set the date and get the venue booked, but where do you start!! When we were looking for our venue, we spent hours (and hours!!) online looking for that perfect place. So, here is a little blog about how we did it and some things to consider when choosing your dream venue.
We started by looking at a location. As we had family and friends in Worcestershire, Sussex and London we decided that we would love a little mini break with our guests somewhere different. We thought either way someone had to do the travelling so we made it a little destination wedding!! We thought somewhere around Dorset would be perfect as this meant it was approximately two hours travelling for everyone. But then where!! So many beautiful places to choose from and so many options!
We had 40 guests at our wedding so needed somewhere that catered for small weddings. We also wanted a midday ceremony so we could have the whole day with our family and friends but needed somewhere that would keep everyone entertained. We searched and eventually found the Larmer Tree Gardens, an amazing venue that offered mid week small wedding options, perfect! It had plenty of space outdoors to spend a sunny afternoon, lawn games and so much more.
Being a photographer myself I wanted somewhere where I knew we would get amazing photos and have those beautiful backgrounds. Also somewhere that would ensure we would get lots of mingling shots of our guests enjoying the day. Again the venue was perfect for this. We had also thought about getting married outside and again the venue offered this as an option, with an indoor location also available just in case!
We also wanted a very informal setting with regards to food. In our minds we wanted a midday ceremony, afternoon drinks, a picnic style lunch, lawn games and music followed by tea and cake. Gail (our amazing wedding planner) said no problem and again everything was looking perfect!
We then needed somewhere to stay and had to decide what to do in regards to the evening celebrations as we had to leave the venue by 4.30pm. Through our venue we found The Museum Inn, a gorgeous little country pub in the middle of nowhere that had eight rooms. We then discovered that they also had an eight bedroomed cottage adjacent to the pub, a beautiful, detached thatched cottage with plenty of room. The plans were coming together and we had the idea to bring everyone back to the cottage for an informal garden party with evening food and cocktails! Everyone could stay either next door, in the cottage with us or at one of the other local B&B's, perfect!
With all these options in place we went to visit Gail at the venue and as we thought we absolutely fell in love with the place (and as she was so amazing and nice that sealed the deal!!) and booked then and there! All deposits were paid for the venue, registrar and accommodation and we had 11 months to sort out the wedding!! We had our day kind of planned out and everything was looking great!
So, when you guys start looking at all these beautiful venues, here is a little checklist that will hopefully help you decide on your perfect one!
- Location - Do you need something local, or are you looking at a mini break option?
- Is there lots of outdoor space for guests to mingle and places for you to get loads of beautiful images!
- Is it child friendly, if needed and will there be things for the guests to do, i.e. lawn games?
- Do you need a venue for a small wedding, medium sized or a large one? Some of the larger venues may be too much for a small, intimate gathering so make sure you have a good look. Or you can always have a tipi in the garden, if its big enough!!! :)
- Do you want an indoor or outdoor ceremony? Where can you have the ceremony? Or does it need to be near to the church?
- How will everyone get to and from your venues, how easy is this, where can they stay?
- Speak with the registrars before you book to make sure they are available for the right date and time
- Does it fit in with your budget, are there any hidden extras?
- Are they flexible on catering options? Will they fit in to suit your vision?
- Have a look at menu options and drinks packages. Drinks packages can really be cost effective rather than paying by the glass.
- How did you get on with the wedding planner? This is very important as they will hopefully look after you very well! Before the big day and on it too!
- Also ask what is included in the cost of the hire. Even little things like providing umbrellas for the guests, linen for the tables, what type of chairs will they use for the ceremony and reception, what extras do they offer? It will all help with your costings :)
Hopefully this little list will give you plenty of ideas!! Let me know if you have any other helpful tips and what made you choose your venue, I love hearing everyones stories!! I have included some images of our venue for you to enjoy :)
Have a look on my Pinterest page for some lovely images of some of the venues I have had the pleasure of working at. Check back next week too for another blog based on our wedding journey :)
Happy Planning to you all! Love Mel x