Things to consider when choosing a venue...

1.  Religious or civil ceremony?

This might be the easiest of your decisions, most of us have an idea of what they want their wedding to be like and the actual service tends to be a defining part of this. Obviously, if you are religious or have a religious family then a church ceremony will be a must. But churches can often be popular due to their appearance in photographs and the traditionalism that comes with a ‘big white wedding’. A civil ceremony will be for you if you don’t have particularly strong religious beliefs, you’re trying to keep costs down or you like the idea of having your wedding all in one place. Either way, this is probably the easiest decision you have to make!

2. Where will we have photographs taken?

Your pictures will be the one thing you have left of your day to look back on when it is all over and you want them to look as good as they can so a good backdrop is essential. If you like the great outdoors and you want a lot of greenery and trees in your photographs then a venue like Wentworth Castle would be for you, with its extensive gardens and open fields as your backdrop. If you want a mix greenery and a traditional old building in your photographs then you will be looking at one of the many halls that are available; Walton Hall, Bagden Hall, Wortley Hall or Whitley Hall to name a few. Or maybe you just want some casual, informal shots; in which case The Bluebell Inn would be ideal as there is a private garden for your guests to mingle in, allowing your photographer to shoot your guests having fun.

3. Is there somewhere suitable if the weather is bad?

Traditional venues such tend to have multiple rooms that can be used in case of rain or heavy winds. There tends to be fireplaces, large windows and impressive staircases suitable for indoor photography. Bagden Hall and Walton Hall both have undercover areas near the entrances where small group shots or couple shots can be taken, even if the weather isn’t perfect. Your photographer won’t mind getting wet to ensure you get your perfect shots! Modern venues such as Brooklands Hotel and The Bluebell Inn tend to have large open spaces that are well lit to accommodate large indoor groups. Ask your photographer to see samples of indoor weddings, we’ve all had bad weather days and we can show you the perfect spots to choose from should you be unlucky enough to have less than perfect weather on your day.

4. Do I need transportation?

With a church ceremony you will need some way of getting from the place you’re getting ready to the church and then from the church to your reception. This could be yours or a family member’s car, or you could go for a vintage wedding car, a limousine, a horse and carriage or even a red double decker bus. The possibilities are now endless where weddings are concerned. Don’t Tell The Bride on BBC3 recently showed a groom looking at a ride along metal elephant for his bride!  With a civil ceremony you may need transportation if you get married at a registry office, or you may be all in one place at one of the venues listed above; in which case transportation is not a necessity. Although, photographs taken in and around official wedding transportation such as Daimlers, helicopters or limos can look lovely in your wedding album so it might be worth considering booking transportation even if you don’t necessarily need it.

5. What is the food like?

By the time you’ve gotten ready, had your ceremony, posed for all your photographs and greeted all your guests you will no doubt be famished so an important consideration is the wedding breakfast! The best way to decide if the food is for you is to browse through the sample menus your venue provides and wherever possible try some samples. And think about your guests too. If you have to choose a set menu then try and pick something that most of your guests will like. Chicken or beef are popular choices at the weddings we’ve attended. Soup, salad or Yorkshire puddings are safe options for your starter. And for dessert, anything with chocolate tends to be a good choice! Your venue will no doubt be able to create you a menu perfect for you and accommodate any dietary requirements you or your guests may have.

6. Do you need accommodation for guests?

If you have guests travelling a distance to get to your wedding you’ll need to think about where they will spend the night if they’re not travelling home the same day. Onsite accommodation, if your venue is a hotel, is handy as there is no travelling back and forth involved. If there’s nothing on site you’ll have to scout out hotels nearby and get the details of local taxi firms to hand. Chances are, you will also want to spend your wedding night in a bridal suite so booking one at your venue would mean that you only have to walk to your room at the end of the night and in the morning you can meet all your guests for breakfast. By having onsite accommodation you can extend your wedding day until at least midday the following day!

7. What will the room look like set up for our wedding?

With wedding venues, the function room may not always be set up for a wedding. Venues like The Bluebell Inn, Cedar Court or Tankersley Manor may also be used for conferences or meetings and so may look very different if you go visit midweek. Make sure you see the room set up at least once before you book to ensure you know what it will look like, or ask your photographer if they have photographs of an actual wedding in the same room. Chairs or tables may be different and the layout not what you were expecting. Chair covers and table decorations can completely transform your room so try not to pay much attention to how the room looks when it’s not set up for a wedding. And remember, wedding venue staff are experts in what they do and will work with you to create the wedding of your dreams!

Posted on 16th August 2011 in Wedding Help

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