Now, you’ve made it this far in the wedding planning process. Congrats! This is where planning can either go really smoothly or continue to be stressful.
Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for making it this far into your wedding planning and know that I am here to help take away some of your stress.
Thus far, you have created a clear vision, nailed down your budget and have a close to perfect guest list. Now comes the time to make decisions and move on your venue and/or venues if you want a separate ceremony and reception. Like your vision, your venue will be a special place for you and your spouse.
I know I have had many issues with the typical wedding venues because I felt like it wasn’t going to be special to me. I know that I hold a value of wanting where I say my vows and my “I do’s” to be in a place where I can visit without going to another wedding to do so.
Deciding on your venue will be one of the tougher choices, and it requires a lot of thought and shouldn’t be rushed into. You will want to check in with your budget because the venue and what it includes is probably going to be one of the higher ticket items you have to deal with.
Research, research, research
This is going to be key for nailing down your venue. Start by looking online. I’ve started writing posts about my favourite venues in Hertfordshire as well! (self-promotion, I know).
Then move into compiling a list or a spreadsheet of your favourite places. You and your fiancé can do this together, or you can do it separately. If done separately, come together with your research and see what overlaps and what doesn’t.
From there, whittle the list down to a top 10 places that you would love to get married. Chances are, your date might not be available at all of them, so depending on the date or dates that you chose earlier, its time to take them to the venues and see what’s available. Depending on that outcome, it’s time to decide if you are flexible or if the date doesn’t budge and the venue changes.
This is where having multiple “favourites” come in handy because if one date isn’t open, it may be elsewhere.
Now that you have your dates in mind and your top venue picks, it’s time to go out and see them in person. Luckily, many venues will host open days (ok, pre-covid at least) where vendors will come out, and they will have setups for the ceremony space, reception space, and you can tour the groom and bridal suites.
It is great to see them set up because you can get a sense of what the venue provides and where you need to hire vendors. So take advantage of these opportunities. And if the open days are a little overwhelming, which they can very easily be, speak with the coordinator to set up a private walkthrough. They are usually very accommodating.
All-Inclusive or Nah?
Another major thing to consider when venue shopping is how inclusive are the options. Depending on the packages they offer, the prices will be budget-friendly and others may not. Some venues will have packages that include literally everything, covering entertainment, capture, catering, and hire. The inclusive options may become partially inclusive or even down to a la carte.