I looked at her blankly. All the wedding magazines suggested that picking a venue (and a date) was the best first step, but I had no idea – I hadn’t thought about practicalities at all. Did we want to get married in my home town? In Cornwall, where we’d got engaged and had so many happy times? In London, where we’d lived for years? Or somewhere else entirely? Did I want to get married in a manor house, in a barn, on a beach?! The more I dipped my toe into the wedding-venue-minefield, the more baffled I became – there’s so much to choose from!
A few weeks down the line, I’ve made my decision and I couldn’t be happier. Now, some newly engaged brides might be completely clear on where they want to get married – maybe you’ve known since you were six and went for a walk round a castle, for example – but if, like me, you’re a bit bewildered, here are some tips that might help you move forwards!
Step 1 - Size
First and foremost – how big do you want your wedding to be? Drawing up a (rough) guest list really helped me to narrow down the options in my mind. If you’ve got 20 people, you could easily take them all to the Maldives. If you’ve got 200, that might be a bit less realistic! Equally, if you’ve got lots of hangers on and you want to cut some of the fat, moving your wedding somewhere a bit more remote could prevent some of them from coming!
Step 2 - Geography
Next, think about geographical location. A wedding abroad can be beautiful and means you can better guarantee the weather (always an issue in England, no matter what date you select), but obviously you run the risk of having fewer people. And would your parents be a little upset? Although everyone will tell you ‘a wedding is all about what you want,’ I personally wanted my wedding to be what my parents wanted too. They weren’t happy about the idea of me getting married in Cornwall, and as I was really unsure myself, this made me decide it wasn’t right.
Okay, so you’ve narrowed it down to maybe a county (or at least a country) – what next?!
Step 3 - Style
Rather than spending hours thinking ‘barn or mansion? Barn or mansion?’ focus on the kind of wedding you want. Are you going for a glamorous, footballer’s wives type affair? You want a castle or a mansion with a winding driveway. Boho chic wedding with cocktails served in mason jars? Barn. Cheap and cheerful and involving picnic rugs? Park. Traditional with people there to do everything for you? Hotel. You see?!
(Obviously, be realistic. You can’t get married on a beach in Hertfordshire. But I knew I wanted a rustic, relaxed feel, so I decided to start looking at barns. It helps to narrow it down).
Step 4 – Internet It
Now, GOOGLE. ‘Wedding venues in Hertfordshire’ is terrifying and brings up 100,00000 results, but ‘Wedding venue barn near Hertford’ is manageable. You can then make a short list!
Step 5 - Go, visit!
Finally – go and see your shortlist! I’m going to put up a post later this week on how to behave when viewing a venue, but this really helps. You might find it actually puts you back to step 3, if you realise maybe a wedding on a football pitch sounded nice but the reality doesn’t quite live up to the dream. Also, it helps you refine your choices. I thought I wanted a really rustic barn, but found that actually, I needed something more modern so that it would be practical. Looking at photographs online is not a substitute for seeing the real thing!
There’s nothing like the relief of having your venue all booked up and knowing you’re happy with your decision. I really hope these (maybe simple) steps help you to have the best day of your life!
All photographs taken from Pinterest - if you would like photo credit please ask!