While pretty much every aspect of a wedding is optional, from wearing a suit instead of a dress to ditching the flowers to forgoing the wedding cake, there’s one thing you can’t skip: a venue. After all, you’ve got to have somewhere for your friends and family to gather and celebrate.
But finding the perfect venue isn’t easy. There are so many options to choose from, whether you’re looking for a stunning barn, an elegant ballroom, a cozy restaurant, or a quiet stretch of beach. So we asked a few wedding planners to share their top tips for finding your dream venue.
I thought about this when I am imagining my future wedding.
Choose A Venue That Aligns With Your Vision
This might seem obvious, but seek out venues that fit the aesthetic you have in mind. If you’re planning a modern wedding, look at art galleries, well-designed restaurant spaces, or warehouses.
On the flip side, a wedding incorporating more natural elements works well with outdoor venues such as parks, backyards, and ranches. Choosing a venue that fits in with (and enhances) your theme will enable your wedding to feel more connected to space.
Your Wedding Date
If you have your heart set on getting married on a particular date like an anniversary, you’ll need to choose a venue that’s available on that day. It really depends on what’s more important to you: the time or the place.
Remember that some venues are incredibly popular during the summer months and can get booked up years in advance. High summer is also peak wedding season so venues are often priced accordingly.
If you’re after some savings and are flexible about your dates, weddings on Sundays, weekdays or in the winter can offer a brilliant pay off.
Our Dine event managers can advise you of each venue’s peak and off-peak times, and which have late availability. Just let us know your preferred dates and we’ll do all we can to help you find the right time and place.
It’s traditional to get married in the bride’s hometown or where her parents live, but this is increasingly impractical for many couples. These days couples are more likely to choose a venue close to where they currently live or a destination that’s close to their hearts.
One of the key decisions you have is choosing a city or country. Both have their pros and cons: country weddings mean a good choice of venues and beautiful scenery for the photographs, but can be remote, inaccessible and have a lack of other amenities.
City weddings can be trendy and cultured, easy to organise and they give your guests the opportunity to turn your wedding into a mini-break.
And although your feelings about your venue are paramount, you’ll also need to consider whether its location is a reasonable travel distance for your friends and family.
If you have guests travelling from afar, is there plenty to make their trip worthwhile, like nice hotels and restaurants? For a remote countryside wedding, have you planned enough entertainment to keep everyone happy?
And as we mentioned before, we love sharing our expert knowledge on all things wedding, which is why we’ve compiled some handy area guides to our most popular locations: Leeds and York, which contain everything from wedding suppliers to restaurants and hotels.
Our Dine event managers are also full of useful answers on locations and facilities, so it’s definitely a good idea to pitch them any queries you have: they’re a goldmine of venue information!
Remember Your Budget
It’s more than just how much renting space will cost since venues with in-house catering (like hotels) will charge a price-per-plate. Décor and floral design will also drive the cost up.
Know how much your total budget is, as well as approximately what your design will cost to execute. If adding that on top of the cost of using the space blows your budget out of the water, you’ll either need to scale back your design or look at more affordable spaces.
Break down your overall budget by category, prioritizing more funds for vendors that are a higher priority. If you select your venue first, and then realize it’s more than you should have allocated, it’s an uphill battle to stay within your budget when you still have a dozen other people to hire.