You're engaged! ...Congratulations.
The first steps of wedding planning are now upon you...and to some, this can feel like an overwhelming experience, with a million questions unanswered .
You've probably spent some time thinking about the wedding you'd like to have, but this can only be confirmed once you've started looking at venues. The decision of whether a castle, barn, country house, village hall or even an empty field is the right one for you, is only decided once you walk into that space and feel an overwhelming sense of 'this is the one!'.
Firstly, check the basics!
Capacity - will the venue hold the number of guests I'm planning to invite?
Price - Does the cost of the venue fall within my budget?
Availability - Does the venue have availability for the month/year I'm planning to get married in?
Do I even love it? - Don't waste your time visiting venues that don't quite cut the mustard online.
Do all of these before you make the viewing appointment and you'll save yourselves a wasted journey.
So, you've done your research and have a shortlist of venues to visit. I would recommend seeing no more than three in a single day - and the objective is to achieve a clear perception of each venue with the facts & figures that go with it. Too much information can lead to confusion!
We've compiled a list of 6 good questions to ask your wedding venue...
1. Does the venue insist I use their list of preferred suppliers?
All venues are different and some will insist that you choose from their list of every type of supplier, some will insist using only their approved catering suppliers and a few will allow you the freedom to choose whoever you want, for everything! Only you can decide what's important, so if you have a caterer in mind who'll provide the perfect canape - just the way you like it, then you'll need to check that your venue will allow this.
But why do they insist I should use their suppliers?
Here at the Hall, we allow couples the freedom to choose their own suppliers for every aspect of their wedding...except for catering and this is why;
There are good caterers and there are not-so-good caterers. We believe that food is a really important and integral part of the day and to get it wrong - either the food tastes awful or the service is really poor - can have a bad impact on your perfectly planned wedding day. We want to do everything we can to avoid this and that's why we go to great lengths to ensure that our list of approved caterers will do nothing short of providing you with exceptional food and an amazing service on your wedding day. Naturally, guests will perceive that the venue has provided the food, which could lead to developing a bad reputation for us. With such a close association, it's not something we're willing to risk.
2. Does the venue allow access for me to decorate the day before?
With the increase in DIY weddings, this is something you'll need to check, if you've got big plans to decorate the venue which will require more than a couple of hours on the morning of the wedding. Be realistic with your timings on the day and how much you're able to achieve. If you feel that having time at the venue the day before would help alleviate the stress, then it's a question you'll need to ask. Don't assume it's a given!
At Glemham Hall, we're increasingly being asked for the option of a two-day booking, therefore ensuring couples have all the time they need to put the finishing touches in place! If this is something you'd like to know more about, please do get in touch as we offer a special rate for two-day bookings!
3. Does the venue have a 'Plan B'?
Depending on the time of year you're getting married, you may be hoping for a dazzling day of sunshine, but on the day, what if that's not the case?
Let's face it. This is Great Britain. Famously known for it's unpredictable weather, you'll need to consider an indoor option if the weather turns sour. Ask your venue what the Plan B is for such occasions...and then ask yourself if you're happy with those options presented to you!
4. Does the venue offer exclusive use?
This is possibly one question that could be added to your checklist before you begin arranging viewing appointments, depending on its importance to you.
A venue offering exclusive use means that you and your guests will be the only people using the venue on your wedding day. It largely depends on the type of venue you're looking for, for example if you're considering a hotel, then chances are, there will be other hotel guests within the facility. However, if you're considering a country house or a barn, then you will most likely be offered the venue exclusively. This ensures a level of privacy on what is going to be a very important and special day! It also ensures that there aren't any 'unexpected' guests in the background of your wedding photos!
5. Are there any other costs that I need to be aware of?
Ok, so we're referring to those 'hidden' costs. The costs that suddenly arise out of nowhere, or that will likely be buried in the small print of the contract you sign. Your viewing is the perfect time to ask this all-important question.
Personally speaking, we despise hidden costs and that's why at Glemham Hall, you won't find any! We like to be upfront with you...and remember, it's all about developing a trustworthy relationship going forward. We are confident in our pricing and we go to great lengths to explain exactly what our prices are for and the costs involved.
6. Who will be present on the day itself?
A very good question to ask! You'll need to know about the team behind the venue. Do they provide waiting staff and/or bar staff? Is there a toastmaster included? Will there be a wedding co-ordinator to keep things on track?
If your venue doesn't offer a member of staff to oversee the proceedings, then you might like to know about it in good time. Do you really want to be clock-watching throughout the day? Do you want to spend time worrying whether the band has arrived or not?
All these details can be looked after by the wedding co-ordinator at the venue and it's their job to do your worrying for you, leaving you free to relax and enjoy the day knowing everything is in safe hands.
At Glemham Hall, we invite couples to a planning meeting, usually 4-6 weeks before the wedding to note down those all-important details, thus ensuring we know exactly what's happening at every point in the day. We'll know when the candles need lighting, when the groom needs his favourite tipple before the speeches and when the bride needs her flat shoes for dancing! All these little details can make your wedding day, an AMAZING wedding day!
Everyone has a 'wish-list' of their venue requirements, whether it's accommodation, exclusive-use, easily-accessible etc but do you have a particularly quirky or unusual requirement of a venue? If there's anything else you'd add to this list, let's hear it! Leave a comment below.