Securing the Venue
Finalising the date essentially involves a process of elimination. The availability of venues on certain dates is the next factor that comes into play. If the ceremony is to be religious, a separate reception venue will need to be booked; for many civil ceremonies held in approved venues (hotels, castles, etc.), the ceremony and reception can often take place in the same building, simplifying the booking process.
If two venues are required, the venue for the ceremony should be firmed up first; then, when looking at reception venues, it will often be possible to pencil the date in with various places, especially if this is done well in advance. This will allow a little more time for this all-important decision.
Finding ideal locations is far harder than anyone ever believes, but it is worth persisting and pursuing all options until one is found that meets the majority of the criteria. Once the decision has been made, deposits should be paid immediately to secure the venue(s).
Choosing a suitable reception venue is all-important. A good venue will be large enough, well located, accessible, and will ideally enhance everyone’s experience of the wedding with, for example, a historic building, elegant rooms, beautiful gardens, or a striking view.
Historical properties, although frequently subject to restrictions, are popular choices for both ceremonies and receptions. They are a good option for couples having a civil ceremony who seek imposing surroundings. Often, they are large enough for both the ceremony and reception and can accommodate the bride and groom, wedding party and guests overnight.
Religious ceremonies usually require a separate reception venue, but many civil ceremonies are held in the same place as the reception. Whether a venue is required for both the ceremony and reception, or just the reception, finding somewhere suitable can be a daunting task. Popular venues get booked up well in advance – sometimes up to 18 months – especially on summer Saturdays. The bride and groom, and often a parent or close friend, should look at as many venues as possible before deciding what suits them best.
If the reception venue is separate it should, ideally, be close to the ceremony venue. While people will accept that a certain amount of travel is unavoidable, guests should not be expected to travel for more than 30 minutes. Problems with cars, summer traffic jams and navigation can all take the edge off guests’ enjoyment.
Venue size is critical. Ideally, there should be separate drinks and dining areas at the reception. If the venue is too small for both, a marquee for the reception drinks or the dinner may be erected.
Hired Venues: Details
Check out all the venue’s restrictions before booking. Some frequent examples are:
- No flowers prone to causing pollen stains.
- No red wine (unless the guests are seated).
- No floor-damaging stilettos.
- No smoking or candlelight.
- Limitations on the length of the reception.
- Monitoring of noise level.
- Limitations on the age of guests (e.g. young children).