Your wedding venue has a huge role to play in making your day special and so to find the right place you need to ask yourself a few questions:
Are you holding your ceremony and reception at the same venue?
Not all reception venues have the required licences to host legally-binding ceremonies, so if you want the same venue for the whole day, it’ll cut down your list of possibilities! Your council website will have a selection of appropriate places, as well as bridal shops and wedding forums.
How many guests are invited?
On average there are 100 guests at a wedding, but these numbers are often divided into full-day or ceremony-only and reception-only guests. You need to factor these numbers, and what you’ll be doing with them at each stage, into your planning and ultimately your venue. If you’re only having a few people for the ceremony and breakfast, but a huge number at the reception, you’ll probably need two different venues.
Are you close to home?
People tend to wed close to home, or to where they grew up, so that they have a family base from which to set off when they’re ready. A focal point like this makes it easy for far-flung guests to congregate and find places to stay.
What season is the wedding in?
Most weddings are in spring and summer, but nearly all venues will cater for autumn and winter. If you’re planning a frosty wedding, you’ll need somewhere with a big indoor hall for mingling and posing for photos. Look for somewhere with a huge fireplace, a big courtyard with braziers or a massive sweeping fireplace. On the other hand, summer weddings need to provide shelter from the hot sun and maybe even the odd downpour (it is the UK, after all…).
Do you have a theme?
You might have a particular look or a theme in mind – here are some favourites..
Rural: you need to find an old farmhouse or barn that you can deck out with huge long tables and strings of fairy lights. Cheshire has some of the more popular wedding venues North-West brides are opting for at the moment for their cute, rustic charm.
Traditional: smaller local churches and village halls are ideal – and cheap – and you can personalise them with your own themes and decorations.
A stately home: more expensive, but if you can manage it, a wedding in a castle or manor house adds real glamour and gravitas to the occasion.
Off with the old: many couples are eschewing traditional venues and looking at hotels, restaurants and even permanently-moored boats to tie the knot in.
Nordic fairytale: a twist on the traditional marquee, a kata is a big Nordic tent rather like a teepee, traditionally used by Sami reindeer herders. They can be up to six metres across and can be fitted out with pelts, tables and benches, as well as a wood burner. Just perfect for a winter wedding.