Your wedding day is one of the most memorable days of your life, and if you’ve already started planning your big day, you’ll have realised that it’s no easy feat - especially when it comes to choosing your wedding venue. From décor and lighting to capacity and space, there are many things a couple need to consider when choosing their dream wedding venue.
To make the process a little easier, we asked wedding planners and photographers for their professional advice for choosing the perfect wedding venue for your big day.
Coco Wedding Venues is a wedding venue directory founded by Emma Hla. Emma says first and foremost, you need to make sure your decision on a venue is made as a team.
“This first big decision will affect all the other decisions surrounding your big day, from the décor, the flowers, the food and even the fashion, so make sure the venue you're looking for reflects the both of you and the type of celebration you want to have.”
Colette Allen is a fine art wedding photographer at Aurelia Allen Photography. When it comes to choosing the wedding venue, Colette says: “One of the most important things a couple should consider is the theme or style of the wedding, thinking about how the venue reflects them as a couple, their love for each other, their personalities and taste.
“Some common themes include elegant, timeless, romantic, bohemian, rustic, vintage and modern. Decide which theme you feel encapsulates you both and your day and go from there.”
Although it may seem a bit premature, once you’ve decided on the theme of your wedding you’ll also want to consider the style of photography, says Colette, as this will help narrow down your venue choices.
“Do you want your wedding photos to have a light, elegant, timeless feel? Or a darker, rustic and bohemian style? When you link the wedding theme, photography style and venue together I believe couples are happier with the outcome of the day, the photographs that are captured and the style in which they are preserved.
“To check my style is in keeping with the couples’ vision, I always ask why they were drawn to my images and style during the consultation stage to understand if my style is really what they are looking for or if it was perhaps just one image they liked.”
Unconventional Wedding planner Linzi puts the location of the venue as a high priority.
“Location, location, location! It's so important. What does the location mean to you? For example, is it where you grew up or does it have a special meaning such as where you got engaged?
“You’ll also want to think about how your guests travel to the venue. If you need to put on transport this will affect your wedding budget. You'll also need to think about local accommodation, especially if the venue is out of the way.”
If you’ve got a long list of venues you want to visit, Emma says to create a spreadsheet to help you keep on top of the different costs, facilities and any other variables. She also recommends limiting how many venues you visit in a day.
“I think visiting four venues in one day should be the maximum as it can become overwhelming! Also, be careful not to take an entourage on the venue visits. Remember, this day is about two people, and you don’t want to feel pressured by other people’ opinions.”
Linzi says although it can be tempting, only visit venues within your budget.
“Always set your wedding budget before you go to view wedding venues. There is nothing worse than falling in love with somewhere and then finding out you can't afford it. So do the sums before you book venue viewings.”
Wedding planner and decorator Laura Devine from Devine Bride says one of your top priorities should be your wedding guests’ comfort.
“Considering the comfort of your guests will mean you have a much more relaxing day overall! Ask yourself if there are enough toilets, disabled access, a baby changing room, somewhere quiet for new mums to breastfeed if necessary or a cloakroom?
“You’ll also want to walk through the venue in the same flow as your guests would on your wedding day, from arrival right through to party time. It will help you visualise whether it is right for you as a couple and if it will be big enough, comfortable enough, and special enough!”
Rick Dell is a photographer based in Cheshire at Rick Dell Photography. Rick says when visiting a venue, it’s worth asking what wedding photo opportunities it has to offer, including whether it has just one main area or multiple grounds for taking your wedding photos.
“When looking around the venue, make sure you ask the staff to show you what areas are great for your wedding photos and find out who will be around to help you and your photographer on the big day.
“You’ll also want to ask yourself: does it have variable backdrops to your pictures? Does it have just one garden or does it also have an accompanying lake or woodland? You’ll also want to check it doesn’t overlook unsightly roads and vehicles, and if your venue is a public space like a hotel, you’ll want to check you won’t be photo-bombed by other people that may also be at the venue.”
After looking at a venue, Emma recommends taking a copy of the T&Cs to look at when you can have a proper think and weigh up all your options.
“Try to take a copy of the venues T&Cs so you can make a more informed decision with your heart and your head. Make sure you fully understand what's included and what's not and ensure you have a handle on all costs for the venue (including whether they're including VAT in their visible price) before signing on the dotted line.
If you’re tying the knot outside, Colette says to avoid a midday ceremony.
“During this time, the light is beaming straight down and extremely harsh. Sweaty, squinty images are not ideal! Between golden hour and late afternoon is perfect for soft light.”
Similar to the above, picking a date outside of the summer months will also help to avoid squinty wedding photos as it won’t be as bright outside. Emma also says it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a more cost-effective solution.
“Many couples choose summer to marry, for obvious reasons. But if I had my time all over again I would choose an October wedding. So, before you make a quick decision and pigeon-hole yourself into an expensive Saturday in August, do consider the more overlooked months and seasons or even mid-week dates if you're a cost-conscious couple.”
Something that frequently gets overlooked is the timing of the speeches, says Colette.
“When it comes to the photographs of the speeches, what do the tables look like? When the speeches are given before the wedding breakfast, the photographs look a lot cleaner and clutter-free as the table décor is still immaculate, compared to post-wedding breakfast where the bottles are half empty with finished plates on the table. Again, this is the couple’s preference of how they want their day to be enjoyed but certainly something to consider.”
For truly unique photos of your special day, Colette says that the more natural the photographs are, the better.
“Lastly, many couples have Pinterest-perfect images they want to recreate rather than creating their own unique moments to be captured.
“For example, if you want a great image of the bridal party having fun, then take ten minutes at the reception to grab some champagne and cocktails and run through a field together. Whatever you decide to do, ‘create’ your own unique photo by actually doing it rather than posing to recreate a static image.”
Looking for your dream wedding venue in Cheshire? Enquire today about our elegant, award-winning Georgian country house, the perfect backdrop to say “I do”.