Booking your wedding venue is one of the first things you’ll do when arranging your wedding. Once you’ve shortlisted your dates and found a few venues to look at more closely, there are some key things you need to think about before committing and paying your deposit.



Size

Obviously, size is a key consideration when booking your wedding venue. You need room for all your guests, tables, dance floor, DJ, cake stand; maybe a photo-booth or chocolate fountain; perhaps a stage if you’re having a live band at your reception. You might want outdoors space for drinks, photos, or for viewing fireworks later in the evening. If you’re bringing in external suppliers like caterers or entertainers they might need space to set up, so check what is available and when they can have access to space.

Accommodation and Parking

Many wedding venues are attached to accommodation sites, and often run discounts for wedding groups. However, if your chosen venue doesn’t have accommodation, check that there are hotels or B&Bs nearby for your out-of-town guests. You also need to check that the venue has sufficient car-parking for your guests, and find out if attendees can leave their cars at the venue overnight if they are staying nearby. If parking is limited, you might need to look at putting on transport to get your guests to the venue.

An alternative to hotel or B&B accommodation is camping, particularly if you are in a more rural location. If there is room around your venue, is the management happy for you to set up an impromptu campsite for your guests to sleepover in?

What’s provided?

Some venues offer you the services of a wedding coordinator, and can also provide many of the essentials for your reception, including tables, chairs, linens, glassware, PA systems, decorating, catering, and waiting staff. Find out what they can provide in line with your budget, and seriously consider using them for some or all of these essentials – it will save you juggling multiple suppliers who all need to arrive at the venue on schedule, and will all require different set-up times.

Accessibility

Getting into and out of your venue is also important to consider, but can be easily overlooked. It needs to be easy to find, or easy to direct people to; should have access facilities for those with restricted mobility; may need to provide special seating for the frail or elderly, or high chairs for small children. It’s also important to consider whether the venue has enough bathrooms for the number of guests you are expecting, or whether you need to hire in some additional lavatories.

Schedule on the day

If you are decorating the venue yourself or bringing in external suppliers, you will need access to the event space as early as possible. Make sure you have agreed this access time with the venue well ahead of the day or made arrangements if you can only get in on the morning itself.

It’s also important to consider local licensing laws and curfews which could mean your party needs to wrap up earlier than you might have originally planned.

Costs

Your wedding venue will be a major expense, so make sure you know exactly what is included when deposits and balances are required, and what the venue’s cancellation and postponement policies are. As soon as you start spending on your wedding, it’s worth taking out wedding insurance, just in case something goes wrong.

Once your venue and date are confirmed, it’s time to get on with the real fun of planning your big day. Click here for our tips on keeping your guests entertained throughout the day.

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