Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Booking your ceremony venue | The Happily Ever After Chronicles

Photographer: Luis Holden  |  Venue: Somerleyton Hall, Norfolk.

Deciding where you want your ceremony/wedding breakfast/evening reception is extremely important. There are a few things you need to consider when you are visiting your perspective venues…

What type of ceremony is best for you?
If you are getting hitched in the UK there are lots of different options open to you.

Firstly, you have the choice between a religious ceremony (held at a place of worship) or a civil ceremony that can either take place at a register office or an approved venue, (such as a licensed hotel for example).
If you had set your heart on an outdoors ceremony (pray for good british weather!) there is such a thing as a DUO ceremony, this basically means that the legal elements of the ceremony would be carried out in a licensed room either before or after your outside ceremony. For more info on DUO ceremonies you would need to discuss it with the registration office that is in the area of your ceremony as not all of them are able to do these types.

Is it going to take place in the area/county where you live? The area where your family live? Abroad?
Think about logistics here, is it a reasonable and ‘do-able’ distance for you both and your guests to travel to your chosen area/county?
If you have decided on a wedding ceremony abroad then you will need to contact the country’s authority/government dept to find out what information and paperwork you will need, how early this paperwork/documents needs to be with them and also how long this paperwork will be valid for. (Some countries ask you to present them with a ‘Certificate of Non-Impediment’ which is something you would then need to speak to your local registration office about getting.)

Key things to think about:
Location vs. Travel costs: Remember that if you are travelling a long distance it will cost you more in travel expenses. Especially if you are hiring cars/transport.
Disabled access: Do you have any elderly or disabled guests attending? When looking around venues check for disabled access and parking
Parking: Speaking of parking, is there any parking? A lot of inner-city locations may only have ‘pay and display’ or multi-story car parking which can leave guests with a large bill if they are there all day.
Accommodation: At the end of your day, are you going to be staying in your venue? A nearby hotel? Do they offer a discount for the wedding party rooms?
Venue vs. Photography: Is it a place that you can have nice photos taken indoors if the weather turns sour?

Whats included? (Some ideas of what to ask…)
Do you get drinks upon arrival? – Is there a bar?
Are seat covers included or do you have to pay per seat?
Is there a min/max number of guests for the room?
Can you have the ceremony/wedding breakfast/evening reception all in the same room?
Do you get special rates for wedding guest bedroom bookings?
Do you have good choices in the menu and is there an evening buffet?
Do you have to use their own in house DJ/caterer/florist? Beware! Some venues charge extra if you wish to use your own people.

Haggle! The prices the venues set are not set in stone. If you want something thrown in to the plan then ask. Or if you feel uncomfortable asking outright then mention your budget and ask of anything can be done/swapped/exchanged.
The worst they will do is say no. What have you got to lose?

It’s your wedding! So DON’T let people bully you into changing your plans or doing something you don’t want to do. However, DO keep an open mind and don’t get annoyed or upset if somebody suggests an idea or highlights a problem.
Nobody likes a bride/groom-zilla after all!

Thought of anything else? Please comment below.

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