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Choosing your venue is one of the most exciting parts of planning any wedding. However, there are a few pitfalls that are best avoided early in the decision-making process. Here is a list of our top five things to check when booking your wedding venue. If you have any others to add, please do share them with us on our Facebook page!

  1. Restrictions, restrictions!

Your wedding day should be as unique as you are, and it’s important to check with your venue if they have any specific restrictions that would impact upon anything you’d like to do on your big day. For example:

  • Are you able to use any suppliers you like, or do you need to use suppliers on their approved list?
  • Do they allow corkage?
  • Are you allowed to bring your pets to your ceremony?
  • Do they have parking available on site, and can you leave the cars there overnight?
  • Are you allowed to decorate the venue the way you way to?
  1. Mind the children

Is your venue child friendly? Do they provide catering options specifically for children and do they have a specific area to enable you to provide dedicated entertainment for the children in attendance, while the adults are dining? The popularity of wedding crèches is definitely on the up, and these services are highly recommended to give adult guests a chance to relax and enjoy your special day with you.

  1. Access, set up & expectations

You’ll have lots of little touches that you’ll want to include on your wedding day, including things like decorations such as draping, chair covers, table name cards, table centres, and name place cards. All of these things take time to set up, so check if your venue will give you early access time and a dedicated event manager to help get all of these elements set up. Does your venue give you the facility to drop off your name cards, guest book, post-box, photos, wedding favours, etc, the day before your wedding for them to then set these out for you?

It’s also worth checking what the venue will do for you and what they expect you to do. If you’ve simply hired a venue, who is responsible for tidying it at the end of the wedding? If they don’t have a dedicated event manager on the day, who will ensure the timings of the day are adhered to? Who will make the necessary announcements on the day? All of these little elements can make a big difference to your enjoyment of your special day.

  1. What’s ACTUALLY included

You’ll see plenty of different prices when shopping around for your dream wedding venue. But you may not always be comparing apples with apples. Venues can include elements like catering, drinks packages, staffing and more in their “package” prices. Is your venue providing all required chairs and tables?

You should check each of these elements on a more granular level: for example, if your venue is providing food within the cost of their package, but are they going to make supplementary charges for thinks like crockery, cutlery, glassware, service staff, linen, bottle disposal (for weddings providing their own drinks), provision of ice, costs for tastings… the list could be endless!

If your wedding is taking place in a marquee, make sure you check that enough land is provided for your use as well as a separate catering tent for your caterers. It’s best to establish early on who is responsible for the provision of power, flooring, refrigeration units (if requested), running water, etc. It’s always worth checking all of these elements early on, to avoid disappointment later on.

  1. Don’t dilly dally with the date

You want all your loved ones to be present on your special day, so it’s important to check with anyone you’d like to have in attendance that they are available on the date of your choosing. Sending out of “Save the date” cards is still very popular, and these are best to send as soon as you’ve booked your venue. Make sure that you check with your local registrar BEFORE you confirm your venue, if you want to be legally married at the venue on the day. If you choose to have a blessing or use a celebrant to officiate your wedding, this isn’t required, but you will still need to register your marriage with the local registry office.