A few weeks ago blogger and wedding planner Kelly Hood @BohoEvents published her Reader Survey results, which have raised a few interesting points and ideas in my mind, things that I must keep in mind when reviewing the way I approach my blog and my wedding planning business.
Not surprisingly, the reader survey clearly showed that wedding venue and photography are the two elements couples spend the most on. So considering how much hiring a wedding venue costs, how are you going to make sure that the choices you make today will be ones that you are going to be happy with on your wedding day and every time you’ll look at those wedding pictures?
I’ve recently spent a Friday afternoon visiting three London venues that I felt could be suitable to my future clients. As I was walking through their facilities, I felt that they each appealed to different types of couples and that, as a planner, I must do my best to get to know the couple through the consultation as best I can to recommend on the most suitable venues, not just based on their budget, but on their personality too.
Unless you are hiring a wedding planner, you will need to consider both your schedule and your organisational skills when choosing the venue, as each location will require a different degree of effort, time and coordination on your part to pull it together. So the best thing to do when planning your wedding is know your options and how they will fit with your requirements and needs.
To help you out, I’ve put together a list of some of the most popular venue types, ranging from the urban chic to a yurt set up in the middle of a field.
The Urban Chic venue
If I have to be honest, this is one that I gravitate towards the most (despite in the end getting married in a countryside art deco villa). Urban venues, whether restaurants, hotels or conference spaces, have many advantages but they are clearly not for all. Choice is infinite. As you search you will find the ultra modern, minimalist venue, suitable for the bride who likes monochrome, clean lines, and a wedding that is effortlessly chic. Typical venues that offer this type of environment are new buildings, such as The Gherkin, with modern facilities, but often limited space – perhaps more suitable for intimate weddings and very few children.
If you like more traditional, but urban nevertheless, large cities like London offer incredible old mansions, venues with high ceilings, impressively large rooms and, sometimes, secluded ‘secret’ gardens that offer beautiful picture opportunities.
Hotels are also a popular choice, often because they are able to offer all-inclusive packages that make your planning experience a lot smoother and stress free.
The benefits of a city wedding are several, among these:
- You will find that there are several venues around the location where the ceremony will be held. This makes travelling from one location to the next really easy for all your guests.
- Guests with no transport, or if the wedding is going to be to a location where there are no parking facilities, can reach the ceremony venue (church or registry office) via public transport, or can group together for a cab.
- You don’t depend so much on the weather as city weddings are usually held indoors, so whatever the weather, you’re still guaranteed a beautiful outcome.
City weddings often have cons too… For example, limited space means that it may be logistically easier to get married in a registry office/religious venue. Wedding venues are often licensed for weddings, but the space available means that the guests have to waltz from one room to the next 2 or 3 times in the course of an afternoon to allow the venue to prepare rooms, or remove furniture used for the dinner and allow for dancing space.
The Country Manor
Venues in the countryside often lend themselves to beautiful, traditional weddings. Quintessentially English, their flower gardens and the surroundings offer incredible space for outside pictures, drinks and even games.
English manors are perfect for large weddings and, if lots of children will be present, you can rest assured that there is enough room for them to play without any disruption. Their elegance is perfect for classical and sophisticated events. Often, due to the décor of the rooms, flower decorations will be all that is needed, as adding more ornaments could clutter a space that is already as beautiful and elegant as it can possibly be. Country manors are often licensed for wedding ceremonies and, contrary to city venues, they generally have so many rooms that your guests won’t need to constantly ‘relocate’ to allow the staff to clear the room and set up for the next stage of the wedding. I find this being a really important point, particularly if you have many children, elderly people or someone on a wheelchair. Weddings flow better if there is a seamless transition from one ‘moment’ to another and from one room to the next.
The rustic barn
High ceilings, wooden beams and, often, different levels, make rustic country barns really cosy locations for winter weddings. They are clearly not for everyone, especially for the ultra-modern bride who is looking for polished marble floors, swanky crystal candelabra, or posh leather lounge chairs. But this doesn’t mean that rustic barns cannot be made to look chic. Despite the rustic feel, you can still inject your own personality in the choice of décor and accessories turning a rustic barn into a vintage haven or colourful, fun environment. Also on the plus side, barns are often so large that you don’t have to worry so much about guests numbers and certainly not about having children.
The Marquee / Outdoor wedding
If you’ve always dreamt of getting married in a particular outdoor place, like near a river, on the grounds of a historic place, or even in your parents’ back garden, wedding marquees offer you the option to do so, provided you have been given permission by the land owners.
A marquee is a blank canvass that can be transformed into whatever you want it to be – a sleek, modern and minimalist venue, a romantic starlit backdrop, or a fresh and floral setting by turning the inside of the marquee into a continuation of the outside gardens. They also come in all sorts of sizes so you will be able to find one within your budget for the number of guests you have, whether a small or large number.
However, if you are the kind of person who isn’t particularly creative, then remember that a poorly decorated marquee can be a cold space. You will probably need to involve a wedding stylist or a planner to help with the decoration side. Also if you are not a keen organiser, then perhaps a marquee is best to be avoided. You often need to involve quite a lot of suppliers to decorate the space to your taste, particularly if the hire company only provides a basic service or decoration that is not to your taste.
Other great alternatives to marquees are tipis, Arabian tents or yurts. Individual tipis are relatively small, but can be joined together in clusters to accommodate larger events. They are a very unique alternative, offering a magical atmosphere and warmth to the wedding while enjoying the outdoor setting. However, the cost for larger weddings can be quite prohibitive as some hire companies charge several thousands of pound for a cluster of four tipis.
There are many, many more options, ranging from outdoor, uncovered locations, to exclusive use of pubs or restaurants. If you need help choosing the right venue for your wedding, why not consider hiring a planner? A planner will not only help you find the best location for your needs, requirements and personality, but will also work to negotiate the best prices on your behalf.
So, what are your favourite venues? Where are you planning to get married? And if you have already tied the knot, where did you get married and why would you recommend that type of venue?
♥ Manor: 1. Arley Hall & Gardens via Boho Weddings and Events featuring the wedding of Luisa and Richard. Photography by Nicola Thompson // 2. & 3. The Queens House in Greenwich from Love My Dress, featuring the wedding of Amy and David. Photography by Dominique Bader.
♥ Outdoor: 1. Via Boho Weddings and Events featuring the wedding of Kaeli and Tyler. Photography by Claire Marika Photography // 2. Tent via Pocketful of Dreams featuring Jeff and Laura’s vintage restoration wedding. Photography by Oeil Photography // 3. Via Boho Weddings and Events featuring the outdoor wedding of Daniel and Polly. Photography by Spiky Jumper // 4. & 5. Yurts via UKAWP Blog, showcasing a wedding styled by Dream Occasions. Photography by Kerry Morgan.
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