How do you narrow it down to just a few to go and look round?
- Make a rough guest list, just to get an idea of numbers and so the size of the venue you need. We ended up with 50 for the ceremony and just over 100 for the reception. We then added a few to both totals to give us some room to expand (this is really a rough list just to get an idea).
- Get your core requirements set - Size, Price, Location, Look and people being able to stay over were our 5 non negotiable requirements. It will vary for everyone though so sit down with your fiancée and think about what you want. At this point you don't need to get into too much detail as it can get a bit tricky to decide small details before you've been to a place, so just the main things you want.
- Size - We wanted enough room to not be restricted and have to stress over the guest list, but also we didn't want to pay more for somewhere too big with space we didn't need.
- Price - For £5000 or under we wanted the bare bones of a wedding, hire for the ceremony, meal and reception, food, a drinks package, maybe evening entertainment and then we'd look at what each venue includes extra to this. Most times you can get a rough idea of price from the website or brochure but until you go and meet with the events person at the venue you can't get an accurate quote, so just keep a ballpark figure in mind.
- Location - We wanted to keep it reasonably local, for ease of organising (I want to be able to visit the venue beforehand easily) and also we do live in a beautiful part of the country.
- Look - We obviously had to like the look of the place, from the brochure or if we had been there before.
- Rooms - Tom was really keen on the idea of there being plenty of room for people to stay over, I wasn't so fussed as long as there were hotels near (we could just book taxis) but it does make sense to have rooms available to make things easier on the day.
- We both looked around online and requested brochures from loads of places, and also contacted places we had been to before or heard good things about. After a few weeks we had collected quite a few, so we looked through them all together and got a shortlist together of ones we wanted to look around and booked in some appointments. We don't get a lot of days off together so we use this approach for a lot of things (houses, holidays etc) where we research separately then get together with our choices and decide, if you can though it would be good to look around together.
- We looked through about 20 brochures, they were all lovely (we only requested brochures from places we liked of course!) but most of them lacked one of our main requirements so weren't included in the final cut.
- Eventually we had 3 venues to see, we booked the appointments all quite close together over 2 days so we would have them all fresh in our minds to decide.
Luckily I've had experience finding event venues with work, so I had an idea of how to go about it but it can still be pretty hard to decide! I'll do a post on how we got on viewing them and how we decided soon...