5 Points to consider when searching for your dream Wedding Venue!

Dreaming of your perfect venue be it a castle or country home decorated to within the finest detail, all your family and friends around you laughing and smiling commenting on how wonderful the day is. The setting is magnificent and just what you wanted……

Finding the perfect wedding venue is not as easy as it may seem. This part of the wedding process is often the most lengthy, tiring and realistically the most costly. You are going to love one place, your partner may not love it as much. The wedding venue that you want is one of the most important decisions you will make over your wedding preparations so don’t rush into anything, shop around and consider what you really want for the big day.

The best way to approach venue finding is to make a shortlist of places that you would like to visit. You can’t visit everywhere and this would be quite pointless as there are plenty of criteria in particular venues will need to meet to make the shortlist to start with. Here are some pointers I have drawn together to make the decision that bit easier for you both!
1. The type of venue
Consider the type of venue you picture on your wedding day and start researching within one certain area or a few not all or you mind will be boggled. There are plenty of choices to suit all couples and bear in mind your guests as well:
  • City location
  • Hotel
  • Restaurant
  • Marquee
  • Castle
  • Period Property/Stately Home
  • Private House
  • Home wedding
  • Alternate wedding (e.g. boat or boutique camping weddings)


 2. Whether you are having a Civil or Church Ceremony
Depending on the type of marriage ceremony you want may affect your decision also. If you are opting for a civil ceremony and would rather get married on location rather than in a registry office you will need to check which of the possible venues are registered for civil ceremonies. If you are opting for a Church ceremony you need to check out the Churches in the area (if you are leaving your parish) to ensure that they are adequate and nice enough for your wedding. You do not want to be driving for hours from a suitable Church to your wedding venue.
3. What are your Guest Numbers? 
When you are researching your wedding venues draw up a draft of a guest list as guest numbers will significantly affect your choice of venues. Don’t worry about people that you may get to know in the time running up to your wedding you will have some dropouts from your original list. If you are going above the 200 mark you are narrowing your choices. If you are having a small wedding you may opt for a venue that has some lovely smaller rooms as a ballroom would feel empty with so little people.
4. Your venues proximity to your home, guests and ceremony. 
Does the venue proximity matter to you and your partner. If you want to get married in your parish church it will so this will narrow your zone of opportune places. You can’t expect guests to travel too far from the Church and this will take time off the wedding reception itself. Pick places that are a maximum of one hour away from the Church.
If you have a lot of people flying in from abroad it may be important to consider being near to a main international airport (Dublin, Cork or Shannon) for ease also. Photographic Opportunities
If photographs of your wedding day are important to you it should be high priority for you to look for a location that has idyllic backdrops, beautiful gardens or if not fabulous location close by that you can take your photographs at before you attend the reception.
5. How much work you want to put in to decor and set up. 
Weddings require time and effort and it is important to consider your life stresses such as children or job that may affect this. If you opt for a hotel wedding for example, nearly everything regarding the venue is sorted out for you (décor, seating, linens, catering). If you choose a wedding at home/marquee or in a private house you may need to organise all the extras yourself which is time consuming. This doesn’t cancel out these locations but you may need to hire a wedding planner just to take care of these parts.


Who made the shortlist?

Once you have made a shortlist of venues, lets say 3-5 venues, plan your visits over a few weekends. Ring ahead and ask the venue is it ok if you visit and when suits best as there may be weddings on depending on the season. Always visit in daylight hours or if you would like to see the place at night also, go when its bright, have something to eat and wait till it gets dark.

When you do make your visits take with you a venue checklist as this will help you ensure that the venue has everything that you need and want.

Do not rush into making a decision. Visit all the prospective venues first but express your interest and ask if first refusal is possible whilst you are making up your mind. Read through the contract thoroughly that they present to you, making note of VAT, deposit requirements and interval payments, service charge and cancellation policies. If there is anything you disagree with or would like to amend in the contract do so before signing!!

Wishing you the best of luck in location your dream venue, you will view some fantastic places but just make sure your envisage your wedding there, that is what matters the most!

Photo Credits: Garden Terrace via Mark Capilitan Photography at Lough Rynn Castle, Couple infront of door at The Village at Lyons via OneFabDay, Wedding in NYC via Brides.com, Bride on steps at St.Helen’s Hotel via Weddingdates.


Keely is an assistant Wedding Planner for The Wedding Expert and Editor and Blogger for Wedding High. She adores everything about weddings, is crazy about travelling and languages and has a weakness for cheese boards!

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