Choosing your wedding venue

Where you hold the wedding ceremony and reception is your first and probably most important of all your decisions as you plan your big day

20 questions - Choosing a Wedding Venue
Almonry Barn, Somerset © Kerry Bartlett

20 questions to ask your wedding venue

To find the perfect wedding venue you first need to be clear about what type of wedding you want. Do you see big and formal? Small and intimate? Quirky and modern? Once you know the style of the event you want to plan, finding a venue that ticks all the right boxes will be much simpler.

The first step in your search is to look on the web – this website has a fantastic venue search facility which will direct you to hundreds of venues all around the UK. A venue’s website will answer many of your basic questions about capacity, availability and style etc saving you from wasting time on a visit to somewhere that’s never going to be suitable. You can usually order a brochure from the website as well so you can study this at your leisure before making any appointment.

When visiting a potential wedding venue, arm yourself with a list of 20 questions you need the answers to. You will also need a clear idea of how much you have to spend and of course, the date when you want to get married.

Hand Picked Hotels have a stunning collection of unique, heritage hotels for you to choose from across the UK and Channel Islands. They’ve organised thousands of weddings and each of their hotels has a dedicated wedding team who will collaborate with you to tailor-make your dream wedding, whether it’s a low key, intimate affair, or an extravagant ceremony taking completely exclusive use of the venue.

As you walk around, pay particular attention to everyone you meet. Do they seem helpful and friendly? Can they answer your questions knowledgeably? Do they share your vision or do you feel they are simply going through the motions? The people at your venue are key to creating a successful day and it’s important that you like one another and don’t feel intimated – you are the customer after all!

Try to imagine each room as it may look for your wedding. This isn’t always easy since empty rooms always look spacious. Ask the manager how many tables will comfortably fit in any room and think about adjoining rooms for cocktails and dancing. Memorize or photograph the carpets and curtains in each main room since you don’t want to colour theme your day only to find it all clashes horribly with the style of the rooms.

Never choose a venue that isn’t in keeping with the style of the day you want. For example, a minimalist, modern wedding is never going to look right in a formal, gilt-encrusted hotel, it would be much better to find a plain, white space like a hall and add your own touches with the table decorations and the flowers.

And don’t forget about outside spaces, especially for a summer wedding. There’s nothing nicer than serving drinks on a sunny patio or encouraging guests outside after dinner to a lantern-lit garden.

Old Brook Barn Essex marquee ceremony
Old Brook Barn, Essex

20 questions to ask a potential venue

  • Does the venue have a civil licence?
  • Does it have an on-site wedding co-ordinator?
  • Is there a location hire fee?
  • Does it have on-site catering?
  • Can we bring our own alcohol?
  • Is there a corkage charge?
  • What is the package price per head?
  • Can we devise our own menu?
  • Are tables, chairs, linens and tableware included?
  • Is there an in-house florist?
  • Will there be other events on the same day?
  • Is there overnight accommodation?
  • Are room discounts available for guests?
  • Is there adequate parking for guests?
  • Can we put up a marquee?
  • Can we use the venue gardens?
  • Are outside spaces child friendly?
  • Is the venue insured in case of accident?
  • Will the reception have to end at a certain time?
  • Can we let off fireworks?
  • What is the cancellation policy?