Just for fun: What were/are your venue must haves?

There was a thread on here recently asking what people‘s non-negotiables and desirables were when choosing a house and I thought it would be fun to do the same for wedding venues.

Our non-negotiables:

1. Ceromony and reception venue in one 

2. Within an hour of where we live 

3. Nice grounds for photos and nice ceromony and reception room

4. Reasonably priced 



1. Less than 30 min drive 

2. Allows fireworks and sparklers 

3. Has guest rooms (for at least the bride and groom and immediate family)

4. Has exclusive use of the venue on the wedding day

5. Has enough parking for all guests 



  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,906 New bride


    Within 30-45 minute's drive of either our home in Kent or my in-law's home in Essex

    Safe for children - no unfenced open water/big drops etc.

    Reasonably priced

    Able to offer more than one choice per course, for at least the main course

    Within easy reach of hotels (as OH and I are from different places, wherever we got married half the guests would have to travel).

    Ceremony area to be wheelchair accessible (you'd be surprised how many places don't have this!).


    Exclusive use venue  - mainly for kid's safety - didn't want to get married somewhere with randomers wandering about!

    All in one venue, preferably with separate ceremony and wedding breakfast rooms (not a fan of keep having to mill about while rooms are turned around!)

    Somewhere with character and preferably not corporate looking, which leads us to....

    No giant swirly/floral carpets or curtains in garish colours - I'm looking at you, Dale Hill Golf Club!



  • britbirdbritbird Posts: 1,461 New bride

    Must haves:

    Exclusive use

    Not too far to travel

    Choice of caterers

    Large capacity

    No corkage

    No carpet!


    Don't think I had any really, as we were not willing to compromise 

  • Ashley72Ashley72 Posts: 1,135 New bride

    We're getting married in Tuscany and interestingly, our initial list of wants, and the things we fell in love with at our venue, are quite different! We weren't even supposed to see our venue - we just happened to be viewing one close by and our planner suggested popping in on the off chance someone could show us around - it was the only place I got butterflies out of the maybe 12 we'd looked at! It was quite different to what we'd initially wanted so no wonder we weren't going to view it but it was completely meant to be!

    Initial list

    - outdoor ceremony - licensed for civil ceremonies
    - driveway / entrance lined with cypress trees (I was obsessed with this vision of driving up a long narrow lane lined with cypress trees with my Dad in a little sports car, then back down it with my husband!).
    - rustic villa / castle kind of vibe
    - less than one hour from an airport 

    Things that we love about our venue (and became non-negotiables when comparing to others we'd seen)
    - "weatherproof" venue - our ceremony room is an open terrace but has a glass roof so rain or shine, we still get a beautiful backdrop but some shade and protection in case of rain. The indoor and outdoor spaces are both equally lovely for the cocktail hour / dinner too.
    - views over the Tuscan hills - I thought just being in the countryside would cut it, but some venues had insane views over rolling hills and after seeing those, the kind of view we got became so important - I wanted something really wow
    - less rustic - our venue is an old winery but has been renovated with a modern touch so combines the best of both. It's so much more "us" than any of the really rustic places we saw
    - has tonnes of flowers and beautiful gardens - hoping this will help keep the decor budget lower than it might have been as there is just so much greenery, beautiful rose bushes, ivy covered pillars etc... hoping we won't need to spend much with the florist beyond bouquets and tables.

  • weatherwaxeweatherwaxe Posts: 848 New bride

    Mine were:

    The ceremony venue and reception venue (we knew we were going to probably do two separate venues) were no more than fifteen minutes apart and had to hold at least 100 guests.

    Our reception venue needed to be:

    Exclusive use

    A proper 'party' venue

    Central London to make guests lives easier (more hotels choice as 70% of our guests are travelling in) and easy transport home for our London based friends and family.

    No dry hire

    No bog-standard unimaginative décor

    Absolutely no chair covers


    Things that would have been nice were:

    An urban, industrial space

    A dedicated co-ordinator or planner 


  • SadieeeSadieee Posts: 1,781 New bride

    We live 4hrs from my family and 8hrs from H2B's and are getting married in December so we had only two musts -

    - Must be in our city. H2B insisted on a particular church for the ceremony (no idea why, we arnt religious but it was a must for him) so we knew we would be having the ceremony there. We live 20mins drive from the Lake District and all the stunning areas surrounding it, we have stunning manor homes, stately buildings, lakes and mountains and all these amazing things but we did not want to ask our family to start driving around after the ceremony to the Lake District to these stunning places when they dont know the area and chances are they will all be wet/icy/cold/snowed in (plus venues in this area are eye wateringly pricey due to their location, even in winter and we didn't want to put transport on!). So it had to be in Carlisle so that our families could get here with little problem and once here did not have to start driving around again.

    - Must be able to hold up to 120 people. With everyone travelling such distances there are very few evening only invites (only a couple of H2B's mates and work friends who are local) so it had to be able to hold up to 100 people for the meal and another 20 or so extra in the evening, we would not compromise our guestlist (we had already knocked it down from over 150!!)

    Desirables were -

    - Near hotels. Tied into the fact that we didn't want our guests to have to keep travelling once they got here.

    - Some outdoor space. A lot of our options due to staying in the city were hotels. They were stunning, some were traditional, some were modern, all fab but in every single one the only outdoor space was the carpark. Now as we are marrying in the December this wasn't a huge must but I did want something pretty to glimps as guests arrived.

    - Something wow to look at. I didn't mind if we went super modern (one venue option) or super old (our chosen venue), it just had to be something that looked good and made an impression.

    In the end we found our venue that got all of our musts and all our desirables :)

  • For me, the interior was really important. I didn't want to see any of the usual conference room style carpets or chairs or lighting. It needed to be a purpose built event space.

    We are coming in from overseas for our wedding in the UK, so it needed to be able to accommodate at least 60% of our wedding guests onsite to save travelling. 

    It needed to be licensed for weddings as we would be having a civil service

    It needed to be quirky. I've been to a lot of weddings in the last 3 years, so I wanted something completely different or at least set it apart. 

    We got all of these and more with Deer Park Country House Hotel. The orangery is beautiful, everything is bespoke for us on the day, no crappy carpets or chairs. Plus it's exclusive use. So it's all ours for the day!

  • Elz2017Elz2017 Posts: 316

    We had a few non-negotiables, but weren't too worried about the style of the place (though we probably wouldn't have gone for anything modern really just through taste)

     - In Scotland, specifically Arran (we didn't want a church or civil ceremony, and Arran is my favourite place on earth)

     - Accommodation for as many people as possible, plus other accommodation options nearby

     - Outdoor space

     - Dry hire and no corkage

    We got all that! :-) And the place we chose is good looking enough without being fancy - and has amazing views. Perfect for the weekend we have planned.

  • wed172Bwed172B Posts: 1,258

    Must haves:

    Ceremony and reception in one venue 

    Guest rooms for family / close friends

    Exclusive use

    what we really wanted was to 'make a weekend of it' which is exactly what we did :)

    Desirables: Ability to make it our own and a bit different to other weddings we'd been to and flexibility - menu / corkage stuff like that to make us feel like we'd made it 'our day'

  • k_mack_mac Posts: 35

    We didn’t have a long list but once we’d landed on London (got family coming from all over), the number one was somewhere central for good transport links/hotel options.

    Hotel/conference suites and stately homes were a non-starter for us as it’s just not our style - definitely wanted more laid back.

    Finally, didn’t want the stress of the ‘great british weather’ so somewhere with options for all scenarios. We ended up with an exclusive use split-level pub in an old covered marketplace... dreamy ☺️

  • Sian91Sian91 Posts: 829 New bride

    Must haves:

    Not a typical wedding venue- we didn’t want a package

    Able to choose our own caterer

    Good inside space as we didn’t want to be dependent on the weather



    Able to afford to pay for the bar for the night

    Nice Gardens for photos if the weather holds out

    Near where we lived/ where either of our families are (Epic fail...minimum 200 mile/3 hour drive for everyone)

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