How did you choose your wedding venue?

Melanie YYWMelanie YYW Posts: 92 admin
edited December 2018 in Wedding venues
Hi everyone, 

I'm writing an article for YYW on "how to choose your wedding venue" and I'm looking for stories from real brides on how they chose their venue - it will be written a bit like this one.

Let me know if you have a story on how you chose your venue; were you influenced by price? An amazing bridal suite? Lots of accommodation for your guests? A late license for partying? 

Let me know!

Also, while I have you, we're running a competition to win £250 of Love2Shop vouchers; just scroll to the bottom of this page to enter - it's just a multiple choice question. 


  • Ours is probably really boring but we chose ours based on whether we could have a BBQ, and they had to legally be able to do the ceremony there as we didn't want a church wedding, or a registry office do. We wanted something relaxed, close to home, and affordable, but honestly the BBQ, relaxed feel and ceremony license was the most important. We were really lucky and there's a venue 20 mins from our hometown that ticked all the boxes. 
    I actually made a list of about 100 venues in the area so i could whittle them down by price first, so we would only visit ones within budget - saved a lot of heartache! 
  • Julia101Julia101 Posts: 162 New bride
    We wanted a completely personalised menu with really good quality food and drink. We got married in church but the reception was at a local restaurant that offered what we wanted, and we weren't disappointed. It was much cheaper than a package at a dedicated wedding venue. It was important to us to keep it relaxed and close to home too.
  • GinAndBlingGinAndBling Posts: 1,298 New bride
    No more than 30 mins from our church, no corkage and the ability to design our own menus or bring in caterers. 

    We didn’t want a marquee or hotel so our options were fairly narrow!
    Our planning thread: We're completely winging it.
    Our report: A fun, classic May day in navy and blush
    My weightloss thread: Diet denial! 
  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,770 New bride
    Our main criteria were that the venue had to be able to hold the ceremony and reception, offer more than one option per course for the wedding breakfast, have public transport and hotels nearby, and have a reasonably priced bar. Oh and be under £5-6k!
  • My fiance’s Grandma will be 101 by the wedding, and can only travel for an hour or so by car, so that gave us a radius.
    We wanted a church wedding, so it also has to be near enough to us to go to church on Sundays in the months leading up to the wedding.
    The reception venue and church needed to be walking distance apart, to keep the logistics easy, we needed to fit 200 people in the church and 150 for a sit down meal.
    Oh, and no marquees or conference/banqueting suites, and a preference for on site accommodation.
    I'm still slightly amazed we found one that fitted the bill perfectly!  :D 
  • I’ve always wanted a big fairytale wedding so a castle or stately home was essential when choosing my venue. I did like the idea of an outdoor wedding but I would constantly worry about the weather!

    My fiancé isn’t religious and I didn’t really mind not getting married in a church so that was never an important aspect for us.

    I originally wanted Hever Castle in Kent but it was a little bit too small for the size of wedding we wanted (70 day guests and an extra 40 evening guests). So I went a bit nuts on Hitched and went through all the stately homes and castles near my area and picked out my favourites. I was looking for a venue that made me feel like a Disney princess for a day and was spectacular and memorable. I was mid-way through my list when I visited a stately home in Buckinghamshire and I instantly fell in love with the place! It was everything I wanted and more. They had a package deal that was perfect for what I was looking for and ensured that every part of my wedding was going to be high quality and custom (to a certain degree).

    I’m only going to have one wedding day so I want it to be as close to perfection as I can get :)

  • britbirdbritbird Posts: 1,475 New bride
    We had some really specific criteria:

    Exclusive venue
    No marquee
    No carpet
    Lots of light (my sister is deaf)
    Choice of caterer
    Not too far from home
    Ideally free, or low corkage fee
    Pretty grounds
    Big enough to hold 200
    Licenced for ceremonies

    As long as it fit those criteria, we didn't care about the price-within reason.  I spent ages researching, and only found a few options that even remotely fitted what we wanted.  Even then, they didn't tick all the boxes.  We booked in viewings for a few, and then spoke to our venue, on the recommendation of Hails from this forum.  We saw the venue, fell in love, even though it didn't fit our brief 100% (we had to choose from a list of a few caterers) and booked it that same day.  The venue doesn't offer no corkage anymore, so we were incredibly lucky to get in there when we did.  
  • We wanted somewhere suitable for a small wedding (by small, I mean us and 8 guests!) After googling places for a very small wedding we kept coming across "elopment" wedding venues, but they all had a fixed reception option and as of the 10 people in total, 3 were under 18, 2 didn't drink at all, 1 hardly drank and yet most places we would have had to pay adult drink package prices for essentially apple juice!! We then did some googling for unusual wedding venues . We came across Nashpoint Lighthouse, our eventual venue and it fit all the requirements for the ceremony, had cottages atraatta we could stay in and a beautiful restaurant nearby where we had our "reception" .It was frustrating though when venues were describing a small wedding as 50-100 guests!!
  • We wanted ceremony and reception in the same venue, ideally accommodation on site, we needed to like the room where the ceremony would take place and for it to feel special and not just a function/conference room, and we wanted to feel like it reflected us - I think we’d have felt daft in a castle but on the other hand we’re not really cool enough to pull off a more hipster type venue. Also we needed somewhere the dog could be included in the day. 

    With all those criteria met, price was the most important factor - starting a family and creating our family home have as much of a claim on our wallets as a wedding, so we definitely had an upper limit in mind for venues. 

    Ours was the first venue I shortlisted when googling for ideas, and the one we kept coming back to, and when I thought we had to rule it out as they couldn’t do the original date we wanted I cried, which I thought was telling, I’m really happy we changed the date in order to have the venue we wanted. 

  • We wanted to get married in our area of London in a local church and for guests not to have to travel far to the reception.. We wanted somewhere elegant and that suited a city wedding feel but that was intimate, held 100 guests for the day and - difficult in London - didn't break the bank. The choice in the end was between a gastro pub which has lovely light rooms upstairs and hosts loads of weddings; and our local halls where we have spent many a night at the cinema, yoga classes, dance nights and have an interesting history to them (plus it's on the same bus route as the church so we were going to transport our guests that way!).

    In the end it came down the to fact that the pub was (a) cheaper by about £3000 ; (b) more intimate - my partner was worried we might all rattle around in the halls; and though we liked the idea that we could bring in our own caterers at the halls and have more interesting food options we didn't want the hassle and stress, whereas the pub has a manager who does weddings most weeks of the year so she looks after it all. 

    I had had my eye on a couple of beautiful venues fairly locally but when we enquired they were either just a bit too small or too expensive for what we felt it was sensible to spend.

    Just been to have a look at our venue for the first time in months tonight to measure for decorations and very happy with it. We will keep the halls for quirky fun times in the future!
  • We didn't actually look for a venue. We went for afternoon tea for my 30th birthday and there were flyers for wedding packages on the table. We looked at it and it seemed a really good price. We booked it a few weeks after for just over a year later. 
    We knew what sort of thing we wanted. It was in the lake district where we both love and it has strong links to happy memories for me as a child. It was intimate. And in a stunning location.
  • Ours is a bit different in that we just wanted a party venue.

    Firstly - we picked our ceremony location based on pictures and how well it fitted with our road trip plans. We hadn't been before but it was a good pick and I'd choose the same place again.

    For our venue we wanted a place that had a decent alcohol selection, had some sort of party vibe and plenty of space. We're both big music fans, so it was nice that we found that Yellow Arch did weddings. Everything was customisation, so we asked for rum punch as the welcome drink VS the usual fizz. It was within budget and provided all the furniture, welcome drinks and equipment for the band. Our band loved playing at a real music venue, complete with sound engineer. It was more like a gig meets party then a wedding. The way we looked at it wasn't that the party was for us, it wasn't. We wanted to throw a good party for all our friends and family.
  • That's gutsy, @agatha.wherewedding you even spammed one of the Admin's boards!

  • I had an 'essentials' list and a 'wish list' when it came to venue hunting. 

    - Able to hold the ceremony and reception in the same place since neither of us really wanted a church wedding and it makes logistics easier.
    - An intimate venue as we're having 50-60 guests and I didn't want to feel like the room was only half full.
    - No hideous carpets (this took out a huge amount of options!)
    - Either on-site accommodation or hotels nearby.
    - Ability to offer guests menu choices - I've been that picky eater at a wedding with a set menu and it isn't fun! 
    - Reasonably priced with no hidden extra costs.
    - Neutral décor.

    Wish list
    - Exclusive use.
    - Option to hold the ceremony outside (weather permitting, of course). 
    - Quieter 'down time' areas for taking 10 with new hubby or for older relatives.
    - Pretty landscape/gardens for photography.
    - Recommended suppliers list to cut down on research time.

    Distance wasn't really an issue because our friends/family are spread out across the country so people were going to end up travelling wherever we had it. 
  • MrsGtoBMrsGtoB Posts: 712 New bride
    We wanted somewhere we could have the ceremony and reception at the same venue, with onsite accommodation.  As a venue finder I visit so many venues it really was about how they coped with the extras and if they were flexible.  I didn't want to get stuck in a 'package'.

    We wanted somewhere big enough for our numbers but small enough so it still felt intimate.  As we got married in January we had virtually exclusive use.  Our guests loved this.

    We wanted somewhere we could have a big input in the food choices and put our stamp on it.  Good quality food and drink was a must.

    When I met with the General Manager (at a work event) we chatted about how venues are too quick to say 'No' nowadays and a 'No we can't because....but we could do this...' should be the norm.  It just seemed the perfect fit.  Until they sold the hotel and he left half way through planning! Luckily all our major decisions had been made and we had our perfect day.

    Price was a factor but the more expensive venues we looked at were so inflexible and the food so average and boring.
  • When I started searching for a wedding venue. I didn't know where to start so a friend of mine suggested me to hire a wedding planner who would help in selecting the perfect venue in my locality. It was an online website which provides a perfect vendor list according to your occasion.
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