Problems finding a venue!!

Im currently trying to find a venue where we can take our own food and alcohol, really struggling!! My partner is african and we need to provide food/drink for the whole evening, we cant afford an open bar so i want to find a place that still nice for a wedding reception/can be dressed up nice where i can then buy our own alcohol and bring in african food. We live in stoke on trent and really struggling!!! Please help


  • As a venue ourselves we would NOT allow anyone to bring their own food and drink on the premises - drink yes, we would charge corkage, but food, no - all manner of Food Hygiene laws / issues. What if someone had a reaction to food served? Consider that any commercial catering supplier needs to comply with allergies / food hygiene regulations, reams of paperwork etc. That said there are venues that only hire themselves out (often at some considerable cost) and then leave you to self-cater, but most will probably have in their terms and conditions some stipulations about food suppliers and their Food Hygiene rating etc. If you search for Barns for hire you might find something.  I know of a barn near me in Dorset that hires itself out for childrens parties and would have no issue with self catering etc (they even have their own barbecue equipment you can hire). So instead of wedding venues, try 'barns for hire' or even look for childrens party venues (they will have no interest in alcohol sales etc). 

    In our area some old castles hire themselves out and do not offer any catering or bar (so you supply your own). An example from our own analysis of competing castles includes Fonmon Castle who offfer Venue hire only. All Couples must use external caterers and must provide their own wine with a £5pp corkage. But their venue hire is around £3,000 so this might not interest you (at that rate you could get an all inclusive package for 50 guests at many venues). The problem you have is that you are depriving the venue of their income (from wet and dry sales) and you may struggle. You could also search on Google for 'self-catering wedding venues' but will then be paying a venue hire fee. Martin
  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,619 New bride
    Your options are going to church halls, village halls or social clubs - there are some nice ones out there. It's far easier and cheaper when hiring a hall to get an outside bar in and then get guests to buy their own drinks. You can then do the food. Most 'nicer' venues will already have their own catering and bar arrangements in place.
  • ArriettyArrietty Posts: 21 New bride
    Could you find a venue that's nice but allows you to bring outside caterers, then hire a professional catering company to do the food rather than bringing your own? 
  • GinAndBlingGinAndBling Posts: 1,281 New bride
    Our venue offers a dry hire option- Brooksby Hall in Leicester so not worlds away from Stoke on Trent. They need you to provide insurances and food hygience certificates for whoever will be responsible for bringing in the food. They don't charge corkage if you use that option. 
    Our planning thread: We're completely winging it.

    My weightloss thread: Diet denial! 
  • The Heath House in Tean is 10 miles outside of Stoke on Trent and is a beautiful Manor House with a marquee in the grounds that allows you to source your own catering (not sure if that is both professional catering company and your own food cooked at home by friends and family or just professional caterers. Most possibly the later for health and safety and insurance purposes.)

    I have not been there but seen photos and it looks lovely so that could be a possibility for you. 

    If you search for 'fusion weddings' or 'Asian wedding venue' that might bring up some venues that will allow outside catering. A lot of venues have started to allow outside catering in marquees to cater for Asian weddings. If they can allow outside catering for Asian weddings I guess they would do the same for African weddings? 

    If you find a venue you like it might be worthwhile emailing them to see if they allow outside catering as just because its not on their website doesn't mean they don't offer that option.  

    Good Luck in your search.

  • StrawberriesStrawberries Posts: 242 New bride
    I'm in the same boat. I'm Nigerian and my fiance in English. We want to marry in Cambridge or Rugby but difficult finding a reception venue that will allow us bring our caterer.
  • SheffBrideySheffBridey Posts: 27 New bride
    @Strawberries could you speak to a local caterer that does the sort of food you’re looking for and ask them about the venues they’ve catered at before to get an idea of where allows it? You might need to move away from the more traditional wedding venues as catering is a big income stream or the ones who offer external caterer options usually have an approved list in my experience, but hopefully you’ll find somewhere suitable. 
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