By Erika Unbehaun, Flutterfly Events

The most exciting and rewarding part of planning an event is seeing everything come together on the day. One of the most challenging parts of planning a wedding is finding the right venue. You should decide what type of venue you want before drawing up a shortlist. Some popular types of venues in the UK are historic building, hotels, museums and marquees – each bringing different experiences, rules, and regulations.

Before embarking on your venue hunt create a checklist with the following questions and take them along with you:

Questions for the venue:

  • What’s the hire period? Can we get a late license?
  • Do we have exclusive use of the venue?
  • Can I bring my own suppliers or do you have a preferred supplier list?
  • Are there any restrictions on food and beverage?
  • Any noise restrictions?
  • Do I need to hire a dance floor?
  • Are tables, chairs, linen and tableware included in the fee?
  • Can we bring our own alcohol?
  • Is there onsite parking?
  • Are you handicap accessible?
  • Can you accommodate children?
  • Are candles allowed?
  • Do we have a private events entrance?
  • Is there a cloakroom?  Is it staffed?
  • Is there a room for the bride to get ready in if required?
  • Do you have overnight accommodation?
  • Is a food tasting included?
  • Can I store supplies at the venue the day before and after the event?
  • Is VAT included in the price?
  • Is staff gratuity included?
  • What time can I arrive on site to set up?

Top Tips: Historic Wedding Venue

  • Make sure you’re aware of any restrictions. Many historic venues don’t allow open flames, chocolate fountains, ice luges, confetti or certain entertainment, due to risk of damage.
  • While the hire fee may be more for a historic venue, the decoration costs tend to be lower because the interior is grand and ornate.
  • Many historic venues have elaborate colour schemes so plan your colour theme around the venue to avoid any clashes.
  • Ask the venue manager which rooms you’ll have access to on the wedding day. While you might have exclusive hire of the venue, one or two rooms might be off-limits.

Top Tips: Hotel Wedding Venue

  • Hotels make for great events but they don’t offer exclusive hire and you may bump into hotel guests. Ask the venue manager where you’re allowed to take photographers both indoors and outdoors. When looking outdoors, does this provide a nice backdrop?
  • Will you and your guests have a private entrance and exit so you don’t see hotel guests?
  • Ask the hotel if they have ever scheduled two weddings on the same day.

Top Tips: Museum Wedding Venue

  • Ask the event manager about any limitations such as open flames, music, entertainment, alcohol and flowers. Museums carry heavy restrictions as risk of damage can be high.
  • Find out when you have access to the venue. Most museums are open to the public until 6pm which means you cannot access the building until 6-6.30pm.
  • Due to short turnaround times from closing the museum to the public to opening the doors to a private event, museums have a strict policy on which vendors can work there. Book your museum venue first before hiring any vendors

Top Tips: Marquee Wedding Venue

  • Is there a cark park nearby and a walkway for guests to access to the marquee?
  • Seriously consider hiring a generator to help power the caterering equipment, band equipment and toilets.
  • Hire security to keep an eye on the marquee the evening before the event. The fees for the security staff are miniscule in comparison to the damage that can be done.

Once you’re ready to book a venue you need to be confident and happy with the staff, hire period, access times and catering services.  If possible, try to have a food tasting before signing the contract so you’re not tied in to a caterer you’re not satisfied with.  The worst that will happen is you pay for the food tasting. Get everything in writing and enjoy your day!