Picking the Perfect Wedding Venue?
2020 started with news that a local wedding venue had cancelled a booking because the owner wasn’t happy to accommodate a same sex wedding. Worst of all, it was cancelled only a few weeks out, isn’t this every couple’s worst nightmare?
This caused the couple a tremendous amount of upset and stress.
I would never be so indiscreet as to name the venue, though I am sure you could probably work it out based on where my business is located and some Google searches. I will say this though; I was overwhelmed and somewhat proud at how people reacted to the news when it was splashed all over social media.
Men and women of all sexualities united to share their anger that a couple could be treated in this way. Apparently, the reason for the cancellation was that it went against the owner’s beliefs and core values so I was shocked when the owner retracted his cancellation and said that the couple could get married in his venue after all.
The cynic in me says that he forgot all about his deeply rooted values as soon as it became clear that he had irreparably damaged his venue’s reputation and lost future business, and once he saw how outraged people were. I’m sure the comments on his Facebook page would not have been that complimentary.
Luckily there is a happy ending and a wedding did take place. Their catering supplier is well connected, and they were able to secure another venue within 24 hours.
Anyway, enough of the negative ranting…
You’re loved up and can’t wait to find the perfect venue to formalize your commitment to each other, so let’s have a think about how to ensure you get the right wedding venue for you, and one that will not leave you high and dry at the last minute but instead respect you and your wishes and support them without judgement.
Of course, the first point of call should be to check through the venues listed right here on the G-Wedding Directory. Venues on the directory have been vetted to ensure they not only welcome same sex couples, but that they also promote a fully inclusive ethos. Venues are being added all the time, so do keep checking back regularly for new members.
If the dream venue has not popped up on the directory yet, then it’s time to get out and about to find it (or allow me the pleasure to help you). Maybe when you do come across it, you could suggest they get listed to allow everyone to find them!
Unfortunately, it’s not just as simple as finding the prettiest venue that catches your eye. There are various criteria to consider and questions to ask. So, to make it that little bit easier, I offer you my top tips;
1 – Location
The very first thought should be the region (or country) you wish to get married. There are a number of elements to think about here;
Where are your family & friends based?
What is your guest’s mobility restrictions?
What is the public transport link, do they enable a hassle-free day?
Why is this part of the world special to you and your partner?
It’s all very well and good choosing a magical venue but if no one can get there because of the expense or logistics, the day will lose its sparkle. You also need to consider whether accommodation is available either on site or nearby. Again, price could be a factor here. You may have saved up for this once in a lifetime event but have your guests done the same?
If you are looking at a destination wedding, these questions are even more important.
2 – Budget
For some, money really isn’t an issue, but does it mean the wedding is any more special than one which costs less? I would say not.
Your wedding will be special because of the people you choose to share it with – see my previous blog on who to invite for inspiration. It should be special because of the vows you make to one another as you embark on the next chapter of your life together.
Of course, who am I to judge if you want pink unicorns pulling a pumpkin coach, or a llama as the Best Man but work within your means and spend your budget wisely. Think about what spends will provide you and your guests with the best experience – albeit recognizing your own objectives. Could it be food is the priority or entertainment? Do you want to be paying for the wedding in 10 years’ time or would it make much more sense to be able to afford to celebrate your 10th wedding anniversary with a romantic holiday to that destination on your joint bucket list?
Don’t forget that the more expensive the venue hire is, the more expense you are likely to incur with décor, catering and transport. It’s all relative. When you enquire at a venue, make sure you fully understand what is included with the package and what extras you will need to pay for. With this in mind, do not feel that you have to employ the venue’s preferred suppliers. They may be on the preferred list because they have paid to be there rather than because they have earned respect and trust of the venue management. If your venue insist that you are contractually obliged to use their suppliers, it should sound alarm bells. There is probably a financial gain for the venue and supplier.
Ultimately, before you start choosing venues, you need to set a maximum budget. Of course, add in some flex for unforeseen costs but try to stick to the plan. My next blog is going to be on how to budget for your wedding so do keep a look out for that.
3 – Visit Twice or Thrice
It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of venue hunting, and if you visit when the venue has an open day, it will of course be dressed to impress. Go back a second, or even a third time before you sign on the line to get a feel for the full customer experience. Just turn up unannounced and see if the venue delivers the same service level they portrayed when they knew you were visiting.
Ask lots of questions and make notes as you look around. You wouldn’t buy a house without checking who your neighbour was or asking the agent what the cost of running the home was going to be and you shouldn’t go into a wedding contract without applying the same diligence.
Take plenty of photos and compare them to the other venues you have seen when you get home. Trust me, things will be a lot clearer when you sit down with a cuppa.
Reviews will tell you a lot about a venue and I would definitely suggest you read them. Just be sure to take a measured approach and don’t let one bad experience in a long list of great weddings put you off. Remember, people are not always in a hurry to submit positive feedback, but they will outrun Usain Bolt to let everyone know when things have not gone to plan.
Finally – Hire a Wedding Planner
Many Wedding Planners offer Venue Sourcing services. For a fixed fee, they will shortlist a selection of venues based on your answers to the above questions. This will save you a lot of time, and in this modern world, time is precious.
Take the Wedding Planner along with you for the venue tours. They will have an open mind and ask the questions you may not have thought to ask. You are emotionally charged at this point, but they are thinking of the logistics of getting in, setting up and delivering a day to remember.
You may have decided that you don’t need a Wedding Planner and you want to do everything yourself. Good on you if that’s the case but it’s worth knowing that many Wedding Planners offer their services on an hourly basis so having one you can call on when you need another pair of eyes or an expert opinion is advised. There is so much to think of, plan and do when planning a wedding. Don’t let the operational stresses be the dampener on your day. Allow someone else to do the work to enable you to relax and enjoy this special time with your guests. Wouldn’t you rather be at the heart of the party, rather than the looker in?
Festoon Event Planning offers an event planning service that is cost effective and suited to your budget and needs. Whether it be simple guidance and direction you need, or a full management service, Festoon is here to help you.
With contacts in all locations, Festoon will always be there for your site visits, no matter how many times you wish to go.
I hope you have found this blog useful. If you have any suggestions for topics you would like me to cover in future, please feel free to get in touch via my profile page, or email me via email@example.com
Until next time, happy wedding planning!
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