I have been wedding planning a lot lately but I still think to this day that by far the most stressful element of the planning process was trying to find a venue.
We had a small criteria which included:
Small with character
Rooms for people to stay
Not too expensive (£5000 max)
Pretty reasonable right? We thought so too but finding the right venue proved to be annoyingly difficult to the point that I very nearly gave up hope altogether.
When we started looking around I thought it would be an easy and enjoyable process of strolling around venues and wedding fairs but this couldn’t have been more wrong. The first venue we visited (I’m not going to name names) had an open day in which I felt extremely out of place and uncomfortable. Let’s just say that people were a bit wealthier than us and made that very clear. Needless to say we left within 20 minutes and never looked back.
After this occasion I decided that Emailing potential venues was the way to go. This allowed me to eliminate all potentially awkward conversations regarding budget etc or so I thought. It turns out that you have to be very clear on what you are looking for and what you are willing to spend for it. Venues will try to convince you that an extra £1000 here and there is no big deal and it can be really disheartening and a waste of time for both parties. Three times we visited venues who basically laughed at our budget after being very clear from the first Email. Let me tell you, it’s no fun looking through majestic rooms and being told that all you can afford is the back room that holds the broom and mop.
Another annoyance of the whole process was the continuous “improvements” venue owners decided we needed. When you aren’t one for confrontation, it’s a little difficult putting your foot down without feeling embarrassed. Of course this isn’t aimed at all venue owners, some were lovely and very understanding. It’s just what we saw from our own experiences.
Our chosen venue was one we very nearly missed out on. Sure I emailed and the wedding planner appeared to be very approachable and understanding but by this point I was ready to give up. This could be the venue tour to finally break me. Thankfully as you can guess, it was the most beautiful and comforting location and we were listened to in every detail. The budget wasn’t laughed at and small details we changed to suit us. That was how it should’ve been from the start.
We are now six months away from our big day and I have been dreaming of the venue ever since. If I have learned anything from our experience though, it’s this:
1. Don’t budge or be swayed. Stick to your guns and don’t be afraid to say that a particular idea isn’t for you. As long as you are polite, venue owners should understand.
2. Know your budget to the exact limit. It can be easy to keep adding extras without really adding up the costs.
3. Make a list of everything you want, need and can compromise on. This helped us especially when keeping within our budget. As it turns out, we ended up with a ceremony, reception, food and a few drinks for our agreed budget and we couldn’t be happier.
Are you planning a wedding? Congratulations! I hope this post helps make your venue search a little more enjoyable and stress free.