Choosing your wedding venue
When it comes to wedding planning decisions, choosing the perfect wedding venue to suit your tastes and budget is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make. Not only do you have to consider the venue location and size, the catering and accommodation for your guests, you’ll also need to research, visit countless venues and consider whether they are just right for the wedding of your dreams.
The search for wedding venues can be whittled down if you know what kind of wedding you want. If you’re hitting the road to ‘I do’, with no idea of what kind of wedding venue would suit your tastes, this guide can help. We have compiled together some of the most popular wedding venue types and who it would be suitable for. Time is of the essence when it comes to wedding planning, so with no further delays – let’s get to it!
Outdoor wedding venues
When it comes to outdoor wedding venues, the possibilities are endless. Ranging from a garden wedding to beach and barn weddings, if you’re a bride that’s at one with nature, this type of wedding venue is for you. Hear the birds singing in a garden full of English blooms or listen to the sound of waves crashing on the beach as you tie the knot, followed by dancing the night away under the stars or next to a campfire. So, swap your wedding shoes for cowboy boots or flip-flops and get hitched in the great outdoors.
Outdoor wedding venues are perfect for you if:
- You love nature and the outdoors.
- You are keen to do whatever is needed in case of bad weather.
- You’re not fussy about decor.
- You want more freedom in customising your wedding venue.
- You’re open to a humanist or spiritualist ceremony if need be.
Start your search for outdoor wedding venues here.
Hotel wedding venues
Hotel wedding venues come with all the mod cons, often boasting luxurious rooms, on-site catering and acres of breathtaking grounds, with expert staff on hand catering to your every whim and desire. Plenty of hotels offer easily customisable wedding packages to make wedding planning as easy as possible, and your guests can easily retire to their rooms after dancing the night away only to meet you for a delicious breakfast the next morning.
Hotel wedding venues are perfect for you if:
- You’re having a destination wedding, or have lots of guests travelling from far away.
- You want on-site catering.
- You’re planning a big wedding with a large reception.
- You want to easily provide your guests with accommodation.
- You’d like a wedding co-ordinator to help you with the logistics.
Start your search for hotel wedding venues here.
Barn wedding venues
Barns are a classic choice for an English wedding, as we have so many beautiful barn wedding venues throughout the UK. With their gorgeous rustic feel and wooden interiors, barns are perfect for couples who want something relaxed yet romantic. Enjoy the countryside views, beams strewn with fairy lights and bunting and beautiful photo opportunities, all while enjoying modern heating and sound systems.
Barn wedding venues are perfect for you if:
- You love everything vintage.
- You’re a fan of the countryside.
- You want flexibility when it comes to the reception and ceremony set-up.
- You want something that works in every season.
Start your search for barn wedding venues here.
Country house wedding venues
For glamorous brides who want to feel like something out of a fairytale, you can’t go wrong with an elegant country house wedding venue. Country houses and stately homes have stunning spaces for both wedding ceremonies and receptions, so if you’ve always dreamed of tying the knot in a picture gallery or orangery before retiring to the grounds for cocktails and an evening reception in the ballroom, then a country house may be the ideal wedding venue for you.
Country house wedding venues are perfect for you if:
- You’ve always wanted a fairytale wedding day
- You want an outdoor element to your reception
- Light, airy spaces appeal to you
- You want a variety of locations for your photos
- You want a small amount of luxury accommodation
Start your search for country house wedding venues here.
Unique wedding venues
When it comes to unique weddings, the world is your oyster. From treehouse weddings, zoos and museums, to football grounds, theatres and botanical gardens, the sky truly is the limit. These weddings are for the gutsy brides, who want to defy the norm and go against the grain. Non-traditional weddings are a great way to switch things up and ensure that your guests will buzz about your wedding for the years to come.
Unique wedding venues are perfect for you if:
- You want something different and memorable.
- You have a creative and quirky personality.
- DIY doesn’t scare you.
- You’re happy to travel further afield to get the venue of your dreams.
Start your search for unique wedding venues here.
Destination wedding venues
If you want to say ‘hasta la vista’, as you jet away somewhere exotic for the biggest day of your life, destination weddings are for you. From the magnificent gold temples of Thailand and the sun-kissed beaches of Mexico, to the natural beauty of the Seychelles and Mauritius, these weddings are for the adventurous brides. From safari weddings and underwater vows, you will feel like you’re in a fairytale.
Destination wedding venues are perfect for you if:
- You’re a lover of travel.
- You don’t mind having a smaller wedding.
- You want intimacy and luxury.
- You’ve been married before and want something different.
- You’ve considered eloping.
What to consider when choosing your wedding venue
Now, that you have an idea of what kind of wedding would suit your tastes, you can start to narrow down the search with practical considerations. Here’s a handy list of questions to ask your wedding venue to make sure it’s the perfect place for you:
Obviously it’s important that you find a wedding venue in the right location! Discuss with your partner (and potentially your families) how far you’re willing to travel from your home to find the perfect venue. Do you want to return to your childhood home, or maybe get married in a place that means a lot to you both? Do you want to plan a destination wedding and head abroad or to the coast? Once you’ve gotten a rough location decided, you can then whittle down the search.
Is it licensed?
If you’re planning a civil ceremony then be sure to check whether the venue holds the appropriate license – which includes special licenses for outdoor weddings, too. Outdoor weddings in England and Wales need to take place under a structure with a foundation, so if you want to get married out in the open (such as in a garden, on a beach or in a wood), then you’ll either need to marry in Scotland, where this is legal, or you’ll need to have a humanist ceremony and follow up with a register office at a later date.
What’s the capacity?
Who’s on your guest list? There’s no point considering a venue which can’t accommodate all your guests! Before you visit your dream venue, be sure to check their capacity, both for ceremonies and receptions. Equally, you don’t want to choose a space that’s far too big for your guest list, otherwise the space will end up feeling empty.
What are the catering options?
If you are looking to hire independent caterers then this is something that should be checked with your prospective venue. As a rule, if they have in-house or recommended caterers, you will be obliged to use them, so if you feel strongly about hiring a specific kind of caterer, this may narrow your list down.
Do you have exclusivity?
If you’re planning a wedding weekend or just want a little extra privacy, then it’s always worth asking the venue about exclusive use. Whilst many venues offer exclusivity, there may be an additional charge, or you may need to block book a certain amount of accommodation.
How long can you party?
If you’re planning to dance the night away until the early hours, then make sure you ask what time the venue can keep the bar open and music playing. Some venues will charge for extra hours, while some will have a strict limit due to noise restrictions. Be sure to ask about noise limiters, and consider a silent disco if you want to keep the dancing going.
Is there a coordinator?
Does the venue offer a coordinator to assist you with your planning, or to help on the day? Plenty of venues will have a contact or planner who will liaise with you during the planning process, but it’s important to ascertain how involved they will be with the day-of co-ordination.
How can we dress the venue?
If you’re keen to add personal touches to your wedding day decor then remember to ask what the venue already includes. You can then plan any additional extras. For example, does the venue have a choice of table centrepieces or aisle runners? Some venues will also have restrictions on items like lit candles or pinning items to walls.
Is there accommodation?
Many guests will be keen to stay overnight after a long night of partying! Ask the venue about accommodation options and discounts for wedding guests. If your venue doesn’t offer accommodation, then ask for a list of nearby suggestions to check out.
What’s their reputation?
Check out reviews from other brides who have used the same venue. Reviews are a great way of seeing what level of customer service you could expect to receive – so be sure to look up your venue in our Venue Finder to check out what other brides think!