Securing a wedding venue is usually the best place to start for any couple and ensuring you choose the perfect venue for you is so important, as it will set the tone for the rest of the day. Using Wedding Planner’s search functionality, you can view a wide range of different wedding venue styles across the UK along with all their prices and availability. We have so many different styles to choose from such as castles and barns, to manor houses, hotels and even pubs. You can compare venues by capacity, corkage and types of ceremonies offered along with lots of other key information.
With all the details in front of you make sure you think about if the venue suits your theme, if it’s big enough to accommodate your guests and what you are actually getting for your money. A lot of wedding venues don’t have ceremony licenses, so you’ll need to factor in the cost of your ceremony at a separate location if this is the case. Once you’ve made your decision you’ll need to get things booked quickly, as many wedding venues get booked by couples well over 12 months in advance. It is always worth considering flexibility around day and time of year as you may be able to get a better deal and have a stronger negotiating position. We also recommend building a strong relationship with your wedding coordinator at the venue as they are in the position to make your wedding planning that little bit easier. For more information on hiring venues and questions to consider, take a look at Wedding Planner’s inspiration section or get in touch with us directly for our top wedding venue recommendations in your area.
We’ve compiled the key questions that we recommend you ask your venue when viewing and before you book.
1) Is the date available?
The most obvious question. You may need to be flexible on dates if you have your heart set on a specific venue. Venues are booked long in advance so your preferred date may already be taken. There are however advantages to being flexible as you might be able to secure a deal if you book your preferred venue for a different date. It’s quite common for venues to offer cheaper packages during the week for wedings.
2) What’s the capacity of the venue?
While you’re unlikely to have finalized your guest list, you will probably have a rough idea of how many guests you would like. Make sure you ask about capacity and find out if this varies for the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. Are you able to have extra guests join in the evening?
3) Is the venue licensed?
From April 2019 the rules will be changing across England and Wales enabling many more venues and outdoor spaces to be licensed for wedding ceremonies. Previously this was more of an issue as you may not legally be able to get married at the same venue where you are hosting the party. Still, it is important to establish where exactly in the venue the ceremony will take place and what’s the capacity for the ceremony. If you are getting married at a religious venue then also worth checking out how far away your preferred reception venue is from your ceremony venue.
4) Who’s the main point of contact?
Understanding how “hands on” the team at the venue are is crucial. Do you need to hire a separate wedding planner to support you? If there is a wedding planner at the venue supporting you through the planning process, will that same person be there on the day of your wedding to help oversee the whole event? Will the contact be able to provide good recommendations of local suppliers or are there strict rules about bringing in suppliers and caterers who don’t have an existing relationship with the venue? If the contact is quite involved in the build up to the wedding day then make sure it is someone you feel you really get on well with and you feel that they will offer valuable input.
5) The big bash question
Once the venue have provided a breakdown of the costs, here is your opportunity to try and negotiate on the price. It’s always worth finding out if there is any flexibility and what can you do to enable there to be some flexibility. Remember to check if VAT is included in the price and whether there are any extra hidden costs like cleaning or extra staffing. Finally, check what payment options they offer and what’s the cancellation policy. Many venues will return your deposit in full if you cancel early enough.
We regularly survey our brides and the average cost of a wedding venue in the UK including venue hire and food is between £4,000 and £6,000. As expected the costs are higher in London and the Southeast and tend to be slightly less in the north of England.