Help choosing a wedding venue

10 tips on choosing your venue

So much hangs on your choice of wedding venue, it’s really important to make sure you get it right. Choosing your venue will be one of the earliest decisions you’ll make and will have a bearing on virtually everything else – you even need to have your venue booked before you can book your registrar.Problem is, there are so many to choose from. And it’s really easy to see somewhere, fall in love with it, and then find as time goes on that it’s not quite right for what you need. After all, the venue you pick will determine not only the number of guests you can invite, but also the style of your wedding, the suppliers you use and how much of your budget is left for other elements of your wedding – so it’s worth thinking carefully about it rather than just going for the first place you like the look of. Booking your venue is a big commitment, so think of it rather like you would if you’re buying a house; location and the space it provides are important of course, but there are many other questions you need to ask yourselves before you can decide whether it’s exactly what you’re looking for.Staffordshire has a great many venues to choose from, and is rightly a very popular destination for anybody looking to get married in idyllic rural surroundings. In fact, on average we hold over 3000 weddings every year – which means our experts know a thing or two about making sure everything goes smoothly.So whether you’ve already got your dream venue in mind or have seen so many you’ve gone ‘venue-blind’, we’ve put together a list of the key points you need to think about when looking for the best venue for you and your partner to help you narrow down your search.

1. What kind of wedding will it be?

Let’s start with the most fundamental question: are you planning a civil ceremony in a registration office, county building or an approved venue? Do you want to have your reception at the same venue or choose a different place?

2. How many are you planning to invite?

Whether you’re planning daytime and evening celebrations or a simple gathering, you’ll need to make sure your venue will comfortably hold the number of people you expect to be there.

3. Think about the location.

This isn’t just a case of the venue being in pleasant surroundings – you’ll need it to be convenient for you and your guests to get to, and if many of them are travelling some distance, you’ll need to about transport links and hotels nearby. Some venues have accommodation available.

4. What’s the style/theme for your wedding?

You might want to choose a venue that compliments that. Your choice of venue can also influence things like your dress, the decor/styling and even the entertainment. For example, if you’re looking for something grand and impressive, a listed building such as County Buildings might work; for a modern/contemporary/rustic feel, (Heaton House Farm or Hanbury Wedding Barn) might be perfect; or if you love the outdoors, many of our venues are approved to hold outdoor ceremonies, such as (Trentham Gardens) or (Blithfield Lakeside Barns).

5. How much do you want to spend?

Budget will play a big part in choosing your venue – it’s easy to get carried away as you’re looking round, so start out with an idea of how much you can afford before you go. Many have special offers for less popular dates.

6. Catering to your taste.

Do you have a preference for a certain type of cuisine? You might prefer the convenience of in-house catering, or maybe want to bring in something more unique. And some venues offer a ‘no corkage’ option, which can greatly affect the cost of the wine you provide.

7. Think about suppliers.

If you have certain suppliers you’d like to use – like your photographer, a live band or other entertainment – you may need to check it out with the venue – some will insist you use their recommended suppliers.

8. Wedding planners.

Some venues provide an in-house wedding coordinator to help you on your journey with them at no extra cost – which can prove invaluable in getting everything organised. If you require a more personalised service, you can book your own wedding planner which will support you from the beginning to your wedding day.

9. Availability.

It might seem obvious, but one of the first things to ask is whether they have availability for your ideal date. Popular suppliers can be booked 2 years in advance.

10. Get the vibe.

Finally, after you’ve considered all the practical questions, make sure the venue ‘feels’ right for the both of you. If it does, book it.We have a long list of approved venues, a few local registration offices and county buildings, which includes something for everyone – to search for ones that might be ideal, just use our advanced search tool which allows you to put in capacity, type, style and location to bring up the best options for you.