Selecting the venue for your dream wedding is one of the most important decisions you will make and plays a vital role in the success of your whole day. With such high stakes, it’s important couples choose something that is perfect for both their personalities and requirements. No pressure!!
With so many choices out there, however, it’s not surprising that many couples can end up feeling overwhelmed. Wedding sites and blogs are a fantastic source of inspiration, but can also leave you feeling overloaded with information.
So where do you start? Take a deep breath and then read this blog, for some top tips that will help steer you down the path to your perfect wedding venue.
This will be governed by the size of your guest list and what you want to happen on the day. Calculate some rough numbers right at the outset therefore so you can immediately reduce your options – too small and your guests will be elbowing each other over their canapes whereas somewhere too big will lose that all-important sense of intimacy.
According to research from Bridebook, the average number of guests invited to a wedding is 78, with an average of 98 evening guests (pre-pandemic obviously). Bear in mind that many venues can boost capacity with a marquee, so don’t be too quick to write off attractive venues that could initially look too small. Here at the manor, we have a magnificent Carlton Tipi, which provides a stunning canvas for you to put your own creative stamp on and can hold up to 200 guests.
It can be very hard to judge how your guests will occupy a space by looking at empty rooms, so check out if venues you are interested in have a wedding open day scheduled (once restrictions lift) or ask to see photos or a seating plan of the room at capacity. We can provide you with images of how our venue can look fully set up, so you can easily visualise how you would occupy the space on the day.
If you are getting married at a church or registry office then you need to consider how far you are happy for your guests to travel between the wedding and reception venue and factor this into your search.
If you are looking for a licensed venue then it opens up your options considerably, with 63% of couples choosing to have their wedding ceremony at their reception venue, according to Bridebook. In this case, roughly map out where your guests are coming from – is there a general locality or are guests coming from far and wide? If it’s the latter then good road and rail connections will be more of a factor. You may even need easy access to an airport if guests are coming from overseas.
If most guests are staying overnight then you need to ensure there is a range of affordable accommodation nearby or onsite. Carlton Manor has eight flawlessly refurbished bedrooms but is very close to historic Beverley, with a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budget ranges.
Depending on what time of year you are getting married, you may want to factor in accessibility in bad weather – getting married in the Scottish Highlands in December may not be the best combination for example!
The factor that is always there to rain on your parade! Your venue and catering will account for anything up to 50% of your wedding budget, according to differing data online, so unless you want to compromise on other elements of your spending, it’s important you stick within the parameters that you have set.
You may have a greater choice of venues if you are willing to consider a mid-week wedding, however, as these are generally more negotiable in terms of price and often have a lower minimum guest number. An off-season date will also give you more options.
Find out exactly what is included within the venue’s wedding package and ensure that you identify any extra charges for other elements you may want to include or costs such as corkage if you are supplying your own wine, as these can all add up. A bit like some budget airline flights, an attractive basic price can quickly diminish once you have added all the extras.
Many wedding sites offer a useful budget spreadsheet, to help you keep track of what you are spending on all the different areas, such as this sheet from Wedinspire.
Traditional or modern, bohemian or trendy, it’s essential that your venue is reflective of your personalities as a couple. Ensure you stay true to yourself or your day just won’t feel authentic, so don’t go all Bridgerton if you are normally very low-key and informal.
The more you choose a venue that already reflects the kind of wedding you want to have, the less decorating and extras you will need to factor in to achieve your vision. If you’re thinking glamorous and modern then a boutique hotel venue might be right up your street, whereas if you want to channel more of a festival vibe, why not check out your nearest barn venues? Venue finding tools can be very useful here, such as the one on the Weddingplanner.co.uk site, which offers a range of edited collections ranging from castles to pub venues, civil ceremony licensed and coastal to an ‘alternative’ collection that includes caves, ships and even train stations! The Bridebook report states that the most popular choice for a wedding venue in 2019 was a country or manor house, with 26% of couples choosing this option.
Here at Carlton Manor, history and luxury intertwine to create a magical and indulgent backdrop for your perfect day. Although we can recommend trusted local suppliers, our venue is ideal for couples who want that total freedom to do things their own way and our magnificent 8-bedroom manor house offers the perfect backdrop to bring your unique vision to life.
These are your non-negotiables and will help cut down your list of contenders. This can include things such as being civil-ceremony licensed, having on-site accommodation or allowing things like fireworks or live music. Hitched.co.uk’s venue finding tool includes numerous filters for your requirements, such as disabled facilities, if a marquee is available, whether confetti is allowed or even having a helipad!
If privacy is one of your must-haves, we only ever offer exclusive hire, so a Carlton Manor wedding is shared with your loved ones alone.
If your day is all taking place at a single venue, you need to consider the shape of your day against the space available. Are you planning to get married inside or outside? What is their contingency against the unpredictable British weather? If you have exclusive venue hire, how do you ensure you keep guests where you need them and don’t lose people in different rooms, making the whole day seem disjointed?
If your main aim is to throw a massive party then your focus will be on the reception space, the sound system and lighting and whether the bar facilities are sufficient, whereas for some couples it’s all about the outside space offering the perfect backdrop for photos.
We offer the benefit of a fully licensed venue, removing all travel-related stress from your day and we can cater for up to 150 guests with the addition of our magnificent tepee. Nestled in two acres of secluded East Yorkshire countryside, we have plenty of outdoor and inside space, so you don’t have to worry about disturbing the neighbours. We have lots of exciting plans for the future, so speak to our friendly team about any of your requirements and we’ll always see what we can do.
Experience of others
It’s generally a good idea to read reviews and recommendations of your prospective venues to see how their day went and to ensure their wedding service is five star. If you are not already signed up to a wedding forum, these can be a great platform to get feedback. It’s also really helpful to see how your potential wedding venue looks during an actual wedding day, so try searching your venue plus ‘wedding’ online or finding photographers that have worked there via social platforms.
Ensure you keep an eye on recent refurbishments or changes of ownership and don’t discount new venues, as they will be working especially hard to build up a great reputation. Having recently taken over and lovingly renovated Carlton Manor, ensuring our guests have the best experience is our number one priority.
Visit one more time
When you finally think you have found ‘the one’, it’s a good idea to go back and visit it again before you sign on the dotted line. Does it still seem as perfect as you thought? Try and meet the people from the venue who would be involved in your day before signing the contract and ensure you feel at ease with everyone.
We have a small team who are always on hand to answer your queries, so you have the benefit of speaking to the same people from start to finish.
Nothing, of course, works without ‘the feeling’ you get when you visit your perfect venue, but if you apply these tips first then you can ensure that everything in your shortlist fulfils your requirements and can safely leave the rest of the decision-making down to your heart.
For more information about a wedding at Carlton Manor, please get in touch using the contact form below.