When and where should I get married?
If you’ve just got engaged … CONGRATULATIONS!
Your wedding day is one of the biggest and momentous days of your life, and for me, being a bride and planning my own wedding was one of the most amazing and enjoyable times of ‘my’ life. However, planning a wedding can feel very daunting as there seems to be so much to do!
Do not fear, ‘All Things Bridal’ is here to help!
One of the first things you and your partner must decide on is your budget. This might be a very tricky conversation to have but you NEED to have it early on as it will determine EVERYTHING. Once you have discussed and agreed your budget, start a ‘Wedding Spreadsheet’. Boring I know but it keeps check on monies spent and will hopefully prevent you from over-spending!
You now need to decide WHEN you would like to get married?
Some like a long engagement as it allows you time to save; others prefer a shorter engagement especially, if you have been together for a long time already. I for one had a short engagement and was married 10 months after I got engaged! It all comes down to the individual.
Another factor that will determine when you get married is your preferred time of year? Some like getting married in the Spring when everything starts to blossom. Others prefer the Summer in the hope for glorious weather. The Autumn brings autumnal sunshine and lots of rich golden colours, whilst the winter months often offer bright, crisp days and even snow … which is beautiful in itself.
Your budget may even determine the time of year you get married as getting married in November or January will definitely be cheaper than getting married in May or July. Whatever date you decide on, choose a date that is right for YOU!
Once you have decided the time of year you’d like to get married and a few possible dates, you’re ready to start researching venues! This is such an exciting part of planning your wedding. Researching venues is something that you and your partner can do “together”. Although I would suggest that you decide a set of criteria that includes what is important to you BOTH, and what neither of you are prepared to compromise on BEFORE you start. It’ll save arguments later!
For me, I wanted to have my horse at my wedding … I know it sounds bonkers but, he is a huge part of my life, so we needed to find a venue that was “horse-friendly” and we did! Quite a few in fact!
Here are some things you might want to consider when choosing ‘your’ venue … Firstly, do you want to get married in a church or are you happy to get married in a registry office?
Do you want a Civil Ceremony at a venue of your choice? Do you want your entire wedding day all in one place or are you looking to have your Wedding Reception at a different venue to your Wedding Service? Would you even consider getting married outdoors?!
Perhaps if you’re looking for something a little more extravagant, is there a possibility that you could get married abroad? Although this can often work out cheaper as it reduces numbers in most cases. And finally, for those of you planning your wedding on a tight budget, could you possibly hold your Wedding Reception in your garden?
Whatever your criteria, research multiple options to find your perfect venue, don’t just go with the first thing you see, there is so much choice available!
Other factors that you may wish to consider when choosing your wedding venue are, do you have a maximum distance you AND your guests have to travel? For example, do you want it to be within an hour’s drive of your family home or no more than 40 miles from where an elderly relative lives, as it is essential to you and your Fiancé that they attend your wedding?
Equally as important is, how big do you want your wedding to be, and I mean in terms of numbers? Are you someone who wants a small wedding with only your family and close friends present? Or do you want to have a BIG wedding and invite everyone you know?!
Whichever takes your fancy, decide approximate numbers before you start to view venues, as obviously you’ll need to accommodate all of your guests however many you decide to have. If your preferred venue can only accommodate a small number of guests for the ceremony, is it an option to invite most of your guests to the Wedding Reception or even the Evening Reception only? All of these options must be considered when choosing your venue.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with writing a rough list of wedding guests early in the process! You can always add, as well as remove potential guests!!!
So now you have completed your research and comprised a list of potential wedding venues, you need to contact them and arrange some viewings. Very exciting!
Some wedding venues have Open Days, some offer one-to-one visits, others even have a ‘Drop-In Anytime’ attitude. Whatever viewing options available to you, give yourself plenty of time and even go along with a set of questions you want to ask.
Three important questions I would definitely ask when visiting any potential wedding venue is No.1 – Do they have availability on the dates you are considering? This is obviously paramount. No.2 – How much deposit do they require if you book their venue? And No.3 – When would the final payment be due e.g. one month before the wedding, 2 weeks, 3 days, and so on? This will vary from one venue to another as will the amount of deposit required to confirm your booking.
And remember, everything is negotiable. If a wedding venue hiring fees are a little over your budget, ensure you sit down with their Wedding Planner or Events Coordinator, to see if there are any areas where you can save costs. Many wedding venues offer wedding packages such as Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum; ask if they are willing to alter elements of them for you. If they won’t, then maybe it’s not the wedding venue for you.
Finally, when you think you’ve found your perfect venue, make sure you go back for a second visit, just to be certain.
It is at this point, when you have booked your venue and made a payment, that you really should consider ‘Wedding Insurance’. It is relatively cheap and covers a variety of possibilities. And don’t forget, if you’re opting for a Civil Ceremony, you must book in a Registrar too, as you’ll need ‘someone’ to marry you!
Good luck and have fun researching wedding venues.