Your Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Dream Wedding Venue

Choosing a wedding venue is one of the first significant decisions you’ll make during the wedding planning process and it will influence the other elements of your big day be it decor, clothing or food. For this reason, it’s critical to properly prepare. 

We understand that sometimes there are a lot of options to choose from, so picking the ideal venue is not always a straightforward decision. How do you choose the one that’s best for you, and where do you even start? We are here to try to answer your questions in this ultimate guide to choosing your dream wedding venue. Get out your pen and paper and start making your list! 

Budget Breakdown:

Get the basics right. It’s not very romantic, but you need to know your numbers. Choosing your dream venue may well be an expensive process so it is essential to keep your budget in check. Establish a realistic budget early on and allocate funds accordingly. This will ensure that you have a clear understanding of what you can afford and prevents any heartbreak further down the road. Remember, a smaller budget doesn’t mean compromising on anything, it just means getting creative with your choices.

Guest List Guesstimate:

Your guest list will be a little bit of a moveable feast early on in the wedding planning but before you start actively looking or start actual viewings for a venue, make sure to have a rough estimate of your guest list size. Your venue should comfortably host your guests for dinner and potentially the ceremony if you want to have everything in one location.  You must consider overnight accommodation, whether you’re planning an intimate affair with close friends and immediate family or a grand celebration with everyone you know,  there must be plenty of options so that people can stay over.

Start with Your Own Love Story:

Start at the beginning. Your love story will be at the heart of your wedding celebration and your venue will become part of that story. Reflect on how you met and remember the moments that brought you closer together – your first date, the place of your proposal. Unless you met your fiance at a wedding or family celebration, it’s unlikely that you met at a wedding venue, but you could consider the places that are significant to you in your relationship.  Imagine saying your vows where you had your first kiss or dancing the night away in the venue that witnessed the start of you and your partner’s relationship.  Consider the places you’ve visited in the course of your relationship or perhaps where your parents or family members may have been married.

Location, Location, Location:

Location will always be in the top three considerations when getting married. Many couples opt to stay local to where they or their parents live for convenience and ease, although that is not the case for every family, who may be globally distributed. In our 2024 Ultimate Survey we asked couples to rank what was important when choosing the location.  Overwhelmingly, couples chose venues that were close to home, however, some chose based on the property setting and views. Visualise the type of photos you wish to have and consider the aspect of the venue that would make for good photos. 

If you’re opting for a destination wedding location, choose one that has good access and amenities including accommodation choices nearby. 

Define Your Type and Style of Wedding Venue:

What is your unique couple style? It could be a castle, a barn, a museum, a country house or a waterside manor.  You might be seeking a cool urban venue, or a fairytale, historic ballroom – either way, your venue of choice will mirror your couple’s personality. Ask the question “Are we modern and chic or more laid-back and vintage?” Or perhaps you are a low fuss couple that want to be looked after at the local family run establishment.  Consider what ambiance aligns with your vision and let your personal style guide you to the perfect venue.

Did you know at WeddingDate you can search by Styles and Types? 

Get the Inside Scoop:

If you’ve narrowed your search based on location and style, ask for recommendations from friends and family. They may well have attended other events in venues you are not familiar with.

Make sure you do some research on other people’s experience.  Go online and read up on couple reviews and check the venue’s website and social media pages for real-life wedding photos. It’s the best way to gain valuable insight into the venue’s setting, decor, space, photographic views, accommodation etc. It will help you get a sense of the place before you ever step through the door.

Hello? Hello?

You are of course choosing your dream wedding venue, however we believe you are actually choosing your dream wedding team. It would be reasonable to expect that you will be treated like royalty when you enquire about having your wedding at a particular venue. Sadly, it’s not always the case. Unbelievably, only 23% of couples say that they felt special throughout their wedding planning process. 

Consider how the venue responds to your enquiry, in terms of time and quality of information. Did they respond promptly and warmly and give you what you were looking for? Efficient responses can pave the way for a smooth lead up to your wedding day.

Your Right Hand Person

Like having a good doctor or hairstylist, it’s really important that you like your wedding co-ordinator too.  It must be someone that you can be honest with and that you can trust. 

Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. Be upfront about worries or concerns from the get-go. Ask about contracts & expectations and payment plans.  Ask about customisation or flexibility within packages.  Ask about contingency plans if something goes wrong, or last minute changes to the guestlist etc. Do they have a directory of suppliers that they can recommend to you?  These are the things that your wedding co-ordinator will have at their fingertips ready to answer your questions and allay your fears.

There are some amazing people out there who care as much as you do about your wedding – we really hope you find them. 

Trust Your Gut:

Above all, trust your instincts. When you step into a venue, pay attention to how it makes you feel. Your gut reaction can often be a reliable guide. If a venue feels right, if you can envision your celebration unfolding there, trust that feeling. Your intuition is a powerful tool in making decisions. 

If you are planning to say “I Do” and starting your search for your wedding venues. Check out our complete listing of UK venues and you go also check our Irish website too, we hope one of these venues might steal your heart and you pick one for your special day!

Medhavi Upadhyaya
WeddingDates Contributors
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