Finding the Perfect Venue

When it comes to planning your wedding day, finding the ideal venue is top of the list. We talk you through the top tips to help you locate the perfect place for your wedding reception.

Though it might appear daunting at first, choosing your wedding venue needn’t be stressful if you go searching, prepared for what to look out for and the right questions to ask. Here in Northern Ireland you are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the right spot. Your options cover everything from slick city chic hotels to stunning stately homes and enchanting country venues.

With the increased popularity of civil ceremonies, more couples have searched out their ideal venue as the single location for both their ceremony and reception, which adds convenience to all involved. All the more reason then to choose wisely when it comes to making the final decision!

Once you and your husband-to-be have decided on a date, its time to sit down and get yourselves well versed to some essential venue tips to help make the process of finding that perfect place as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Counting Heads

Before you book an appointment to visit any venue, it’s best to have an approximate headcount of guests in mind. If you are planning a big celebration that includes 250 plus of your nearest and dearest, that charming country house you had in mind may only accommodate a maximum of 150 guests. You might already have a few venues in mind, but it’s best to check their reception capacity online before booking an appointment to see the wedding manager – you might end up saving yourself a trip out for no reason!

You should also consider whether you are choosing a venue that provides accommodation, so that you can arrange to book rooms for guests and the wedding party, if necessary.

Slick City Celebration or Festive Country Affair

Once you know your numbers, where you choose to hold your wedding reception comes down to personal preference. Perhaps you dream of a sophisticated celebration in a chic hotel in amongst the bright lights of the big city, or yearn for a romantic reception in an historical country estate set against rolling green hills or next to a picturesque lake. Bare in mind the season of your wedding date, too, as that will have an effect on your receptions plans: cocktails and canapés in the garden will hardly be a choice for a winter wedding.

Some venues also offer marquee weddings on their grounds, which can be a nice alternative and provide you the extra space you need if you have a large guest list. Make sure to confirm with management though as to whether the venue will provide all the essentials for such a reception, from the tables and chairs down to the table linens and room décor – otherwise it will be up to you to hire all the necessary pieces at added extra cost!

Shortlist to Success

Now that you’ve got a firm idea of your ideal setting, it’s time for you to make a shortlist of venue choices to actually go visit. Perhaps you recently attended a friend’s wedding at a place you thought was special, or you have heard from someone else about an exceptional venue. Select three to five places you are interested in and check their availability for your preferred date. Arrange a meeting with the management and go prepared with the following checklist. Completing a checklist for each venue visited and tallying up the pros and cons of each will make your final choice obvious and easy.

For much more editorial and pictorial coverage on venues make sure you get the Autumn/Winter issue which is on sale now!