One of the things I found most tricky about getting engaged was the immediate questions from people about dates and locations. I appreciate the excitement but, dude, I’ve been engaged a week – can I have some time to digest this, enjoy it, and work out what I want please?!
It quickly became clear (it probably should have been anyways #rubbishbride) that the linchpin of the whole getting married thing is when and where it is going to happen. As a result, this was the first big factor we decided to look at.
We’ve always said that we didn’t want a lengthy engagement, although, in hindsight, I’m not sure they’re such a bad idea after all! However, knowing that we didn’t want to get married in winter and didn’t want to leave it much longer than a year, we decided on early spring 2017. A good starting point.
When it came to picking where, this was a bit trickier and there were a few obstacles along the way too. Despite this, we’ve recently managed to book our venue and are SO EXCITED. Here are the things I wish I’d known before we started looking…
So on everyday life people add VAT to stuff and it’s not really a big deal because, y’know, you’re not generally dropping thousands of pounds at a time. When it comes to weddings, people casually mention it at the last minute and don’t think you’ll notice and additional couple of grand on the bill. Then your caterers add it too, and your drinks people. Check costs are inclusive of VAT before you get your heart set on a venue and quickly realise it exceeds your budget.
QUICK ACCESS TO CASH
This seems stupid in hindsight but I didn’t really realise exactly how much you’re expected to pay to secure a venue straight away. Coming up with the cash quickly can be stressful, adding to the stress that if you don’t find it then you’ll lose your date too, so make sure you only start viewings when you can easily afford the deposit. Get a thorough timeline of when you’re expected to pay the next instalments too to ensure you have time to save in between.
RANDOM ADDITIONAL COSTS
When you go and see a venue and it looks dreamy and you decide you’d like to have the exact same day…until the true costs are revealed. Oh you like those chairs? ‘We can get those brought in for you, no problem’. You love the look of the fairy lights. ‘We can add them to your invoice? The pom poms? ‘We can put you in touch with our supplier.’ WHAT AM IN ACTUALLY PAYING FOR?!
Another one that sounds stupid…decide exactly where you want to get married before you start looking at venues. We had a few locations in mind before we started and it just made things really confusing. Pick one location and then look for venues there, it’ll make life much easier! Also, if you have any specific requirements of your venue (parking, easy access, accommodation), then make sure these are considered before going to see a venue, finding out it doesn’t fulfil one of your requirements and realising it isn’t suitable anyways.
If you have certain ideas in mind for food/drink/entertainment then make sure your venue is flexible and doesn’t require you to work with their existing suppliers. If you want Prosecco and pizza but your venue is more of a sit-down-dinner type of place, there’s no point in even paying a visit. Also, check that costs include staff – it’s no good paying loads for the food you want and then discovering you’ve got to pay extra for people to serve it.
REGISTER YOUR REGISTRAR
Confirm whether or not a registrar is included in the cost of your venue. If not, book early to ensure you get the time slot you’re looking for. Again, make sure you incorporate this into you budget early…they are spenny!
We were so close to booking a venue before I realised that there was nowhere for me to get changed before the ceremony. If you want to get ready at home, or are heading straight to your venue from a hotel, then this isn’t a problem. However, if you’re wanting to get ready at your venue before the ceremony then this is kind of a game changer. You probably also want the space to be pleasant – it’s going to be the last place you get dressed as a single lady after all!
You don’t want to pay your first instalment and then find out that some of your more specific requirements can’t be catered for – want fireworks? Check your venue allows it. Want to serve your favourite wine? Check your caterers can supply this or will allow you to. Want to party into the night? Check the timing restrictions in place at your venue. Want to leave decorations up overnight? Check that you don’t need to make arrangements for them to be taken down beforehand. Want to arrive early? You get the idea!
Last but not least…enjoy it! Don’t stress yourself out too much – looking at venues is fun and when you find the one you can see yourself getting married in the you’ll find a way to make it work.
Photo courtesy of the beautiful wentworthcastle.org.