Are you about to start viewing venues for your wedding? I’ve been on hundreds of site visits for weddings and events, so I like to think I’ve got the process down to a T. I’ve collated some of my top tips for making sure you get the most out of your visit, and to help you make the best decision. Here are my top tips for venue viewings.
Research before you go
Before you start viewing venues, do some good research beforehand. Many venues now have video tours on their websites or 360 dolls house views which are great for getting the overall picture.
But, if you want to see the more raw, unpolished reality, searching on Instagram is excellent. Go to your search bar, type in your venue, but click places before you press search. Find the place, and you’ll see all the pictures everyone else has posted at that location. Unedited guest’s images are gold here!
Video > Photos
Looking at venues can feel overwhelming, so it’s great to make sure you have plenty of material to look back on. Pictures are great, but you get a much better feel for space with a video in my experience.
Usually, when you’re taking a photo, you’re focussing on something in particular. Whereas with a video, it’s a more general overview of the whole space. If you can, take a video as you walk round to help you remember how everything is connected. Then when you come to planning, you won’t have to rely on your memory.
As many as you like. Wedding planning is a weird assumed knowledge for some unknown reason. You shouldn’t know what you’re doing; there’s no reason for you to know. So ask away. Here are some of my must ask questions:
- Do they charge corkage?
- What time do you have to leave by? Is there an option to extend this?
- What’s the max capacity, and in what format?
- Are there any works planned which might change things between now and your date?
- Is there a sound limiter? If so, what is the DB? Pass this onto your band.
- Do you have to use a preferred suppliers list?
- Do the prices include VAT?
- Are there any restrictions?
Check the entrances/restrictions.
Dry hire venues can be the makers and breakers of dreams. I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to make things bend round awkward hallways, or trying to roll 6ft tables from a loading bay to a dining room. It’s always worth it in the end.
When you’re looking at dry hire venues, it’s important to note any tight corners, low doorways, and any other restricted access. Registering these things will allow you to plan appropriately, and mean that any grand plans you come up with are doable. I’ve seen many a caterer unhappily lugging ovens upstairs.
There’s a lot to think about with dry hire venues. If you want some help from a professional, you can get in touch with me here.
Chat to your salesperson
You’ll probably spend quite a lot of time speaking to your venue over your wedding planning, so chat to whoever is showing you around and try to get a feel for the business. Do they treat the venue visit in a transaction way, or are they a more family-run place? You’ll learn a lot about how that venue functions from your first site visit.
Find the balance
Finding a balance between overwhelming and ill-informed is tricky, as, in reality, the line is thin. It’s good to see enough that you get an idea of how far your money will go, but not too many to the point you’re lying awake confused.
I recommend you start by seeing three venues, and if you feel you’re not sure after that, go to see a few more. With each site visit, try to identify what you don’t like about each venue and eliminate ones you don’t like. For example, if you see a barn and don’t like it, don’t waste your time going to see any more barns.
Don’t look for the feeling
I mentioned this on Instagram a few weeks ago, and it seemed to resonate. Don’t rely on walking into a venue and getting “the feeling”. Some people’s brains, myself include, don’t quite work that way, so it’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself.
I’m sure we’d all walk into Buckingham Palace and get “the feeling”, but in reality, there are a lot more practical things to consider when looking for a wedding venue. If you are more of logical thinking rather than emotional, you’re much more likely to base the decision on practical evidence.
Most of all, make sure you enjoy yourself! Viewing venues should be a lot of fun, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself and have fun!