Things I learnt while visiting wedding venues.

You never know where to go or which door to open.

Dan once greeted a wedding guest while they were in their pyjamas, by asking them where we should be heading for our appointment. I am always reluctant to waltz into the venue just in case someone else is in the setting-up stage of their wedding day – it would feel rather intrusive. As exclusive all-in-one venues are an ever-growing choice, it means there is usually lots of doors to incorrectly open. The trick is to hang around awkwardly until you are spotted and waved over.

You don’t always get special treatment.

I find that it varies from place to place. Some will give you all the bells and whistles, while others like to keep it more simple, shall we say. I am rather partial to a freebie, and will therefore accept all teas, coffees, Proseccos and biscuits on offer. Remember to book in some time to pay for food when you have five venue visits in one day, as it seems that a tea and biccy isn’t always on offer.

Be ready with your proposed date and numbers.

This is the first question you are likely to be asked. It is worth doing a bit of maths and discussing potential dates before your appointment as you will end up with a more accurate figure. Make it easier to exchange communication with potential venues during viewing bookings and beyond with a joint email address. You’ll both be up to date and both of you will be able to respond to any queries (not that he ever does).

You can’t expect to be blown away.

While the building itself will play a big part in creating the perfect aesthetic for your wedding day, it’s the way you will present it that counts. The overall atmosphere depends on the decorations and the design, so when you walk into an empty space without a ceremony layout or wedding breakfast setting, a little imagination is in order. People kept telling me that I’ll know when we find ‘the one’. I don’t believe this is entirely true – not only does it put pressure on discovering a venue that takes your breath away, it can mean you end up overlooking one that will do just that. You can start looking at something in a different light by weighing up the details and using your creativity – as well as your Pinterest account.

Oxleaze-Barn-before-and-afterOxleaze barn
Left image source: my own photograph
Right image source: Wedding Venues

The staff who show you around aren’t pushy and understand you need time to think things over.

You don’t have to worry about them wanting a decision there and then. However, do expect a follow-up email or call. The viewing can be a reflection on how they will deal with your wedding day. Remember, the staff are the ones you will be communicating with – you want them to be prompt and attentive. They may do weddings nearly every day of the week, but you want to feel like yours is the only one in the whole world. They are presenting themselves to you as much as they are presenting the venue. Be warned.

It’s always worth checking the toilets.

I feel that poor facilities can really let a venue down. If the toilets don’t reflect the aesthetic of the venue, it’s almost like they are cutting corners on quality. Think how you’ll feel when you’re in your wedding dress surrounded by cheap hand wash and single-sheet dispensers.

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