Wedding venues are the pivotal part of wedding planning. No venue No date No decor No style No plans No nothing!!
Whether you do a two parter like us or all in one venue finding the right place sets everything into motion.
I spent days and weeks searching venues sending links to Ryan only for us both to realise they were all well outside the budget and no way we could use them. Even the ones I set my heart on I just couldn’t risk putting us into thousands of pounds of debt for one days beauty.
After a long time of thinking along the same lines – close to home, not too expensive blah blah blah, I started to think well and truly outside the box. And by that I mean I took the box apart and was questioning if I could turn that into a venue! Jokes aside thinking about alternative venues is a great way to save money. I hopped about with locations questioning could family travel that far? Would that stop people from coming? Started looking at local unusual places. Were they too quirky? Am I settling with something to make it fit the budget? What are the hidden costs?
I started by deciding whats most important to us in a venue – facilities, catering, location, accessibility, venue style.
We wanted to be able to self cater, on site inclusive power, water and toilets, nice grounds. We wanted a big family party much like our big family christmas ones.
I used Hitched , Guides for Brides, Wedding Venues and of course Google. All great tools when you are just starting out. Most though just have your classic wedding venues, Halls, Barns, Farms etc etc. We progressed on to Truly Quirky Wedding Venues and kept diving deeper into the dark depths of the internet. (Warning its not a fun place to be)
To be truly honest most of those sites weren’t that useful for us. They all pretty much blew our budget. There were too many hidden costs, venues pull you in with a nice £3k advertised on site but look into it and you missed the £35 per head for dinner, the cost of the marquee in their grounds, the cost of the entertainment etc etc. And many of these types of venue have a list of caterers they would prefer to work with making it less of your day and more how much money can we take from these people. (If this is the wedding you want go for it by all means but thats not what I’m here to talk about) We wanted to self cater and most venues didn’t allow it which really threw a spanner in the works as neither Ryan or I wanted to have a formal sit down meal.
It took me a quite a while to stop pouting and give in to Ryan and start looking at less glamorous venues. We looked local and close to home: Halls For Hire, enquired at local schools, thought about family and friends with big garden, looked at Land For Events. I really struggled with this as I couldn’t picture it, I didn’t want to be the girl getting married in a crappy looking village hall. I wanted glorious grounds and a beautiful backdrop. In the very end we had the most perfect compromise. My other issue with most of these venues were they gave off very rustic vibes and I wanted quite a modern classic feel.
As I said in a previous post one of my Mums colleagues had a wedding where they had draped the inside of a village hall to hide the village halliness. This sparked an idea for us. At the time my Mum worked for a school, and had already offered us use of the hall which we had initially declined (my parents had their wedding reception there and it was were I had gone to school.) Poor Cheryl being roped in to be my Venue coordinator, as I was trying to juggle every other aspect of the wedding without Ryan here to help, started to email a selection of marquee companies. Most of which wouldn’t drape a room so big, or simply never replied!! Eventually we found Something Borrowed Event Hire, Richard was prompt with replies, and so helpful the whole way through – even when we ended up changing the venue. We chose SBEH as they did drapery and we had initially thought this was the best way to go.
Life then proceeded to happen in the way that it always does. Mums changed job and we decided that the original venue would need to be changed. But Mum was on the case and heard of someone attending a wedding at Trumpington Meadows Primary School. She quickly emailed them and arranged for us to go and visit the school. It was perfect. A large new school hall with doors that opened out into a paved gardens, located by the motorway and park and ride.
Once we had decided to go ahead with with Trumpington Meadows Primary School we got Richard to come down and measure up the hall to see what we could do about draping it. After a few quick measurements he suggested we put up a whole marquee inside the hall instead – it would be cheaper for me and easier for them to put up.
At the time I didn’t know I would need it but SBEH did did everything I could think of and ended up supplying chairs, a whole marquee, lighting and decor for our wedding. The school supplied tables (chairs had I wanted them) let us set up the day before the event, let us use their kitchen to store the food and prep it prior to guests arriving. It ended up working perfectly. I will go into decor in another post.
So in the end my venue was nothing like what I had imagined and I will still say now despite having the most incredible day it wasn’t my dream wedding, but that didn’t matter as I had all my family and friends around me and I got to marry Ryan for a second time with everyone important there to celebrate with us. Which at the end of the day what it was all about. People will drink and party where ever you supply booze and music!