Even if you literally just got engaged, your friends and family have probably already started asking you “when and where?”. It can feel a little bit like the day is running away from you before it’s even begun, but try not to let the pressure get to you. Basically if you need to tell Auntie Carol to chill out, I’m giving you full license to do so.
Choosing your wedding venue should definitely not be rushed; it may well be the most expensive part of your wedding (eep!). But don’t worry, we’ve put together all the questions you’ll need to ask yourself before putting down the deposit. Use this wedding venue checklist to start choosing a wedding venue:
Choosing “where” can be the most difficult decision for many couples, especially if they’ve got very different ideas. One of you might want to get married on a beach in Tahiti, while the other has their heart set on their local pub at the end of the road.
Destination weddings can be really fun, and if you know a good wedding planner or have local contacts it can be less stressful than you’d think. However you’re likely to have lots of friends and family who won’t be able to make it – either the cost of the flights, having to take time off work or childcare obligations.
If it’s really important to have as many of your loved ones there as possible you might want to think about going local. Lots of London couples worry that they won’t be able to find a venue in their price bracket in the city, but there are always options – especially if you can book far enough if advance.
Have a think about when you’d like your wedding to be, and remember it doesn’t have to be this year! The most popular months are June, July & August when the weather is the most reliable, but you’ll also be competing with other weddings happening at that time and the most expensive prices.
Unless you’ve got your heart set on an outdoor wedding, consider getting married off-season. You’ll be able to find some competitive rates and you’ll avoid your guests having peak wedding season fatigue. So why not have a cosy winter wedding in January or February?
You don’t need to know your final budget right now, but you do need to have a ball park figure. If you’re completely unsure where to start, take a look at the infographic and start plugging in some numbers.
If your overall budget was £15,000, you’d be looking to spend around £2,400 on your venue hire, and £600 on the dress. This is just a guideline for how the average UK couple splits their budget, so it’s not set in stone. If you’d like some ideas for where to splurge and where to save, check out our article on How to plan a wedding on a budget
Sorting out the guest list can be a surprisingly political part of planning a wedding. It’s important to remember that it’s your wedding, and especially if you are footing the bill you don’t have to invite anyone you don’t want to. Everyone gets stuck in the “if we invite her, we have to invite him” trap, so it’s a good idea to try and do it methodically.
Start by making a list of everyone you could possibly invite – using a spreadsheet can make this easier, and you should both make your own list. If you haven’t remembered someone off the top of your head, it’s a good sign they shouldn’t be making it to the wedding.
Now give everyone on the list a number:
1 – Has to be there
2 – Would love for them to be there
3 – Would like for them to be there
4 – Feel obliged that they should be there
5 – Not fussed if they can make it
Combine the two lists and sort the list by number, with all your ones at the top. What’s the total number of guests you’d have if you invited everyone? How many without the fives? Price per head can easily be around £70 depending on the style of venue, so every guest counts.
If you’ve got family members insisting you invite your Great Uncle Albert’s old roommate (who you’ve never met), consider suggesting they pay for them. Then see how quickly your guest list shrinks.