How to find the perfect wedding venue
Choosing your venue is the second most important decision you’ll make when planning your wedding - after finding the perfect dress of course! So read on for some essential top tips and our insider’s guide to the most popular venue types...
Location, location, location…
No other element will shape the style of your day quite like the place where you say, ‘I do’. So, do you want city chic or rustic romance? A stately home or something quirkier? Our recent wedding survey found that 29% of our brides are hoping to marry in a stylish hotel, while 24% prefer a country house and 22% a shabby chic barn venue. Other popular choices included marrying in a restaurant, on a beach or at a golf course. Although, whether you want a barn or a beach, a hotel or a house, there are a few key things to decide before you start your search…
Set a budget
Your wedding venue is likely to be your biggest expense, so work out how much you have to spend and stick to it. There are gorgeous venues available for every size of budget. Just remember you can compromise in other areas, such as guests numbers, if it helps you afford the venue of your dreams.
Choose the right location
If you have family and friends across the country (or even across the world) choosing the right location will be key to making sure everyone can attend. For example, make sure you consider elderly relatives who may not be able to travel far. Also, check there are good local transport connections if you have a lot of guests travelling a long way.
Work out the numbers
You’ll need to have a rough idea of the number of people on your guest list before you start venue hunting. There’s no point looking at intimate venues for 50 when you plan to invite 200!
Make a list of all your absolute must-haves and make sure any venue you like can accommodate them. For example, if you want a particular caterer, an ice sculpture or fireworks at midnight, then make sure it’s a possibility.
Visit more than once
Go and see your top venue choices two or three times, ideally at different times of the day, before you make a decision. You want to make sure they look as fabulous in the daytime as they do lit up at night. Also, there’s no rush to sign on the dotted line. This decision will affect almost everything else on your big day, so make sure it’s right.
Listen to recommendations
Read reviews and recommendations of your favourite venue before you book. On the day you’ll want everything to run smoothly, so make sure the service on offer is five-star!
Find your style
The type of venue you prefer will come down to your own personal style and the kind of atmosphere you’d like to create. If you’re looking for classic and formal then a traditional hotel might be the one. If you want a relaxed, laid back big day, think about an informal barn venue. Alternatively, modern, fashion-loving brides might prefer a hip city centre hotel. Below we’ve picked some of our favourite UK venues to inspire you and help you find the perfect venue style to suit you…
Types of venue
Hotels make fantastic wedding venues, which is why our recent survey found that 29% of our brides are hoping to marry in one. They range from traditional and grand to relaxed and intimate, so you’re guaranteed to find one to suit your style. They’re also great if you and your guests want to stay onsite once the party’s over. Many hotels have a number of different ceremony and reception spaces to choose from or even the option to the book the whole hotel for exclusive use.
Take a look at… Dunchurch Park Hotel, Warwickshire
An idyllic, romantic setting awaits you at Dunchurch Park, a Grade II listed Warwickshire manor house. Its 72 acres of landscaped gardens also make the perfect backdrop for the all-important photographs.
Beautiful barn venues come in all shapes and sizes and are perfect for couples who want a slightly more relaxed feel to their day. Full of rustic charm, and often quirky cool, they can be styled in a number of different ways. Many also offer a completely blank canvas, which can be great value for money if you’re happy to do a little more yourselves.
Take a look at…The Wellbeing Farm, Lancashire
Winner of the North West Wedding Venue of the Year, the Wellbeing Farm is available for exclusive hire. Couples will love its rustic Wedding Barn, which is open until 1am for music, dancing and merriment!
Fancy being Lord and Lady of the manor for the day? There are plenty of characterful manor houses and stately homes available for your big day and they usually come with plenty of indoor and outdoor ceremony and reception options. If you’re planning a big wedding you may also be able to have a marquee in the grounds or book the venue exclusively.
Take a look at… Gileston Manor, Wales
Gileston Manor is your perfect destination wedding venue. The stunning Georgian, Grade II* listed manor house is exclusively yours so you can create the wedding of your dreams in its exquisite gardens and stylish marquee.
Many couples dream of being married outdoors, and for good reason. A naturally beautiful alfresco venue looks amazing and often doesn’t require too much decor. Just make sure there’s an indoor space too, as a backup in case the weather doesn’t play ball!
Take a look at… Pitt Hall Barn, Berkshire
Pitt Hall Barn is a beautiful setting for a wonderfully unique wedding. There’s a delightful rustic barn for larger weddings but couples looking for an outdoor ceremony should check out Spilman’s Copse, a magical woodland site licensed for outdoor ceremonies.
Banqueting halls and conference centres are often one-stop-shops for your wedding, and may offer catering and other services in-house. This style of venue is usually on the larger size, so it’s the perfect option if you’re planning a very large wedding.
Take a look at… City Conference and Banqueting Centre, Nottingham
Combining space, versatility and beautiful architecture, the City Conference and Banqueting Centre (Kashmir Centre) provides a venue for communities to gather for all occasions. With upgraded services and beautifully refurbished facilities, it’s an elegant, classic setting for any event.
Houses of worship
Couples opting for a religious ceremony may prefer to host their ceremony in a house of worship, such as a church or synagogue. These sacred spaces are ideal for traditional weddings. Usually houses of worship are available for ceremonies only, but some may offer event space for receptions as well.
Take a look at… The Old Vicarage at Elkesley, Nottinghamshire
Situated on the outskirts of the quiet village of Elkesley, near Retford, Nottinghamshire, The Old Vicarage is a wedding venue that’s classic yet modern. It’s full of low-key elegance, a little quirky and most certainly adventurous!
City centre venues
City centre venues come in all shapes and sizes, and include everything from traditional and contemporary hotels to art galleries, restaurants, museums and town halls. They normally have great transport links and plenty of local accommodation to suit all budgets.
Take a look at… The Trades Hall, Glasgow
The Trades Hall is a stunning city centre venue that offers magnificent surroundings with a wealth of historical features and opulent interiors. It has six unique function rooms, including the Grand Hall with its stunning Baroque chandeliers and Victorian decor.
Country clubs make popular wedding venues. There’s the well-manicured golf courses, myriad outdoor and indoor options for ceremonies and receptions, in-house catering and often plenty of other services too. Savvy brides know they’re often a stress-free and stunning choice.
Take a look at… Vale Country Club, North Wales
Vale Country Club is a beautiful venue situated in the heart of the Vale of Clwyd, overlooking an area of outstanding beauty. A family run business with a specialist wedding consultant, the rustic exposed oak beams, large inglenook fireplace and traditional slate flooring give the space beautiful character and charm.
Special Offer: Quote WED2B when you book to receive a free bespoke table plan.
If you and your fiancé are foodies, then a restaurant can be a great choice for your wedding venue. It goes without saying that the food is going to be top-notch, and restaurants generally have all they need in terms of tables, chairs, and décor. These venues are typically more intimate and therefore best for smaller celebrations.
Take a look at… The Fuzzy Duck, Warwickshire
The Fuzzy Duck, set in the picturesque Warwickshire hamlet of Armscote, is an award-winning restaurant as well as a unique, intimate and exclusive wedding venue.
A blank canvas
Couples who want to express their creativity might enjoy a blank canvas venue, such as a modern loft space or an unfurnished barn. A blank canvas wedding venue can be great value and generally offers a relatively empty room that you can decorate to your heart’s content. From lighting to flowers and more, you can dress these modern spaces up or down, as well as bringing in your own suppliers. Often this style of venue will have props available to hire too, if you wish.
Take a look at… Gwaenynog Farmhouse, Welshpool
Gwaenyog Farmhouse is a unique wedding venue, offering a huge barn for your festivities with four B&B rooms and a large campsite for a festival-style wedding.
Marquees are another great option for couples who want a blank canvas. You can choose from a traditional, open-sided, clear-sided or even a tipi style marquee, and then fill it with lanterns, bunting, chic lighting and more to create your dream space.
Take a look at… Elite Marquees, North Yorkshire
Elite Marquees supply beautiful canvas pole marquees which add the wow factor to your special day, without breaking the bank!
Special Offer: Quote WED2B and receive 15% off services.
Wine lovers, rejoice! Many vineyards and wineries offer event spaces for weddings. Even if you’re not a fan of the grape, you’ll love the scenery and unique wedding locations. Vineyards normally offer plenty of beautiful photo opportunities too.
Take a look at… Brickhouse Vineyard, Exeter
Brickhouse Vineyard is a stunning new wedding venue near Exeter. Tucked away in the idyllic Devon hills, set in 20 acres of fields and woodland, Devon weddings just don’t get more beautiful than this. Your dogs and children are invited to join the party too!
Special Offer: Quote WED2B and receive 20% off half-day ceremonies.
Think outside the box when you’re searching for your wedding venue. Stately homes and barns are far from the only options. There are also striking windmills, Cornish mines, caves, lighthouses and even beautiful boathouses, all available for a truly memorable wedding. So, if you want your wedding to stand out from the crowd, why not consider something a little different?
Take a look at… The Boathouse at Aston Marina, Staffordshire
Nestled within exclusive, landscaped grounds and enjoying far-reaching views over the neighbouring Trent & Mersey Canal, The Boat House offers a waterside wedding venue in the heart of landlocked Staffordshire (fully licensed for weddings).
Click here for more venue inspiration or visit our Wedding Suppliers page to find the very best suppliers in your area. Finally, for more big day inspiration and to find your dream dress, head over to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter