For those of you who don't know me, my name is Rupert and I am a freelance wedding photographer, based in the Cotswolds but covering weddings nationally and international, destination weddings. The ever growing number of weddings I have photographed, meant I have learned a number of pitfalls for people to look out for - some of which I fell for myself planning our wedding!
Without a wedding venue, an official date isn’t really possible so it’s normally the first thing people consider way before the caterers or wedding photography.
When looking around wedding venues, there are a few things to consider.
1. Space (numbers)
It may be a little early to know your guest list but an approximate idea of numbers will be helpful. Most venues will know what their ‘comfortable capacity’ is and if you’re having a church wedding, it may be that the church you like will also need considering. A lot of the time, these limits are a fire regulation so cannot reasonably be overlooked but it can simply be a matter of ensuring the wedding venue can provide a service level they like to and their clients expect.
However, trying to force more people in despite a venues experience and suggested figures can lead to logistical issues with regards to serving food for example.
Another consideration is the administrative tedium of repeatedly moving people from room to room if they need re-laying. Some venues need to shift people about to sort the rooms out through the day and while it’s not always avoidable but should be considered when making your timeline and make allowance for it as this can take upwards of 20 minutes for each evacuation!
2. Cans and can’ts
Many wedding venues will be listed buildings, meaning they’l have restrictions on what you can and can’t do both inside and out.
When my wife and I got married, we visited a few places where on no account could internal decorations be fixed to the walls without erecting an internal frame (at vast cost) so they were removed from our ‘potentials list’. Others might have noise restrictions. I have photographed a few weddings where they had noise meters installed and if the ambient rose above a particular level, the mains power would trip off - not much fun for the dancing - constantly having to reset the device in a song where guests were singing along!
However, Listed Buildings are listed for a reason and they tend to be very atmospheric or unique - so if a compromise can be reached, they can make amazing wedding venues.
Boring but practical. High heels and wet boggy fields don’t mix. Some places really haven’t considered this or planned it out particularly well but again, it’s really a matter of compromise. If this is the only negative to the wedding venue of your dreams, then is it really that bad. And besides, it never rains in the UK.
4. Curfew/Departure time
Everyone plans their wedding wishing they could go on until the morning but on those occasions that I have been as such long weddings, the number of people who go that late are a small number of hard-core animals.
Generally, times vary from 11pm to 1am and many venues will expect or require the packing to be done promptly, either that night or very early in the morning the following day. While this is never usually a deal-breaker, it’s certainly worth asking about the breakdown expectations so you are not given a nasty surprise the day before!
I hope this is helpful