When it comes to arranging your big day, it’s natural that you want everything to be perfect. In finding your dream venue, the perfect dress and bride’s maids outfits, your own style and taste will be reflected in your choices. This is the ‘easy’ part of planning your wedding, the practical, nuts-and-bolts side is where things can become a bit more tricky. Most of us cannot afford the added luxury of a professional wedding planner so, for the first timers there are a few things that can easily get overlooked. Caterers, wedding favors, the band, photographer and the venue (among many other things!) all need to be researched and arranged.

Before you book your wedding venue, there are a few key questions that need to be considered. It’s the less glamorous side of the process but can have just as big, if not bigger, an impact on the day than almost any other single factor. Here are ten questions you should ask yourself before deciding if this really is the venue for you.

Is VAT included?

When budgeting for the venue, this cost can often get forgotten. It’s important that you find this out before calculating the expense, leaving this out could lead to blowing your budget (banal but equally important).

Do I have to hire tables and chairs?

Some venues will provide these as standard, if your reception venue is a hotel or restaurant for example, but more unusual venues may include an extra charge for this, or even require you to provide your own. With guests often arriving from all corners of the globe, it’s nice to be able to offer them a seat!

Is there an extra fee if I use my own caterer?

Although you may have found the perfect venue, some will charge an extra fee to use your own caterers. Be sure to look into this before committing, many venues have excellent, in-house caterers who have been chosen to complement the surroundings. This also unburdens you of any extra responsibility for ensuring their safe arrival on the day (which can only be a good thing!).

Does the catering quote include staffing costs?

Another hidden expense that could skew your budget is the cost of staffing your event. Hiring a cheaper venue or catering company may seem to be saving you money, but often these extra charges will add up. Make sure you find out before booking if waiting staff, bar people and clean-up fees are all included, it could save you a nasty shock in the long run.

Is the fee for the civil ceremony included?

Increasingly, licensed wedding venues can offer their own services in-house. Be sure to check whether this means extra cost if you are thinking of making use of it.

How much does it cost to BYOB?

Supplying your own alcohol seems like another common sense way to stretch your budget, but what is the reality? Many venues do not have a license for bringing your own alcoholic refreshment and of those that do, some carry an extra charge for the privilege. Speak to the venue manager beforehand to find out, most will be able to supply this for less than the cost of doing it yourself.

Do I have to book all the accommodation?

When hiring the venue, the ‘honeymoon suite’ will often be included but you may be required to book all available guest accommodation. In this case you may have to pay for guest accommodation as part of the venue fee to be recouped from guests later.

Will I be required to decorate?

Choosing a lower priced venue may mean you have to decorate it yourself; hiring chair covers, hanging bunting and drapes, choosing table linen and lighting’ all costing extra money, time and effort. The right venue will speak for itself and require minimal decoration, leaving you free to worry about the important things.

Don’t Forget To Budget For Evening Food.

Many caterers offer a package for the wedding breakfast but evening food can be extra. If you are inviting evening guest, check this out in advance, or risk letting them go hungry!

Late license Fees.

Many venues have a set finish time that cannot be extended and venues that do offer a later finish charge an extra fee. It’s worth considering whether you really want to extend the day. Tempting as it sounds to prolong the merriment, after a long day of high emotion, when many people may have traveled a long way and had a lot to eat and drink, a midnight finish is usually a good time to end, before things begin to get messy!

This post is from Gemma Edwards at Country House Wedding Venues, I’ll let Gemma introduce herself;

“I’ve been at Country House Wedding Venues for five years – how time flies when you’re having fun! In that time I’ve been a part of our Wedding Office Team – where I helped couples find their dream wedding venue – and more recently I’ve started the Country House Wedding Venues blog. I love to see the wonderful and imaginative ways in which couples make our wedding venues truly theirs on the big day and hope that by sharing wedding ideas and tips, I can inspire brides and grooms-to-be.”

Country House Wedding Venues is a wedding venue finding service with its own collection of unique wedding venues available exclusively for the big day, featuring wedding venues to suit all tastes including barns, castles, mansions and manor houses.


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