Top 10 Tips When Choosing Your Wedding Venue

12th Jun 15 | Weddings

Choosing your wedding venue can seem like a very daunting task. It really doesn't have to be. Back in my wedding coordinator days i always advised brides and grooms-to-be to arrive armed with some information. This allowed me, as the wedding coordinator, to tailor the information to provide so as not to overwhelm the couple. You don’t need to have a 100% or even 20% visualisation of the day you want but there are a few essentials that are important to know before you start looking or visiting venues.

1. Time of Year / Specific Date: Do you have a specific date in mind, if so you will need to check if they have it available in the first place. If not, if you want a certain time of year you will also need to check what’s available. Some venues can book as far as 2 years ahead for weekend dates.

2. Number of Guests: Will the venue have the capacity to take your numbers or do they have a minimum number of guests and your numbers are less? You will need to ask what this means for you. Knowing your numbers is also the basis of the quote process; the venue can’t let you know the full cost unless you can give them an indication of your numbers.

3. Budget: This is very important, there is no point in looking at 5 star venues if you have a 3-4 star budget, you are only teasing yourself and trust me, you will be heart broken. It’s like walking in to BT’s and seeing all of those fabulous Mulberry bags and having to walk away. Soul destroying! Once you have an idea of what you feel you are willing to spend per head on the meal, that would be a good starting point. Learn how a wedding venue calculates a bill. (link to:

4. Type of Venue: You may have a preference for a specific type of venue, this can also dictate price. Wedding Venue types include: Hotel, Private Estate, Castle, Farm Location, Marquee, Glamping, Restaurant and the list goes on.

5. Home or Abroad: Do you want to stay at home or do you want to go abroad? Searching at home for a wedding venue is obviously a great deal easier than going abroad. It also depends on your abroad location as there are some excellent destination planners in some countries and they can make the whole experience very easy.

6. Bar Closing Time / Bar Extension: Let’s face it, us Irish love a good ‘oul party and god forbid a bar closing when the craic is just getting started! One thing you should find out is what time the bar will close at and if it is standard times, can they provide a bar extension, if they can, how much will it be and if they can’t, is there another venue that you can carry on the party at.

7. Decor: Where i find most budgets clocking up all of the unforeseen costs is table and venue decor. You will need to see what comes with your package as if it is a blank canvas you will need to hire and furnish the venue or if they hotel offers a certain decor, you may want to see if you can add your personal touch to it.

8. Reputation: Always check the forums to see if other brides have reviewed your chosen venue. If there have been issues, you will be aware so that you can ensure that it doesn't happen on your watch or if they have a glowing reputation this will give you reassurance. If it’s a hotel, also check TripAdvisor as may see reviews on the rooms and food.

9. One wedding per day: For some this can be an issue, just double check if they have a one wedding per day policy. There are some venues that are huge and they can do more than one wedding per day really well but others can be opportunistic and can take 2 a day and you could end up standing next to the other bride at the bar.

10. Civil Ceremony option: A very popular choice for today’s brides and grooms is the civil ceremony. Check and see if you can host your ceremony within the venue or its grounds, this would save your guests from travelling to multiple locations. It also gives you a nicer option than the registry office.

A great venue and wedding coordinator will guide you through the process and help you along the way. Good luck choosing and congratulations on your day!

Sara has worked in the wedding industry for almost 10 years as wedding planner, marketer and even as a  wedding make up artist! You can find more from her on her blog and social media: