As soon as everyone knows you’re engaged the question of date & venue is asked; many websites have info on How to Choose your Wedding Venue but here’s the view from an experienced Barnsley Wedding Photographer who’s seen & experienced it all !!!
There’s an awful lot to consider, hence my advice here is in more than one part, but first things first, you MUST understand the Logistics of your Wedding Day
So here’s my Top Tips for you to follow where possible:
Make a rough Guestlist FIRST, and BEFORE you consider any Barnsley & Lake District Wedding Venues (such as my Lake District Featured Wedding Venues like Broadoaks Country House Hotel)
Why first? Well some Wedding Venues may have a minimum number of guests they expect to have & cater for and if yours is a smaller Wedding you’ll end up paying for Guests that aren’t there. Conversely, all Wedding Venues have a maximum number of Guests they can cater for, so if you’re popular and want hundreds of Guests your choices will be limited. If you do want 100 people to enjoy part of your Wedding Day it can often be easier to have, say 20-40 at your Wedding Breakfast, and invite the rest to your night-do; many smaller Wedding Venues can’t cater for large numbers to a seated meal, but will be able to cope with a much larger number for an evening buffet
Making your Guestlist first then allows you to more easily create a list of possible Barnsley & Lake District Wedding Venues
Search for Licensed Approved Wedding Venues if you’re not having a church service
Every Local Authority must approve Wedding Venues and even parts of Wedding Venues, so if you’d like an outdoor Wedding service the lawned area will need its own Wedding License!
For a list of Barnsley’s Approved Wedding Venues CLICK HERE
For a list of Lake District Approved Wedding Venues CLICK HERE and download their highly useful pdf or request a hard-copy to be sent to you
Other directory websites can be useful for also getting reviews, though I wonder if such directories will ever publish negative reviews of Wedding Venues that are paying them to advertise !!!
Pick your Season early too, this can help with any ‘theme’ you may have for your Wedding too
Spring – young & fresh, as the Wedding Season is not in full swing it can be considerably cheaper than the main Wedding Season. As a benefit for your Barnsley & Lake District Wedding Photographer we get the chance to include a sunset shot too as an awesome way to end the day’s shooting
Summer – bright and blooming, this is still the main Wedding Season and as with everything in demand prices rise accordingly. If you want a July or August Wedding you may have to book more than a year in advance. From a Wedding Photography point of view, Summer gives the best chance of good weather to get you outdoors but also the harshest of light midday
Autumn – colourful and charming, like Spring, the light is often better and the colours can be spectacular. Wedding Venues‘ pricing is on the wane usually too
Winter – cold and striking. Many smaller Wedding Venues may close for part of winter to refurb or just for a break, for those that don’t prices can be at their lowest (aside from Christmas and New Year obviously). Winter light, if there is any, can be beautiful and with snow even better; just bring a thick coat & wellies too as part of your Wedding outfit
Consider your Wedding Venue from your Guests’ perspective too, especially…
- is it easy to get to and can they park once they get there
- how accessible is it for taxis, buses or trains for them to leave later once drunk!
- if its likely many will need to stay overnight, is the venue large enough to accommodate them and is its pricing affordable to your guests
- from the layout for your Wedding Ceremony can they actually see & hear you from the back! If they can’t they won’t be impressed
- similarly, at your Wedding Breakfast are they close enough to hear the speeches or at least is there a sound system available
- consider disabled access for your Granny & Grandad or others who may not be so good at walking
- if you’re allowing children to attend, is there anywhere they can play safely with minimal supervision and far enough away to not annoy others
- consider the price of a pint !!! Your Guests may not thank you for choosing a Wedding Venue where the beer costs twice, or more, than they are used to
- consider the likely timings throughout your Wedding Day. Too early a Ceremony can lead to bored or very drunk Guests; midday Ceremonies can lead to very hungry Guests; too late a Ceremony and there may be little time for your Guests to mingle and have photos
Visit your potential Wedding Venues at the time of day and month you’re planning on getting married
It can be misleading to visit a Wedding Venue in the height of summer if you’re planning a Winter Wedding; and going at 10.00 a.m. for a look around won’t necessarily tell you anything about the light levels and how busy the venue may be for your 3.00.p.m. Wedding
So if you’re booking your Wedding Venue more than a year ahead, go take a look in the same month and at about the same time you’re planning on getting married; this might let you identify if there’s a likely problem somewhere and give you time to change your intended Ceremony timings
Have a LONG list of Questions for your Wedding Venue’s Wedding Coordinator
And don’t be afraid to ask anything you can think of, there are no ‘daft’ questions only answers you don’t yet have. An experienced Wedding Coordinator will have heard them all before and will easily be able to answer anything you can throw at them
One important question from me as your Barnsley & Lake District Wedding Photographer‘s point of view especially, is… How many other Weddings may take place on the same day as yours?
This is important for a number of Wedding Photography based reasons, including
- if you’re superstitious you won’t want to be seeing another Bride on your Wedding Day and this may have photography implications of access to various parts of your Wedding Venue
- when there is more than one Wedding party on site gaining access to the various attractive parts of your Wedding Venue may be time controlled & limited
- if yours is the smaller Wedding you may find much of the Wedding Venue‘s grounds, or other great photo areas, are unavailable to you all day – money talks !!!
- many modern Brides like photos of their Guests enjoying themselves in a natural & unposed Reportage Wedding Photography style, but when there’s more than one Wedding party at a venue it can be impossible to know which Guest is at what Wedding! And I’d really rather not show you great photos of someone else’s Wedding Guests 😀
And a final word of warning re communication
If you’ve shown good interest in a particular Wedding Venue hosting your Wedding but you have any communication issues at all – i.e. emails not being answered in full, quick enough or at all, phone calls not being returned, etc. then pick somewhere else!
I’ve heard many a story of Wedding Coordinators who don’t seem to care or respond to queries. Sometimes this is as you’re a smaller Wedding and they’d rather book a huge one; sometimes it seems they just can’t be bothered and presumably don’t want your business or need your money
But if you aren’t getting great service even before you’ve signed their contract, it doesn’t bode well for when you have and are legally bound to pay them several thousands of £s
Your Wedding Venue’s Wedding Coordinator should become your best friend in the lead up to your Wedding Day, but your best friend ON your Wedding Day is your Barnsley or Lake District Wedding Photographer – which is me 🙂
CLICK HERE for a Testimonial which shows how useful it can be to have an experienced & professional Wedding Photographer helping & guiding you through your Wedding Day, then CONTACT ME for availability and to discuss me helping you too