The perfect choice

Champagne and strawberries

Champagne and strawberries - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Take a look

If you are planning to wed next summer or even into 2016, now is the time to check out the venues you are interested in. Try to visit around the date you are intending on booking, so that you can get a feel for how it will look on your wedding day – are the gardens looking lovely?

Book up

Venues can be booked up years in advance, especially on the most popular wedding weekends. Your choice of venue will set the tone of the day – once you have settled on this and made your booking you can begin on planning all those special touches that will make the day your own, such as the choice of music, food and flowers.

The long list

If you plan to marry at the venue as well as hold the reception there, talk initially to your registry office which will keep a list of all the registered venues in the area. Start your selection by drawing up a long list which you can research, by checking out advertising, websites and brochures.

The short list

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Weed out those venues that don’t fit your budget, style or requirements and write your shortlist of venues to visit. It’s a good idea to prepare your own checklist and any questions in advance – remember the venue will be used to brides and grooms visiting, but to you it is a very individual and important time. Make sure you see the areas you need to consider for your wedding – rooms where you can get ready, any quieter areas for those who don’t want to be in the hub of the reception party, parking facilities . . . Look at the venue from the viewpoint of your guests – young and old – as well as yourselves.

Picture perfect

Also think about the venue in terms of photographs of your day. Are there locations that will suit the type of pictures you’d like from your wedding photographer? Will they be able to access the reception room/marquee beforehand to take pictures of it being set up?

All planned out

Dedicated wedding planners are available at many venues. They will be able to talk you through the process of planning your day and will have lots of helpful tips on how to make it especially yours.

Getting there

Think about timings and ease of travel between venues if you are having the marriage ceremony in a different location to the reception. Consider options for how you will make this journey too – walking through your home village, town or city from the church to the venue can be a lovely experience for the wedding party if the distance is short.

Only you

It’s your special day, so do check if another wedding has been booked for elsewhere in the venue – is this a problem for you and do you want to find somewhere that is exclusively yours for the day?

Your rules

Sarah Softley, of events management company Softley Events, at Carleton Forehoe, near Norwich, has plenty of experience in planning weddings for clients and her top advice is: “It’s all about you, so think about what you want from the day. Budget is a major part of the decision-making process. So look at things like whether or not you can bring your own wine to a venue and if it charges corkage, and if a venue has fixed catering arrangements or you can hire in your choice of caterers. What I always say though is make it work for you – there are no rules on how your wedding should be.”

Save the day

There’s so much to remember when you are planning a wedding - but insurance is one aspect that many couples forget or are not even aware of. Lucy Moy, account executive at Wymondham-based Priory Insurance, explains: “The price depends on the level of cover you want, but you can insure your wedding from as little as £61. The sort of thing such insurance covers is if the wedding has to be cancelled because of redundancy or if a medical condition arises – not if the couple splits up though. It can cover aspects like loss or damage to the cake, flowers, rings, wedding dress and presents.”

For more information, call Lucy at Priory Insurance on 01953 602866.

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