Once you've become engaged, deciding where you are going to have your ceremony and reception should be the first task for planning your wedding. It's an exciting job, but allow enough time to do it properly. Finding venues for hire, checking their availability and booking appointments to go and see them can take months. And, of course, so many function venues are booked up for weddings up to two years in advance.
It may sound obvious, but decide where you are going to tie the knot first! If you are not marrying and holding your reception in the same place, then the two need to be within reasonable travelling distance of each other, and you need to know how guests will travel from one to the other.
If you want to wed in the same place where you have your reception, check that they have a license allowing them to conduct the ceremony on the premises.
When you're looking at function venues, consider where most of your guests will be travelling, and how far they will have to come. If they are using public transport, how near are the venues for hire which you visit to train stations or the airport?
Of course, wherever you choose needs to be big enough to hold all your guests comfortably. Is there enough room for the drinks reception, dinner and dancing? Some venues for hire can accommodate fewer people for the ceremony or a reception than they can for dinner. Others need guests to leave the main room for 45 minutes after dinner while they prepare it for the evening celebration and dancing. Bear in mind that this has the potential to interrupt the flow of your special day, and could even detract from its enjoyment.
You may wish to consider venues for hire which have an in-house planner who is your main point of contact, and who can help advise on suppliers and will know what works best for the particular venue.
When looking at venues for hire, also consider the time of year of your marriage, and whether the functions venues you are visiting are more suited to summer or winter. Even if there is space outside, and you are marrying in June or July, think about what will happen if it rains, and where your guests will go.
Finally, some venues offer a marquee so that more people can be accommodated. If you decide to go for this option, think about how many guests it will fit, how it will be heated if necessary, and what exactly is included in the price if you hire a marquee.
Venues.org.uk is a free online venue finder allowing you to contact multiple places for your wedding on one simple form, wherever in the UK you are getting married. Whether you want a civil ceremony, an Asian marriage or are determined to tie the knot in an eco-friendly way, log on to find out more from their website today.