Welcome to my latest edition of my ‘Wedding Planning’ blog posts.
Every month you can now expect to see a ‘wedding planning update’ right here on my blog where I will share hints and tips on my planning as I experience it myself, that will help some other #bridestobe.
So today I am kicking off with what I learnt in my ‘Search for a Venue’ and ‘Picking a Date’, see my Top Tips below.
I should note at this stage I booked a wedding venue about a year before my wedding however 12 weeks before our wedding I had to change to another venue, as stressful as it was, it all worked out for the best in the end.
I’m very excited that I have now set the date for my wedding, it is just 6 months from TODAY, on 8th Feb 2019! SCARY
P.S It’s Date
1. Start Early, Be Flexible With Your Rules
First off, I recommend the first thing you do pretty soon after your engagement is get moving on selecting your venue and picking your date, as you will be surprised how long venues are booked up in advance. Ok, so maybe take a month or two to enjoy the engagement celebrations and lap up the buzz of it all but when the dust settles I really recommend you start your research on venues.
Having a few rules/guidelines is good, but I found you have to be flexible to a degree. So when you start researching you may have already set a few simple rules in your head, I know I did, I had 3….
1. I always wanted to have my wedding in May time, I have no real specific reason other than two of my sisters got married in this month and the weather was generally nice
2. I didn’t want my wedding during Christmas, as I LOVE this time of year and didn’t want my wedding overshadow it.
3. since I had been dating for so long I also didn’t want a long engagement, so ideally I wanted my wedding to be soonish but at the same time I wanted enough time to plan everything without rushing and adding unnecessary stress (for once in my life).
I found it was hard to tick all the boxes when picking a venue, so that’s where the flexibility needs to comes in, but the earlier you start the search the more likely you will get what you really want. What I also discovered is, its better to focus first on finding your perfect venue and then select a date from there, which I explore more below.
2. Start with the Venue, Begin with Research, Have a Checklist
Start with a basic checklist for yourself and keep a record for each venue. There is no right and wrong venue, but every couple like different things to suit their particular day – room capacity, location, driving distance, room layout, room style, any planned renovations, meal options, number of guest rooms, bar serving times, after party options and so forth. I found this fantastic checklist over on One Fab Day, its the ultimate Wedding Venue Checklist and is really worth having as a starting point.
Then start your research on all the possible venues and be open to suggestions on other options to consider. I’m glad I was, as the first venue I picked was a venue someone had recommend to me which I never heard off before. Then research is key before you start visiting, so I recommend you get in touch with the venue wedding planners to find out everything about the venue, search on their website and and use your check list as a guide to see if it is suitable to visit or not. From here you will start to narrow it down, as there is no point visiting venues that will not cater for your numbers for example. On the topic of numbers, this is the exact reason I had to change my venue, as the one I originally booked advised they cater for a certain number, however, and I should say thankfully, I starting my planning early in terms of table plans and seating and whilst I was doing this this is when I realised the hotel I booked did not cater for the number they advertised for. So my advise is make sure you see the room set up with the approx. tables you will have on the day, so you can clearly see the layout, spacing etc.
3. Fine Tune your List and Book Appointments
Once you have your list fine-tuned, then start to book some appointments. When you start your visits you will very quickly know what you like and don’t like and what suits and what doesn’t. We visited some amazing venues that I fell in love with, but then certain aspects didn’t hit all of the check list so very easily we started to rule ones out.
And don’t panic, you will know the ‘one’ for you, as you will instantly got a sense of a place and the right vibe and you will know what feels perfect for you and your guests.
4. Fine Tune Again
So after you have visited your venues you will know what works and what doesn’t and you will know what venue you are instantly drawn to.
You should very easily reduce your list and fine tune it to just a few final choices. Then I recommend to revisit again, maybe this time with a family member, and go and enjoy a meal or a drink, just to be sure. That way you get a proper feel of a place outside being there for a dedicated ‘wedding visit’
5. Picking ‘The One’
When you make your final selection you want to be 100% happy with everything about the venue from the room itself to the staff, the look and feel and everything in between.
I would prefer not to highlight my initial venue as I am not interested to highlight any negatives about any business, Instead I only like to promote businesses that I feel positive about.
The initial hotel we picked did tick all the boxes and only for the issue of the numbers, it was my perfect venue. So the search began again and we were so so lucky that the first venue that came to mind for both of us had availability on our same date.
So immediately we went to visit the hotel, which was ‘The Slieve Russell Hotel’, we instantly knew it was perfect. Everything about it from the homely feel and warm welcome to the beautifully decorated function room and incredibly scenic setting.
6. Now For A Date
So now that you have selected your venue its now time to get a date. This is where some of my rules had to go out the window, well at least to a degree, so be a little prepared for that. Of course as part of your research you will ask about availability at your fine tune lists of venues , but you will find when you really love a venue you will work around the dates that they have available, which is exactly what I had to do.
The date we set with the initial hotel was the first free weekend in 2019, and we didn’t want a very long engagement, so in the end I had to sacrifice a Saturday for a Friday and forget about having my wedding in May, otherwise I would have had to wait to middle of 2020. So we went with 8th February, and as it happened we had a Winter Wedding, which I never thought I would have, but I’m still not compromising Christmas.
A Significant Date
Just a little story on my date…after setting my date I later discovered that it was the exact date my grandmother (who is also my godmother), and grandfather got married. And more than that when we get married next year on that day, they will be celebrating what would be their 75th wedding anniversary. When I found this out I was so delighted to hear and this makes it extra special for me, so it goes to show how all works out in the end.
So all in all, I recommend when your starting out, start early, have your checklist, do your research, pick the venue first that is everything you want and love and then pick your date.
Good luck with your search.
What’s Next in my Wedding Series?
Keep a watch for the next series when I’m talking about saying ‘YES TO THE DRESS’.