Choosing your Venue Style
Before you begin the search for potential venues, you need to think about the style of venue you would like. While this might sound tricky, you probably already know. When you picture your wedding day, do you imagine yourselves dining in a spectacular country house steeped in character, like Davenport House, or in a contemporary boutique hotel in the heart of a city? Do you want the convenience and bustle of a bijou, city centre pad, the boho style of a rural barn or the tranquillity and individuality of a privately owned house set amidst acres of countryside?
Consider your colour palette, the final look you would like to achieve, the level of formality you would like to create and the overall environment. Just by doing this, you will form an instant vision of the perfect venue. Now, all you have to do is turn the dream in to a reality!
Numbers and Practicalities
With your style in mind, it’s time to get down to basics. Every couple should plan their budget and guest list before making any bookings, knowing how much they have to spend on each element of their wedding and how many people they would like to accommodate.
Of course, while it’s important to find a venue that is sizeable enough to seat your guests for both your ceremony and wedding breakfast, you don’t want to ‘rattle around’ a space that is too large. If you plan to host a smaller celebration, look for venues that offer options for more intimate dining so you don’t risk dampening your atmosphere or ambience. Our spectacular Shropshire wedding venue offers options for both lavish celebrations and more intimate weddings.
Think about what you want your wedding venue to offer. Are you planning a religious ceremony or would you like to marry and celebrate under one roof? If you’d like to stay overnight, accommodation will be an important element. Perhaps you might like a luxurious honeymoon suite and just enough bedrooms for your closest friends and family, or maybe you’re looking for a hotel where every one of your guests can spend the night. AtDavenport House, we pride ourselves in offering luxurious bedrooms in the house and cottages in the gardens. And, with a range of additional accommodation in nearby towns – there’s something for everyone!
Finally, consider the seasons. If you have your heart set on a summer celebration, outdoor space is going to be really important to you, with welcome drinks on the lawn and garden games before sunset. For an autumn or winter wedding, while you might appreciate beautiful surroundings, you’re likely to favour a venue with stunning interior décor and a cosy vibe. Lighting will be a crucial, and you’ll fall in love with a space that boasts high-ceilings for tall candelabra and enchanting chandeliers.
Consider your Guests
Happy guests make a great party, so always spare a thought for your guests when planning your wedding.
Think about how they are going to travel to your venue and whether it is close to good road networks or public transport. When they get there, can they spend the night? Alternatively, can they find accommodation within easy reach? Imagine yourself as a guest at your wedding. Does it look comfortable and welcoming? Are there areas to relax away from the dance floor?
Of course, you also need to decide whether or not you are going to invite children to your big day. If you are, it’s essential to find a venue that will welcome them and to think about how they are going to be entertained on the day.There’s nothing children love more than a large garden and a treasure hunt, and perhaps a quiet space in the evening where they can retreat to play games or watch a movie.
Finding your Venue
With style, size, location and budget in mind, your search can begin. The web, with its multitude of online venue directories, is the perfect place to start hunting. You might also be inspired by bridal magazines, blogs and real life wedding stories.
With a list of possible venues in mind, you can begin to make appointments. After all, you won’t truly know you’ve found ‘the one’ until you walk through the door. Some couples even realise as soon as they walk down a driveway. The key here is to only make appointments with venues that really fit the bill. If they’re out of your budget, too small or really don’t offer what you’re looking for, don’t waste your time or theirs. Of course, there are sometimes compromises to be made. If a dream venue is over budget, you might decide to stretch the funds a little or save on another area of the wedding. And, if it’s too small… perhaps it’s time to cut down the guest list a little!
Make your phone calls, ask about wedding date availability and get some appointments in the diary.
Your First Visit
As well as ticking all the boxes, the right venue should give you both a great feeling from start to finish. The welcome you receive from the event team is your first indicator. After all, you need to form a good relationship with every supplier connected to this special day.
As you walk around, try to imagine how your wedding day will flow. Take a stroll down the aisle, sit in the room where your wedding breakfast will take place and wander around the grounds. Think about the timings of your day and ask as many questions as you can – this is your day and there’s no such thing as a silly question. This useful list will come in handy.
When to Book
Put your venue search and booking at the top of your ‘to do’ list, closely followed by other key suppliers such as your caterer, florist and photographer. You really can’t book anything else until you have your venue set in stone and, with many wedding venues booked up at least 12 months in advance, particularly on peakSaturday dates, it’s never too early.
If you are planning a wedding with relatively short notice, you may have to be a little flexible with dates. Always ask a potential venue whether they have any offers or discounts that apply to specific dates.
How to Book your Venue
You might decide to visit a potential venue more than once before confirming your booking, perhaps taking along your parents to ask their opinion.
Once your decision is made, it’s time to discuss the booking and payment process. You should expect to receive a written agreement which you need to read through carefully, familiarising yourself with any cancellation policies and making sure you’re aware of any hidden costs from VAT to service charges.
If you are unsure of anything, this is the time to ask, before signing on the dotted line and paying your deposit.
The Next Steps
With your venue booked, you can start organising the rest of your day. Use the expertise and experience offered by the planners or events team at your venue, making the most of their contacts and lists of suppliers which are likely to be invaluable when choosing your florist, photographer, videographer, caterer and entertainment.
These vendors often come highly recommended and are familiar with your chosen venue which is a great start.
It can also be a good idea to send ‘save the date’ cards to your guests, particularly if you have any travelling from overseas. With your wedding date and venue to hand, they can start to make their travel plans.
Stay focused and organised, enjoying each element of the planning process, staying within your budget and time frame and dreaming of that wonderful day ahead.
Kate Smallwood is a journalist and presenter specialising in weddings. With a career spanning over 20 years, she has worked for some of the UK’s most prestigious consumer bridal titles, hosted tv shows and national exhibitions, launched ground-breaking websites and advised some of the nations most elegant wedding venues.
Find out more about holding your civil ceremony at this enchanting wedding venue in Shropshire by getting in touch with us today. You can check if your perfect date is free, explore the venue in our wedding brochure, or arrange to come and see it for yourself, all by using the buttons below.
Davenport House is a unique and unforgettable venue, steeped in history, elegance, style and romance. This magnificent Georgian estate in a stunning countryside location is the perfect choice if you are looking for a country house venue in Shropshire for weddings, birthdays and any occasion offering an unforgettable setting with the most picturesque surroundings.