Finding that utterly perfect and spot-on location to host your wedding celebration can be a tough job. The choice is limitless and if you’re not tied into a specific geographical area, then the world is quite literally your oyster and your hunting ground! It should be a fun part of the planning and once you have found and secured that ideal venue, many other parts of planning your vision do click into place. It is the biggest part of the planning and so important to get right, so Ananya is delighted to be hearing from wedding venue consultant (and former luxury wedding planner), Kelly Chandler of Kelly Chandler Consulting who shares her tips with you in an in-depth, two part blog, on some of the things to check before you secure your venue to be absolutely sure it’s for you; there is no right or wrong to some of these suggestions and restrictions, and some will be fine for you, others not - the aim with this feature is purely to give you the knowledge to ask the questions of the things that are hot on YOUR priority list.
1. Exclusivity and Venue Use
A great many wedding venues now offer exclusivity or some form of exclusive-use such that you are the only wedding on that day in that venue. This can however mean different things within different venues so don’t be afraid to ask and get specific on things. For some locations exclusivity can mean you have exclusive use of a certain dedicated banqueting area but say not bedrooms, for other locations, it can be full exclusive use of an entire home, gardens and grounds, for others it can be exclusive use between certain hours and not others. Do find out when your exclusive use starts and ends as every venue should have a policy on this and sometimes it’ll be for the day from early start and sometimes it’ll include an overnight. Find out what their policy is on other events and other clients and if they run exclusive use events back to back (or not); don't be afraid to ask about supplier access too - in some cases venues will allow suppliers to gain access early to set up the design, in others it’s a strict access time for anything to do with your wedding.
2. Recommended/Preferred and Approved Supplier List
Get super clear on a venue’s policy with working with suppliers and outside wedding professionals and see that it works for you. There is a difference between a recommended or preferred supplier list where the venue is usually giving you the benefit of their tried and trusted list that you can, but are not obliged to, use and an Approved Supplier List which is usually where you MUST pick from that list. It’s quite customary for a venue to have an Approved list you must use in the areas of catering, lighting and production and entertainment and marquee build, when you consider these are the areas which require a lot of equipment and run the greatest degree of risk, it’s vital that venues have control over the quality and professionalism of who works with them in order to protect their places and spaces for all clients. Many venues will be more than happy for you to use your own chosen suppliers in many areas - do ask if and how they will be able to obtain access to view the venue in advance of the wedding as this can be needed in the case of for example a florist who needs to see a new space before coming up with full designs for you.
3. Rules and Restrictions
It’s quite usual for venues to have some rules and restrictions around the following, so do ask away to see what your venue policy is and if this works for you. Do bear in mind that most rules are there to protect the fabric of the building in the case of heritage properties, to ensure guest safety and to ensure that the venue can continue to operate in the case of noise restrictions - venue operators can have their license removed if noise pollution becomes an issue so understandably they need to enforce some restrictions to protect against this: Confetti throwing - is it allowed? Sometimes biodegradable/real petal variety is in some parts of the venue, but often not on gravel or on floors that may stain. Naked flames - many venues ban candles entirely or limit the use of free standing candelabra and naked flames not in safe containers. Dark drinks - in some heritage buildings red wine & berry based drinks are forbidden except at seated dinners because of the spillage and staining risk. Dancing - often this will need to take place in certain parts of the venue only and between certain hours - do check and also if you need to install and pay for a dance floor.
Fireworks - often these are not allowed due to disruption to livestock and damage to grounds but some venues have preferred suppliers who can work on their property if you have your heart set on this - do ask. Sound limiters - noise pollution is one of the biggest risks to a wedding venue not being able to continue to operate so owners and managers take this seriously. Sometimes they are required to install an actual sound limiter within the property, other times it’s monitored more subjectively but do ask what sound limits exist within your preferred venue and what entertainment most couples choose. If you have your heart set on a 10 piece big band and your venue has a fierce sound meter, this is unlikely to be a match; most venues with sound limiters tend to lean towards DJs rather than live bands, that said live bands can and do perform within the limits of sound, it will be important to work with a professional band who takes this seriously and prepares in advance in terms of their instruments and kit - it usually makes sense to work with the venue's preferred list in this case as the band/DJ will have worked there before.
Thank you Kelly for the insightful and informative first three points on booking a venue. We at Ananya love working with venues and are delighted to be a preferred wedding stationery supplier for some.
Part Two will follow shortly, so stay tuned.
Headshot photo of Kelly Chandler: http://www.annelimarinovich.com
Venue: Warmwell House, Dorset: https://www.warmwell-house.com
Photography: Imogen Xiana https://www.imogenxiana.com
Bridal Accessories, Hair and Make up: http://www.victoriafergusson.co.uk
Model (bride): http://www.tanyalouisecumberland.com
Bridal gowns: http://www.naomineoh.com
Silk ribbons and silk runner: http://www.pompomblossom.com
Furniture - white chairs for ceremony: http://www.thewhitechaircompany.co.uk
Cross back chairs & wooden bar unit for cake/champagne station: http://dpmarquees.co.uk