How to... find your perfect Norfolk or Suffolk wedding venue
As I’m sure you know, I’m a wedding photographer. What you might not know, though, is that I’m also a bride-to-be and a journalist for a national bridal magazine. As such, I like to think that I have gained a lot of knowledge in the last twelve months regarding everything wedding related. So why not spread the love and share some tips and tricks for planning your perfect wedding? First up: venues.
Your wedding venue is one of the most important things to get right, and should be at the top of your planning list. It will impact so many of your other decisions, and should, therefore, be the first thing you book. Here’s how to find your ideal wedding venue in Norfolk or Suffolk.
1. Set a rough budget
When you begin wedding planning, the first conversation you have with your partner should be about your budget. Although no one really likes talking about money, and it can get awkward, it’s important to get it out of the way. Without knowing your budget, you won’t know where to even begin searching for a venue. Venues can vary in price from a couple of hundred pounds to several thousand, so you need to know what kind of price tier you’re aiming for.
2. Think about your guest list
Do you have a big family? Will everyone be invited? Are you going to allow plus ones? Or are you planning a small, intimate celebration? Your rough guest list will be another element that impacts your hunt for a wedding venue. There’s no point booking a venue tour at a grand ballroom if your wedding is only going to be for you and your nearest and dearest; likewise, it’d be a waste of time exploring a tiny registry office if you’re trying to accommodate several hundred people.
3. Location, location, location
While many people choose to marry in the region they live in, a lot of people choose to host their wedding in a destination away from home. This can be for of a variety of reasons, such as family ties, personal history, a couple’s love for a particular region or country or even an elopement. Think about where you want to get married, and why. You should also take into consideration how far your guests will have to travel to get there, and whether it’s convenient for everyone.
4. What’s included?
Before you book your venue, make sure you check out what is included in the venue hire. Some venues will have full packages wherein they supply everything for you, while others might only provide certain elements. There are also blank canvas venues available, in which you have to source and book every supplier yourself – and some venues will charge you for the smallest extras such as cutlery, linen and crockery. Study the venue’s brochure hard before booking; otherwise, you might get caught out.
5. Your theme and colour scheme
Your venue should fit the style of wedding you’re aiming to have – and the style of wedding you’re planning to have should match your personality. While planning a wedding can be intimidating and it’s easy to get swayed in different directions, you should always try to stay true to yourself. So when you’re looking at venues, try to envisage how you and your partner will look within it. If you’re a nature-lover at heart who longs for a floaty boho dress, don’t even bother looking at posh hotels; likewise, if you’re planning a traditional white wedding with a big princess ballgown, it wouldn’t make sense to start your search with outdoorsy, woodland venues.
6. Visit the venue
It’s so important to take a tour around the venues you’re interested in. They might look different in real life than on the website; there might be some kind of access issue that isn’t highlighted online; ownership may have changed hands; it could be smaller than expected... the list goes on and on. Visit the venue and meet with the wedding coordinator to ensure that everything is exactly right. It also gives you a chance to ask plenty of questions and familiarise yourself with how the day will flow.
I hope these tips have helped some of you brides- and grooms-to-be out there with your venue hunt. If you’re ever in need of venue recommendations, please don’t hesitate to let me know!