Finding the right venue is so important – and stressful! – and this blog will walk you through some ideas, with some fab websites to check out ….
So when is the best time for a wedding?
By far and away the most popular months are April through to August – we have all seen those lovely photos of happy people on lush lawns sipping champagne, with the bride and groom having photos taken in idyllic and sunny surroundings. Here’s a reality check! Weather in the UK is not dependable! So no matter when you choose to get married, you must always take into account inclement weather and plan accordingly. May, June, September and October are statistically the driest months. When my daughter got married in October, the weather had been fine and clear for weeks, and perversely turned the day before the big day to cold and rain! Thankfully, the morning drizzle cleared and the sun came out for the afternoon ceremony and reception – and the photos were, indeed, lovely in the sunshine! My son got married at the beginning of September in glorious sunshine with a warm, still day and evening! Phew!
Late autumn or winter weddings may be dry and frosty – and TOP TIP – venues may charge less than during the peak wedding season. I know of one bride whose wedding is planned for early December, with a crystal white and silver theme. However, as always, there will be compromises needed in other areas. Fresh flowers out of season will be costly and your particular favourites may not be available. This particular bride is having a beautiful crystal white and silver brooch bouquet, and has commissioned from DunnCrafting button pomanders in white and silver for her bridesmaids and flowergirls.
TOP TIP: Consider using silk flowers – silk peonies and roses are beautiful! At DunnCrafting, we offer bouquets, pomanders and flower baskets using silk peonies, foam roses and other lovely artificial flowers.
When planning a wedding abroad, I do think it is important to think about the cost to your guests.
Can you help them justify it by making this be part of their annual holiday? Will you be welcoming, and providing for, children?
Could their gift to you be attending your wedding?
Could your guests hire a villa? Sharing accommodation can be cost effective, as long as you get on with your house mates! This might be a good option for mutual friends, or groups of relatives. There are a number of companies that offer villas in Europe, and AirBnB may be another option.
Wedding packages are varied; some could end up being quite a bit less expensive than UK wedding packages
TOP TIP: Make sure you check the exchange rate, if payment is required in a currency other than sterling – with the value of sterling low at the moment, buying goods and services from overseas – and that includes weddings abroad, flights etc – may prove to be unexpectedly costly.
Questions to consider:
Can you do an exploratory visit so you can be sure that the beautiful photos and promotional material live up to the reality? Do you know anyone who has used this venue and can recommend it?
Where will the ceremony be? At the venue or the local church? Who will officiate – civil or religious? Each country has specific legal documentary requirements that you will need to provide in advance of your wedding; perfectweddingsabroad.co.uk have handy lists of legal requirements for each wedding venue they offer – although any actual forms are not available as they are part and parcel of the services that you buy into.
A Destination Wedding – BoaVista, Algarve, Portugal
The lovely Claire has kindly shared her memories of a wonderful day:
We were lucky in that the venue we chose in Portugal took care of most of the co-ordination so really we just needed to make decisions on what we wanted and they took care of pulling it all together. My plan from the very beginning had been to focus on our guests’ experience and so we tried to plan the day around what they would be doing, as I have been to lots of weddings where the cocktails last way too long and become boring while the bride and groom undertake their photo shoot, or the reception venue is difficult to get to from the Church, etc.
We organised a wedding weekend so we had a cocktail party on the Friday evening, the big day on the Saturday, and then a brunch on the Sunday morning. It was nice to spread it over the three days and really made it feel special.
I would recommend trying to find a venue where everyone can stay on site as that helps the guests that don’t know each other mingle, and also means people can pop back to their accommodation to change into more comfortable shoes, grab a cardie etc.
My personal highlights of the things we did were sparklers for our first dance and the fireworks for the cutting of the cake. As a gift for our guests, we bought small paintings of various scenes of the Church where we got married, one for each of the couples attending the wedding, and I think that was very much appreciated. It’s lovely to go round to our friends’ houses and see that they have all put the painting up so have a piece of our special day in their homes.
Brilliant websites full of excellent advice and links for destination weddings
Destination wedding in USA:
Destination weddings in Europe for UK couples
WEDDINGS AT HOME
Choosing a venue in the UK
First question – will your ceremony be civil or religious?
If you are opting for a civil ceremony, hotels, manor houses and all sorts of other places offer complete packages and are licensed to hold civil ceremonies – you will need to contact the local wedding Registrar but your chosen venue should be able to guide you, if you need their help.
If your ceremony will be religious, you will be looking for a reception venue. This really opens up your choices as there is no ceremony licensing requirement – and this can help with costs too, as these venues tend to be less busy and therefore offer great packages to encourage you to book!
If your guests are travelling some distance, it can be helpful to select a venue that offers accommodation – certainly for the bridal party, if not for every guest.
For example, my son’s wedding was in Dorset and the reception was held at Muddiford Court Country House. Katie’s family lived nearby and the ceremony was in her home village church, but other members of the bridal party travelled some distance, and the reception venue had lovely rooms to accommodate us.