Choosing an Independent Wedding Venue
Choosing a wedding venue is one of the first and most important tasks that any couple need to take care of when planning a wedding. The film set for your fairytale, the canvas on which the finer details will be painted, you want to fall in love with your venue – and avoid making expensive mistakes.
Whilst it's easy to get drawn in to the bravado and eye-catching marketing of the bigger venues, we're here to help you find a more personal place to host your big day, with a guide to choosing an independent venue for your wedding.
Why An Independent Venue?
When planning your big day, you want every detail to be just how you imagined it, right? But most of the popular wedding venues have strict policies and packages, making it very difficult to add those personal touches that make a wedding so special. Even the basics such as food, drink and (believe it or not) cutting your own cake come with a premium.
On the other hand, an independent wedding venue will let you take the reigns and indulge your creativity, for a reception that completely reflects you as a couple. Not to mention saving you an arm and a leg in the process.
Finding a Venue
Unlike the major venues, these smaller, independent alternatives have very little exposure. In fact, some may not market themselves as a ‘wedding venue’ at all, so be prepared to spend some time and effort finding somewhere that stands out. Try to bear in mind aspects such as the theme, number of guests you want to invite, and your budget when embarking on your search, so you don't waste time looking at venues that don't tick all the boxes.
Village halls, period homes and halls (not the National Trust sort, mind), gardens and even forests can make the perfect location for your special day. If you don't already have some venues in mind, choose a sunny weekend and drive around the area and local villages, where you're bound to pass a few low-key but effortlessly charming spots.
Securing Your Venue
But how do you go about contacting the owners of these niche venues? If you can't find an email address or contact number online, go down the traditional route and simply knock on the door. Not only will you get the answers you need faster, but for venues with a private owner it's a good opportunity to introduce yourself as a couple and discuss how you'd like to customise their venue.
If possible, arrange another time when you can have a tour and sit down to talk through plans in detail, such as the facilities, number of guests, times and dates you'd like to hire the venue, and the all-important price. Unlike bigger venues, you'll find it's much easier to negotiate on the costs and finer details, and you'll be able to save on aspects such as corkage and catering by doing it yourself!
If you decide to go in search of an independent venue, always consider if you and your partner can imagine your big day unfolding there. Not every venue will be right for your wedding, but when you do find the one you'll be rewarded with an affordable blank canvas that you can make your own for the most important day in your relationship.