How to choose your wedding venue

How to choose your wedding venue is one of the key decisions in planning your wedding. It is the cornerstone of your special day. It is an integral part of your wedding design, or, it can be the design itself.


Either way, it’s one of the first decisions you will make on your wedding journey. So here are my hints and tips on how to choose the right wedding venue for you.

Photo JEA Photography at Oaktree Farm Weddings
B&N outdoor wedding day - couple bride and groom with purple smokebomb in the background
Photo Gin Fizz Photography at Castle View Farm & Stales

Where to start

There are a couple of areas you will both have to agree on before you select your wedding venue.

How Many Guests?

A small intimate affair, or, a larger, all singing & all dancing, wedding? There is no point looking at 250 people capacity venues if you are only intending to have 50 people. You need to fill a venue comfortably. You don’t want to be squeezed in or battling to get out from the table. At the same time you don’t want loads of idle space. Its a delicate balance.


I know on my wedding day the location was pre-determined as it was close to the largest family. This reduced travelling time and hotel costs for them. Bear in mind where the people you really want at your wedding live as this can be a factor.


Country barn v industrial buildings, city centre venue v country manor house, marquee or tipi, or a totally different quirky venue. You need to have a high level view of your wedding style before you start.

wedding venue visits

planning your visits

Now for the all-important wedding venue visits. Make a shortlist of selected venues and book appointments to get shown around.


Always see your venue made up for a wedding. It’s amazing how different they can look when they are all decorated. This is where venue open days are useful (though if they are busy you might not get much time with the venue co-ordinator). Think about penciling in your preferred wedding date to give you time to book a follow up visit – you can normally do this for up to 2 weeks with no charge.


When you are going around your potential wedding venue imagine how the day will work. For example, from the initial ceremony (if on site) to the wedding breakfast to the evening reception.


Think carefully about where people will be between stages. For example, if the main room needs to be reset to move from the wedding breakfast to the evening reception where will people go? How will you keep them entertained?


I always recommend seeing more than one venue – even when you think you have found your ideal one. It will give you a valuable comparison and will ratify your decision.

Photo Only Lovers Photography
Photo Angela Ward Brown Photography from Nottingham Tipi Wedding
Photo Kelly Hiscox Photography

Where to start

We’ve pulled together the main questions to ask your wedding venue during your visits

Whats included?

Understand what is included in the hire price. It's key to comparing between different wedding venues. Understand if there are corkage charges for bringing in your own alcoholic drinks - a lot of venues offer 'no corkage' charges in the day now. Consider things like table linen, centrepieces and even the cake stand/knife. Watch out for inclusive or exclusive of VAT

How many guests does it hold?

Confirm the venues capacity – for both day and evening (if applicable)

Confirm access times

Understand what time you can you get access to the venue and what time do you have to depart. This impacts on set up and take down times. If you are planning a wedding weekend, you wouldn't want a venue which only allows access on your wedding day. If you are having a marquee wedding, make sure the set up and take down days are included.

wedding venue hunting explained

the knitty gritty


Depending on your wedding plans understanding what accomodation is nearby. Is it onsite or offsite?
For glamping and camping, confirm set up arrangements & any specific requirements
For hotel bookings, look at whether there a discounted rate for wedding guests? Can they hold a block booking for you? Try and take a look at any accommodation to check its suitable, especially if you have guests with special requirements.

Come rain or shine

Make you have a wet weather and a dry weather plan. If you are planning an outdoor wedding ceremony, what happens if it rains? Can you move inside?


Understand the catering options. Does the venue have preferred caterers or can you bring your own onto site. Is there a tasting day you can attend to help make up your mind? Confirm they can cope with dietary requirements and/or children?

Photo Hannah Hall Photography
Sperry Tent - Pole Marquee- from Boutique Marquees with entrance walkway, outdoor lounge seating area and festoon lights - Rutland garden wedding
Photo Chris fossey Photography
rutland wedding - fun wedding - east midlands wedding planner - Leicestershire wedding planning - nottingham wedding planning - bride and groom first dance
Photo Shoot it Momma Photography at Rutland Village Hall
wedding venue hunting explained

the legal bits

Review the Terms & Conditions

Understand the venues cancellation charges? I know this is something you won’t even want to consider but it’s important to understand in case the unexpected happens. Especially since the COVID pandemic, these clauses are all the more important

The finishing touches

Make sure your wedding venue can accomodate things like Fireworks if you are planning them. What time are they licensed until? What is the cut off time for music?

Finding the right wedding suppliers for you

Recommended Suppliers

It’s always worth grabbing a venues preferred supplier list but please bear in mind that sometimes the supplier will have paid to be on the list, or, they pay the venue back a commission for each referral.



You should always look around at all the wedding suppliers in your area to make sure you are getting the best possible (and paying the right price). Wedding planners, like the team here at ‘that black & white cat’, offer a service to source the very best reliable wedding suppliers for you.

Photo Aaron Storry Photography at Stoke Rochford Hall, Nottinghamshire