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Things To Consider When Looking For A Wedding Venue

Booking a wedding venue can be one of the most critical decisions in wedding planning.  Scotland, in particular, is known for its stunning castles, historic buildings, and scenic outdoor locations, so you are spoiled for choice!

Some couples are lucky enough to know immediately when they find their venue – they can picture themselves there on the day, saying their vows and celebrating with their friends and family. However, there are still some very important criteria that you must keep in mind when looking around wedding venues.

Here are several essential factors that you might want to consider, along with some tips and tricks that will ensure you choose the wedding venue that’s right for you

Budget

Ensure the venue fits within your overall wedding budget – even the most organised among us can end up underestimating hidden wedding costs! Ask about all costs, and if there are any additional charges that haven’t been mentioned.  

Also make sure you understand the payment terms – find out the deposit requirements, and cancellation policies.

Prices during low season are often much less expensive, while booking a venue in a high season month (between May and September) will cost more.   It also goes without saying that mid week weddings are usually less expensive than ceremonies that take place at the weekend. 

It can be very easy to be carried away with choosing venues and suppliers without doing the proper planning.  It’s also very easy to end up with a spiralling list of ideas to make the wedding the most perfect day. Try to remember that the day is about the two of you, and not an event to try to please everyone.

Location

Choose a location that is convenient for most guests, especially if many are travelling from out of town. If you have guests coming from abroad, how far is the closest international airport? Also consider proximity to hotels and transportation.  

It’s also worth considering travel time for evening only guests. Is a three hour drive really suitable for guests who are only invited to the reception? 

Capacity

Ensure the venue can comfortably accommodate your expected number of guests: too small and the room will feel stuffy and overcrowded, but too big and guests will feel lost and the space may feel cold.

Consider both seated arrangements for the ceremony and reception.  When a venue is empty it is hard to imagine how it will look when filled with tables, so try to view a venue when it is set up for a wedding. If this isn’t possible, ask to see photographs; most venues should have a photo book or slideshow that will illustrate what the space looks like when set up for a wedding.

Availability

Check if your preferred dates are available, and whether the venue can accommodate any backup dates, if necessary.

Consider the season and weather conditions. Outdoor venues should have a plan for bad weather (especially in Scotland!).  

Services and amenities

Identify what’s included in the rental fee (tables, chairs, linens, lighting, sound system, etc).

For destination weddings, check if the venue offers on-site accommodations, or has partnerships with local hotels. 

Catering

Check if the venue offers in-house catering, or has a preferred vendor list. Understand the menu options, pricing, and whether you can bring in outside caterers.

Check with your guests to see if anyone has any dietary requirements, eg vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc. Ensure that the caterer you decide to go with can cater for any and all requirements. Most venues will take such requirements very seriously, but do check before booking anything!

Logistics

Ensure there is ample parking for guests or consider arranging transportation.

Verify that the venue is accessible for guests with disabilities.

Understand any permits required for the event, and any venue-specific regulations or restrictions.

Vendor Policies

Some venues require you to use their preferred vendors for services like catering, photography, and florals. Make sure you’re comfortable with their recommendations.

If outside vendors are allowed, confirm any associated fees or requirements.

Style and ambiance

Evaluate the venue’s existing decor to see if it aligns with your wedding theme.

Determine how much you can personalise the space with your own decorations.

Entertainment

Perhaps you’re planning to go all out with magicians, sparklers, fireworks – if so, check if your venue will allow this, especially when it comes to fire-based entertainment!

Even if you’re opting for more traditional entertainment options like a DJ or wedding band, it’s still important to check whether or not your venue has the space and the facilities to support your chosen entertainment. 

If you’re planning a summer wedding, you should also check to see if the venue allows music outdoors, and what the cut-off time is for loud noise. 

Reputation and reviews

Ask for references and read online reviews to get an idea of other couples’ experiences.

Consider the venue’s experience with weddings. Experienced venues may offer better service, and anticipate potential issues.

Contracts and insurance

Read the contract thoroughly to understand all terms and conditions. Pay attention to cancellation policies, extra fees, and any clauses related to damage or liability.

Check if the venue requires event insurance and what it covers.

Taking the time to thoroughly evaluate these factors will help ensure that your wedding venue is a perfect fit for your big day!

I hope you found this article helpful.