Apr 1, 2016

2016 Wedding Guide Part 1: Getting The Most Out Of Your Wedding Venue – Top Ten Things You Need To Know & Mustn’t Be Afraid To Ask!

Spring is in the air and with that comes romance – proposals and weddings – somehow the return of sunshine and flowers makes us feel all smushy inside. So if your wedding is coming up this spring, here are our top ten tips for getting the most out of your venue and if you’ve just got engaged we’ve also got two lists of our favourite venues – whether you’re having a small and intimate affair or big nuptials with all the trimmings.

Over at privatediningrooms HQ we all agree that starting to organise a wedding is like getting on a treadmill going at full pelt and on incline – it’s like this world that you’ve never before encountered suddenly sucks you in and tells you it’s never going to be possible within that time frame – a year or two ahead – and that it’s all going to cost WAY more than you had ever imagined.

Well that’s just not true. Check out these tips to make sure you get the most out of your venue – whether it’s a big lavish bash or a smaller affair on a tight budget.

1. Restaurants and venues that are usually closed at weekends are more likely to give you a good deal for exclusive take overs as they don’t have to decline or cancel normal customers – so consider The City and Sundays.

2. Will the venue be charging room hire or minimum spend? We prefer a reasonable minimum spend – so work out your rough budget and if that comes within the minimum spend – that way you won’t waste money on just room hire.

3. Check what comes as standard – many smaller venues have flowers already. This can provide a big saving – and you can ask whether they might, that week, be able to have colours that will complement your wedding colour scheme.

4. Check whether the venue has a room (not the toilets) that the bride & groom can freshen up in and ‘take five’ – it’s often a long day and it’s nice to be able to reapply a bit of lippy or just sit quietly for a moment and regroup.

5. Get the menu you want – it’s key to sit down with the chef and check what they can do for the price you can afford to pay. Seasonal produce will be more abundant and therefore often a good way to keep costs low – but also remember to check with chefs that they feel confident about producing the dishes for the number required on the day – a soufflé for instance is probably not a great idea for 100 guests – but a tartlet could work well.

6. Wine & corkage – Depending on your guests, this could be a serious chunk of your budget – work out what you need for the meal and toasts and check what the corkage is and whether they will negotiate on that. It may be better value to get wine elsewhere and pay the corkage.

7.Bar – to pay or not to pay, that is the question. This will largely depend on your budget but we would advise that for most folks, it’s sensible to stick to house spirits if you are providing a full bar – you don’t want random relatives suddenly feeling the urge to neck a whole load of 100-year old cognac!

8. Wedding cakes – check if the chef will make a cake and ask how much a birthday cake costs as well, so you have a comparable. Remember you don’t need to have a traditional cake – tiered cheesecake, croquembouche and cakes made of cheese are all popular alternatives.

9. Ask for the venue to throw in something complimentary– flowers, a glass of champagne on a arrival, tea and coffee, petit fours – these all add up on your bill and yet cost venues relatively little – many will be willing to provide one of these as a token of goodwill and feel good factor.

10. And finally – don’t be afraid to negotiate! Establish a relationship with your contact/coordinator and discuss politely venue costs, menu costs, corkage etc – Although this is the most romantic day of the couple’s life, for the venue this is their business and they will be happy to negotiate to provide a deal that works for them and your party!