As a wedding planner, I am familiar with quite a few venues and it’s really easy to just list all the beautiful ones that look good and have capacity for the number of guests you are inviting. But for me, the perfect wedding venue has to have so much more.
You might have an idea in your mind that you want to get married in a particular style of venue. You might like the idea of a barn reception, or saying ‘I do’ in a Highland castle for example. Maybe you’ve got your eye on an English country manor house. But take it from me, there’s more to choosing the right venue than just looking at the bricks and mortar.
The Bingham Hotel, Richmond, Surrey
For me, it’s mostly about the people.
Everyone you come into contact with at the venue will be critical to your enjoyment of the day, so it’s really important to choose one with exceptional customer service.
Depending on the size of venue, you will often come across several of the venue’s staff. Larger venues have sales staff that show you round, talk you through the benefits of a wedding at their venue and eventually take your booking. Different staff from the operational team will then manage your wedding day. Smaller venues are likely to have one or two people who cover off both these areas.
My advice would be to spend some time at the venue beforehand to get a real feel for the people. If you are thinking about having a civil ceremony and reception at a hotel for instance, book a meal or an overnight stay well in advance so that you can sample the customer service for yourself.
Is the receptionist courteous? If you’ve been for a visit once or twice, do they recognise you and welcome you personally? How is the service at dinner? Was the food inspirational and well prepared? Do the staff smile and look happy? All these things will impact on your day.
Bisham Abbey in Buckinghamshire
I’ve been married for nearly a decade now. My husband and I return to our wedding venue every year. Why? Well, the staff at the hotel were true professionals in the run up to our big day and were nothing but outstanding on the day itself. We remember their amazing hospitality and I can hand-on-heart say that they have been consistently outstanding every year since.
If ‘customer service’ features highly on your list too, you might be interested to know that in the coming months I will be revealing some of my favourite wedding venues that tick this all important box.