Ceremony sign

Choosing the Wedding Venue

Where to Get Married and what Kind of  Ceremony to Opt For?

The choice of wedding venue has never been so great…. but which type of venue will you go for? Most couples have romanticised about what type of wedding they would like to have, and nearly every ‘bride to be’ will have fantasised about her big day.

Where to get Married?

The wedding venue decision may have already been pre-empted depending on religious beliefs, in which case it makes things a lot easier. However, for those couples who have not made a decision, here are a few factors to take into consideration before deciding.

If you have an idea of what time of year you’d like to get married this may help your decision on venue. For example, if you want guaranteed sunshine you’d probably opt for a wedding abroad. Also, the amount of guests you would like to invite could determine where you hold your service.

There are mainly four types of venue to consider when planning your wedding ceremony: church, hotel, register office or overseas.

Church Weddings

A church wedding is still considered to be the most traditional, but it can also be the most expensive. Normally the chosen church is in the parish of the bride’s parents, but if couples have been co-habiting in a different parish they can approach the church there. Discussions with the vicar will have to take place regarding the ceremony, and you will probably be required to attend at least three Sunday services when the wedding banns will be read out prior to your wedding day. Rehearsals are held near to the big day which can help put minds at rest too.

This type of wedding may seem to be one of the most straightforward, but there are still various options to be considered such as bell ringers, an organist, a choir and flowers. All these unfortunately come with a cost, as well as the cost for the use of the church. There are two versions of the service on offer, the traditional service or the shortened version which lasts around 45 minutes, and tends to be the most popular. This service consists of two hymns, a reading, the wedding vows and the signing of the marriage register.

Flowers could be a problem if you are planning on getting married during the religious term of Lent, as they are generally not allowed in church. However, some parishes do allow flowers, but they have to be taken out before the next Sunday service. This might seem like a hassle but it could work to your advantage, as if the florist is willing, they could remove the flowers from the church after the service whilst photos are being taken and they could be used at the reception, for example the pew end flowers could be used on the backs of chairs or even as table centres.

A church setting does provide a good backdrop for photographs before and after the service, and these tend to be taken quickly as there are no distractions such as a bar for guests!

Hotels and Licensed Venues

Hotels or other licensed venues are another option for your wedding venue. These types of places are becoming more and more popular for prospective brides and grooms. They tend to be less formal than a church as the atmosphere is more relaxed. Most hotels that offer wedding packages have a wedding co-ordinator on site who helps you plan your big day such as the meal, the wedding cake, entertainment and guest rooms if required.

Transport does not become a headache if you hold your wedding at a hotel, and weather also does not become such a worry as everything is indoors. However, hotels that have extensive grounds will let you hold your drinks reception and have your photos taken in the gardens if you prefer.

It’s generally considered that hotel weddings are cheaper than church weddings due to the packages a lot of venues offer now, for example a free room for the bride and groom, and discounted room prices for wedding guests. But they do tend to charge a room hire charge of £250 upwards, plus registrar fees of around £280, so bear this in mind if you have a budget to adhere to.

Register Office Marriages

A register office is probably the simplest type of wedding to have and also the cheapest option, costing around £30 per person, and then a cost of around £180 to £200 for the registrar’s fees. This type of wedding and venue is simple to arrange, and can often be done at the last minute as it is much less formal, and by law you only need two witnesses to attend if you do not want any guests.

The down side of a register office wedding is that the venue itself can be very plain and drab compared to a church or hotel, and there is not the opportunity to dress up the room with flowers. They can also be restrictions on the amount of guests you would like to attend. However, register offices are much less intimidating than larger venues, so nerves can be calmed more easily.

Weddings Abroad

Surprisingly enough, weddings abroad, or destination weddings, tend to work out the cheapest. It is similar to a hotel wedding in this country, as many tour companies now offer wedding packages. They will arrange everything for you from the hotel, flowers, service, meals, wedding cake, and rooms, to even the transportation of your wedding dress making sure it arrives undamaged. There are some beautiful settings around the world where you can now get married, whether it is on the beach or in a quaint rustic chapel. Most hotels also include your honeymoon in the package so you can relax after all the guests have left.

However, do check with whichever venue you choose about their terms for weddings, such as will yours be the only wedding to be held that day, and will you be able to have a private ceremony. Unfortunately you will not have as much control over your day as you would if it were to be in the United Kingdom.

With a lot of weddings which take place overseas, it means that some of the wedding party’s friends and families are not able to attend due to various reasons, but a lot of couples hold a second reception party when they return home for those who couldn’t make it, and it’s also a good chance to show off your tan! The most important thing is that you and your prospective husband have the wedding you want and are comfortable with, as half the fun is in the planning!

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