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How to Choose Your Perfect Wedding Venue – 7 Top Tips

⁠Happy New Year 2020! Did you just get engaged and can’t wait to start planning the wedding day you have always dreamed about? Well firstly CONGRATULATIONS! Welcome to the great big world of wedding planning!  Choosing your perfect wedding venue is one of the first BIG decisions you have to make for your wedding (along with getting your photographer booked in!)⁠. But where do you begin? We are so lucky to have so many fantastic wedding venues local to us in Derbyshire, hopefully these seven top tips might help guide you toward your decision! Enjoy your search!

1. How Many Guests:

Firstly, how many guests do you plan on having? This is a great place to start when choosing the best wedding venue for your wedding. What size venue should you be considering? Do you need a big venue with large capacity rooms because you are having a large number of guests, or do you require a smaller more intimate venue as your smaller guest list will look swamped in a big venue? Also bear in mind that at most venues you will pay per head for your wedding breakfast meal, so if you plan on having a very large guest list then maybe you might need to consider a venue than can provide you with an affordable price per head, instead of that boutique venue with much higher costs per person.

Large Capacity Venues: The West Mill, Derby;  Wentworth Woodhouse, Sheffield;  Victoria Warehouse, Manchester;  Stapleford Park, Leicestershire;  Calke Abbey Riding School, Derby.
Small Intimate Venues: Aswarby Rectory, Nottinghamshire;  Ticknall Village Hall, Derby;  The Hurt Arms, Derbyshire;  Alrewas Hayes; Staffordshire;  The Old Vicarage, Nottinghamshire.

2. Outdoor Space? 

Is outdoor space important to you and your wedding day? Do you like the idea of everyone being able to relax outside on the grass and play lawn games in front of beautiful countryside views, or is your style more city centre urban and you don’t mind not having any outside space? Answering this question will help guide your search toward venues in certain types of locations. Even if you are planning on getting married in winter and don’t plan on being able to use the outside space, you might still want that rural venue with countryside views out of all the windows for the feel it will give your wedding day.

Venues with lots of Outdoor Space: Ticknall Village Hall, Derby;  Stapleford Park, Leicestershire;  Yeldersley Hall, Derbyshire;  Elvaston Castle, Derby;  The Hidden Hive, Derbyshire;  Sami Tipi at Cuttle Brook, Derby.

3. Where in the World?

Now that you have narrowed down your search to certain sized venues in rural or urban locations, you can start to consider other important variables that will affect your ideal venue location. You might want to consider where your family and friends are mostly located? (Or maybe the whole idea is to escape to somewhere remote and secluded to enable you to have the intimate wedding of your dreams. Maybe even another country!) Possibly you are planning a church ceremony which will therefore limit your venue location due to the church’s residency rules.

4. Venue Style:

Next, it’s a great idea to consider what type of venue fits your planned wedding style. Are you planning a super laid back day with boho styling and groomsmen in chinos? In that case you probably won’t want to choose a grand stately home venue for your wedding day. Similarly, a local village hall might not match your black-tie NYE champagne event. Maybe you like the look of a quirky boutique venue, with lots of hidden secrets and perfect for your wedding stylist to go to town on? Do you need onsite accommodation? With so many venues a stones throw from Derbyshire we really are able to find something just perfect for our unique wedding day.

Boutique Style Venues: Aswarby Rectory, Nottinghamshire;  Norwood Park, Nottinghamshire;  Kedleston Country House, Derby;  The Old Vicarage, Nottinghamshire;  The Pumping House, Nottinghamshire;   Iscoyd Park, Shropshire.
Rustic Style Venues: Hazel Gap Barn, Nottinghamshire;  Inkersall grange Farm, Nottinghamshire;  Swancar Farm, Nottingham;  Calke Abbey Riding School, Derby;  The Ashes Barns, Stoke;  Haarlem Mill, Derbyshire.
Grand Venues: Wentworth Woodhouse, Sheffield;  Stapleford Park, Leicestershire;  Chatsworth House, Derbyshire;  Sutton Bonington Hall, Loughborough;  Hoar Cross Hall, Staffordshire;  Tissington Hall, Derbyshire.
Pub/Hotel Venues: The Hurt Arms, Derbyshire;  Peak Edge Hotel, Derbyshire;  The White Hart Moorwood Moor, Derbyshire;  The Riverside Gallery, Nottingham.

5. Check the Staff Out:

What are the staff and wedding coordinators like? This sounds like a funny one to need to consider when choosing your perfect wedding venue but the staffing at a venue can really make or break your relaxed wedding day dreams! Make sure you meet with staff that would be looking after your wedding booking and day. Do they properly listen to you and understand your vision, or are they just fitting you into their standardised box? Do they share your values and what is important to you for your wedding day? Are they inclusive, welcoming, and friendly? Have they run wedding days like yours before? How experienced are they? Do they have plenty of Plan-B’s in case things don’t go to plan? Do they answer your emails and phone calls in a timely manner? – I have been to many many weddings and I have seen awesome wedding coordinators and absolutely terrible ones! Make sure you don’t end up with a terrible one!

6. Is a ‘Plan B’ Option Available?

Let’s just say you dream of an outdoor ceremony with festoon lighting and picnic blankets on the floor of the orchard. So you choose a venue that offers this idyllic day. But unfortunately we live in the UK with it’s delightfully unpredictable weather and rainy summers. So if it happens to be raining on your wedding day, is there a Plan B available at your wedding venue? Even if you don’t plan on an outdoor wedding you might still need to consider this if your venue relies on being able to use the outside space in order to comfortably fit all of your guests in. A venue like the West Mill is great no matter the weather as there is so much space inside, so you are sorted even if it’s blowing a gale out there. A venue like the lovely Carriage Hall in Nottingham can feel quite small and cramped if you aren’t able to spill into the outside during room turn-around and so on.

7. What Venue Just *Feels Right*?

We can do so much of our venue hunting from the comfort of our own homes nowadays. We can visit the venue’s website, look at online reviews and google images, we can even look at photographers galleries from other couples’ weddings at that venue. But it is so important to go and visit your shortlisted venues in person. At the end of the day you will get that tell-tale feeling in your gut when you have found the right venue for you! Maybe it is a grand venue with a ballroom, maybe it is a super cool warehouse, maybe it is a country house with views, or maybe its your local village hall. You will often ‘just know’ when you walk through the rooms! It is especially handy to visit on an open day, or the morning of a real wedding, when everything is set up, so you can see how the space is really utilised. What venue makes you feel relaxed and will be perfect for you and your guests to let their hair down and enjoy celebrating with you?

I hope these 7 top tips help you on your way to finding out what it is that is important to you both in choosing your perfect wedding venue in and around beautiful Derbyshire. Once you have found your perfect venue the next step is securing a local Derbyshire wedding photographer to capture that beautiful venue and your awesome wedding! Photographers book up usually a year in advance (especially for peak summer and Easter wedding dates). If you like my style and my approach then you might like to check if I have your date availableI look forward to working with you!

Jenny – Indigo and Violet Photography.  xx

The West Mill From across the River Derwent, Darley AbbeyWhirlowbrook Hall exteriorThe Folly, Mackworth Hotel DerbyKedleston Country House Wedding Photographer - Indigo and Violet 3The Pavillion Gardens, Buxton DerbyshireBuxton Palace Hotel in the Springwill you choose a tipi as your perfect wedding venue? Hidden Hive Tipi in DerbyshireChoosing your wedding venue - Stapleford Park Orangery Interior shot, Leicestershire