EXPERT ADVICE

FAQs and expert advice about venues

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Herts and Beds Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yourhertsbeds.wedding

Setting The Scene

Setting The Scene

Q We're looking for the perfect venue and are attending a few open days, what advice can you share to make the most out of the experience?
A Nazlee Sabahipour says: Plan ahead and keep an eye out for your favourite venues, as they will most likely announce their open days in advance. Ensure you have the date booked in the diary and register your attendance online. This means the team will expect you on the day, allowing them to prepare for your visit so you'll have a smooth welcome to start you off right!

The middle hours of any open day are usually the busiest, so it's a good idea to arrive early and beat the crowds. This will give you plenty of time to meet the suppliers exhibiting and explore the venue in your own time. It will also give you the best chance to ask questions before the crowds.

If you're at the start of your wedding planning, it's best to enjoy and take it all in. However, if you're in the midst, we suggest a more tactical approach. Write a checklist of the key areas you must focus on in your wedding planning. Do you have any missing gaps or things you're not sure of? This is the prime opportunity to ensure you have a reasonable amount of time with your interested suppliers or to ask any helpful questions – you're spending the afternoon in a room full of experts, so make the most out of it!

Take advantage of the opportunity to meet the venue's wedding team. Building a connection with them early on will mean they'll get to know you better and be in the best position to help and advise on your wedding day plans. If you've only met with one team member, this is your chance to meet everyone else as hosting a wedding is a team effort. If you haven't booked a private show round, this may be the perfect opportunity to ask those key questions to ensure the venue is ideal before proceeding. It's always nice to see a familiar face during the next meeting!

Bring the family! Wedding planning is a big project and if you have only visited the venue yourself, this is the perfect time to bring your family and wedding party to show them what it's all about while getting them even more excited for your day.

Nazlee Sabahipour, Offley Place

Summer Vibes

Summer Vibes

Q What advice can you share for our summer wedding?
A Kerry Mavris says: If you've booked your wedding far enough in advance, it's a great idea to visit your wedding venue a year before the big day to see what flowers and colours are prominent on the grounds. That way, you can match your floral décor, headpieces and bridesmaids' dresses.

Check that your venue has air conditioning in case your wedding day is baked in lovely summer sunshine, but also have a plan B in case the weather takes a rainy turn.

Consider a barbecue for the wedding breakfast, which makes a delicious alternative to a formal dinner. Offer guests some summer cocktails to add something extra special to your day. Why not also arrange for an ice cream cart to be on hand in the gardens so that guests can enjoy a nice, sweet treat in the late afternoon sunshine while the team are turning your ceremony space around for the evening party?

To avoid your guests getting blisters while they dance the night away, consider providing a basketful of flip-flops to change into when the heels get too much!

Here at Ware Priory, our events team will be on hand to ensure guests have plenty of water to keep hydrated, and our grounds provide plenty of shade for your guests. Our riverside grounds have been lovingly cared for, so they look stunning whatever the weather. You could choose outdoor entertainment or garden games to make the most of the warm evenings.

Kerry Mavris, Ware Priory

Al fresco nuptials

Al fresco nuptials

Q We're planning an outdoor wedding but are worried about bad weather. What advice can you share?
A Hannah Whiteley says: It's genuinely true every time I've told a couple how we have a great success rate with good weather at weddings! Across six wedding seasons, we've only had two quite rainy weddings. But those two days were incredible, and our couples had the most fantastic time. Don't worry about the weather; just prepare for it. Ensure you've got a big enough structure for mingling as well as dining with an extra structure or shelter like a stretch tent in addition to the main marquee to ensure any outdoor aspects of the day, like the ceremony, can continue rain or shine. Have umbrellas on standby and consider a marquee heater. Ensure deliveries and suppliers don't drive across the key areas of the site, as it can quickly create muddy tracks. Use matting to create walkways along the main routes across the site for guests to walk on.

Hannah Whiteley, Fields & Festoons Outdoor Weddings

Finding your dream venue

Finding your dream venue

Q What advice can you share regarding finding our dream wedding venue?
A Kerry Mavris says: Start with the area where you're looking to hold your wedding celebrations and the type of venue you're after. Consider if you're after a stately home, barn, countryside setting, contemporary space or somewhere in a city centre.

Make a rough guest list to see how many guests you'll likely have in attendance to help narrow your search. Some venues might not be large enough to host all your loved ones if you're having a grand wedding. If you're after an intimate wedding with fewer guests, check if the properties you consider have a minimum number.

Next, you can calculate what fits within your budget. Contact the properties to obtain their price list for venue hire, catering, drinks and any extra touches. Check what's included in the packages and what else you'll need to consider, such as entertainment and venue styling.

If you have a particular date that you are set on, check to see if the venues have that day free. Ask to place a holding deposit while you decide between your shortlisted venues to take any extra pressure away.

Do your homework on each venue's website. Look at some of the previous wedding photos to give you an idea of some of the memories you can make on your special day. Are there any particular features the venue has that must be included in your photographer's portfolio?

You can provide your guests with a traditional wedding breakfast or a barbecue if that's more your thing. Some venues will also offer a dry hire option whereby you can bring in your own caterers if you'd prefer.

Only book a venue after visiting the property. Most will hold spring and autumn wedding fayres, so you can visit the spaces and meet other suppliers simultaneously. You can also book a private viewing to discuss what you're after in more detail. See if the venue has testimonials on their website and if any previous guests have left a review – recommendations are invaluable.

Kerry Mavris, Ware Priory

Breathtaking backdrops

Breathtaking backdrops

Q Why should I book a private showroom and not hold off for a venue's wedding open day?
A Nazlee Sabahipour says: Open days are exciting, but the venue will be full of suppliers and other interested couples. The busy atmosphere means you won't get an accurate sense of how the venue will look and feel on your wedding day. With so many stalls and people on-site, it's easy to miss some areas and features you would have loved. We will always have our key team members at any wedding open day, but they'll rarely be able to spend more than a few minutes with each person with so many couples there.

A private show round appointment allows you to meet the team you'll be working with, which is an important step when creating your dream wedding. It's essential to ensure that the team truly grasp your vision and can accommodate it. They'll be able to share past experiences while helping you understand where everything will go and how it will feel on the day. As the venue is such a central part of your wedding, it's essential that you feel confident and pleased with the team supporting you on-site.

The staff can discuss how your specific wedding will look with the exact number of guests for your type of ceremony and discuss in detail any catering requirements.

Most couples don't have plenty of experience planning weddings, so it's only natural that questions will arise. Unfortunately, bustling wedding open days are not the best environment for this! Your private show round appointment will allow you to work through your questions individually. Walking around the venue and talking through your day may spark some new ones you hadn't thought of before.

Nazlee Sabahipour, Offley Place

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