So you’ve done your research and you have an idea in your head of prices however I found that most venues push you into viewing them before discussing prices with you. This can be quite dangerous because you may fall in love with a venue but find out it’s completely out of budget, well that’s what happened to me.
When we started our venue hunt I’d pushed Matt into agreeing to book the venue last minute to save us money. Some of the deals for last minute weddings are amazing so that was our plan.
There were a lot of local venues to choose from as I was looking in Essex, somewhere not too far from Chelmsford. Attempting to narrow down my search I got Matt to help me as I’m clueless about locations and how far places are. Finally we had a set list based on what we were looking for, here’s a few things we took into consideration:
- Somewhere with lots of land
- Manor house/Mansion or Castle (if only)
- Separate area to get married and have the wedding breakfast
Parklands Quendon Hall on paper it looked perfect. I wanted something grand, so the drive up to the venue had to be special.
Driving down the road towards the 1st venue we’d seen had me so hyper
It was a gorgeous with a really long drive, with beautiful views across acres of land and lots of trees and flowers. When we pulled up to the venue I was impressed. Matt and his mum though weren’t keen. We had a nosey around and unfortunately it just wasn’t special enough for our big day, the marquee was huge but the room you get married in was lacking that sparkle, that wow factor. So we scrubbed that one off the list.
Next venue I decided to go just me and my mum. She knew exactly what I was looking for and is great at playing devil’s advocate when I need it. So off we went to Braxted Park. OMG is all I can say, I was blown away from the minute we drove down the incredibly long driveway.
My heart was racing by the time we parked outside of the beautiful mansion.
I tried really hard to pretend like I wasn’t gonna start sobbing any minute but my mum knows me to well. She could tell I loved it but as always she was quiet at first letting me get used to it. A lovely lady came and showed us around and it was just getting better and better. Then we went to look at the marquee, it was being set up for a wedding that day and the bride’s colour scheme was white/purple. It looked Stunning.
Sorry to go off track a bit but I have to tell you this bit. Originally when picking a colour scheme for the wedding I thought I’d go for a colour that wouldn’t be too girly for matt. Nothing worse than making a guy wear bright pink if he hates the colour. So I opted for blood red with accents of black throughout.
I wasn’t 100% happy with the colour choice as I wanted a big fairy/nature themed wedding where you felt like you were in a secret wood somewhere surrounded by fairylights.
After many a discussion and a few tears and a little push from my fabulous mum to just ask Matt what he thought about my real vision I took the plunge. And guess what my amazing husband to be had absolutely no problem with my ideas he was really supportive and said you’ve been dreaming about this since you were 3 years old and you deserve the wedding of your dreams. So the colour scheme was changed to Ivory and Cadbury purple but with accents of different shades of purple and green.
So back at Braxted Park the marque was set up in white and Cadbury purple and it was so beautiful me and my mum were in shock. That’s when my mum started playing devils advocate with my colour scheme because at the time it was red/black. Seeing something so similar to my vision was a big shock and I desperately wanted to change it at that point.
After we’d seen everything we went back to the office area and that’s when the massive elephant in the room decided to speak.
The lady handed me a list of prices and I actually couldn’t speak for about 5 minutes.
I was so shaken I rushed the rest of the meeting and we left, me with my head hanging low and my mum trying to console me. On the drive home I was so gutted I wanted to sit in a corner and weep because there was absolutely no way we could afford the venue, even if we got married during the week which is cheaper. This ladies, is where you need a friend or family member to come and save the day. My mum finally gave me her opinion on the venue and although she loved it she made me realise it wasn’t EVERYTHING I was looking for. The marque/grounds were wonderful but the room where you actually get married was really small and I’d always pictured a long walk but this was really short so the venue I thought was the one actually wasn’t.
After that me and Matt went to see a few venues – Fenns (beautiful venue but quite small), Crondon Park (gorgeous barn but the grounds weren’t quite what I was looking for), Prested Hall (again nice but too small) and Stockbrook Manor (really nice but not an exclusive venue.) and all of these venues have quite heavy price tags. They all did deals but what we realised after viewing so many was the risk we’d be taking waiting until the last minute. We couldn’t believe how booked up the venues were even for 2013 and when we looked it was 2011.
So after a heavy discussion we both agreed the last minute idea wasn’t an option. Matt did make me laugh he said I’d be a nightmare having to wait to get everything organised in a short space of time, think about it, if you wait till say a month or 2 months before your chosen wedding day to book the venue you only have that amount of time to plan everything. And how do you know you’ll even get the day you want? There are so many factors to last minute weddings so make sure you try to think about all of your options. For me and Matt once we decided not to go last minute we had to completely redo the budget and practically double the costs for the venue by booking in advance.
Advice time finding a venue is a really long and involved process. What you are looking for might not be what you fall in love with so go and see lots of venues really get a feel for the different types out there.
Make yourself a list of your top 3 things that the venue has to include as well as other points that you’d like because 9 times out of 10 you’re going to have to compromise on something.
Check out the next post to find out how the amazing hubby to be comes to the rescue in Tracking down the Venue – part 2.