In the last 3 posts you can see the 3 different venues we looks around, how did we decide which one was for us?
The venue is such a massive part of the wedding day and it's also the first thing that a lot of people book, therefore setting the tone for your whole day. It's big decision! All 3 venues that we saw were very similar in price so cost was not really part of our decision making between them. They were all also within our requirements for size, amount of rooms, style and location. This is really what made the decision hard as on paper we could have chosen any of them and it was really down to which one we just liked best.
It seems pretty obvious now which is the best venue, but we were really torn between the private house and the small hotel. So how did we decide in the end?
We viewed all the venues then went off for a few days to Cornwall for a beach break as we had the rest of the week off, so we had time away from work etc to really relax and talk through all our options at length. I would definitely recommend doing this, taking a few days after viewing to really think about it, don't feel pressured to book there and then.
What we found was that we had disregarded the large hotel, and on an emotional basis we loved both the private house and small hotel but when we weighed up the pros and cons there were some concerns with the hotel that we didn't have with the private house. Mostly that all the parts we loved were outside and if it rained we wouldn't get to use them, and as we’re looking at Spring so March/April/May there is a good chance it might rain. Well actually in Britain there’s always a good chance it might rain! Also if the small hotel had just been in a quieter area it might have won, but the crowds and very public nature really couldn't compete with having our own manor house for the day tucked away in a few acres of land. The house has also been converted with events, especially weddings, in mind, so is really well suited to a wedding and has plenty of space, rooms, toilets etc and the décor is all pretty and compliments the house but is very neutral to allow you any colour scheme for your day.
So we mainly chose the private house for the size and the fact we get the whole place to ourselves, other than that the bridal suite and gardens/location also were quite persuasive. The only downside was the shared bathrooms in some rooms, other than that we really couldn't think of any drawbacks! The rooms are a reasonable price for the venue (more than a cheap hotel or B&B but not expensive) and there is a cheaper Holiday Inn/Travelodge type hotel about a 2 minute drive or a few minutes’ walk if people did want to stay there instead or if we filled all the rooms at the house. The catering is all done externally and we have caterers to chose from (we will be arranging menu tasting as soon as we've paid a bit of the venue off) and most seem to be reasonable prices and have nice looking menus.
Also we could just see our wedding there. Tom said he could actually almost hear my sisters, mum and bridesmaids all chatting and running between the bridal suite’s dressing room and its interlinking rooms with rollers in their hair carrying hairbrushes and bouquets etc. I really liked the suite and like the idea of getting ready there, neither us, my mum or dad have huge houses so everyone getting ready there would probably be a lot easier and it would save us hiring a wedding car for me to arrive in (Tom is rather gutted about not having a cool car though so we might have to arrange something for him!). It might also make the morning a little more chilled as no worries about getting to the venue on time if we’re already there!
We could also just visualise the ceremony and meal there in a way we couldn't at the other 3 places, I think because it is such a personal venue and we can really do whatever we want with it that just made it so much easier to picture. It means we can have a completely bespoke day, and the house is pretty as it is so I'm not planning to go too OTT on the decorations but we can have anything we want and put decorations in every area of the venue if we wanted to not just a function room.
I just can’t wait to start on the rest of it! We are looking at spring 2015 so have a while to arrange and pay for stuff, they didn't have any availability for later next year (and I could organise it by then but spring 2014 is too close to get it all paid for!) so we had to go to the year after which I was a bit disappointed by but Tom has the outlook that it’s longer to organise and means we can afford to have some nicer things. We’re aiming to pay off the venue hire quite quickly (by the end of this year hopefully) as we have the catering to arrange, so rather than if we had gone for a hotel and had it all in one go it’s split in half to pay for the venue hire then the catering separately. This kind of works for us as we can pay off the venue part then save up for the catering, rather than paying one massive chunk of it at the start.
My advice if you're torn between 2 venues would be to weigh up the pro's and con's and look at all the details, also as I said in this post don't be afraid to go away and think about it, or take someone for a second opinion.