After setting the date, choosing the place where you want to hold your wedding is the next major decision. But it can also be totally overwhelming! However, since we’ve helped turn many a bamboozled couple into a serene bride and groom-to-be with our expert planning skills, we know a little about how to choose the best place for you. You’ll find out:

The top 5 most important factors when choosing a venue

While a lot of these questions will obviously occur to you immediately when you’re planning a wedding, the answers may take you a little more time to decide. That’s why we’re here to help: Dine’s experts can answer all of your questions and much more besides!

1. What suits you

Nobody knows the type of wedding you want better than … you! Deciding on the type of wedding you want and how your venue can reflect your tastes is all part of the fun. Are you going for a church wedding? Do you want to have your ceremony and reception in the same place? If so, then you’ll need to find somewhere with a license for civil ceremonies. We can help with this, whether you want a Dine venue, you need help choosing a venue, or you want us to cater for and plan your wedding elsewhere. Just let us know what and where you need and our expert planners can do the rest.

(Did you know that these Dine venues are licensed for civil ceremonies: The Mansion, Wentworth Woodhouse where you can also have a marquee, Ripley Castle, Belvoir Castle, Rise Hall, Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, Temple Newsam, and Newburgh Priory?)

Think about whether you’d like a formal or traditional wedding, or whether you’re going to do something more unusual. If you want to have theatrical aerialists performing feats of acrobatics during your reception, then this could affect what kind of venue you’ll choose, and whether it can accommodate all your tastes. Similarly, if you’re absolutely set on bringing your own suppliers, you’ll need to choose a venue that will allow you to do so. Most Dine venues allow this but your event manager will be the person with all the answers – and they can even book suppliers for you! But, logistical details aside, choosing a venue has much in common with marriage: sometimes you just ‘find the one’, and that’s it.

2. Your wedding date

If you have your heart set on getting married on a particular date like an anniversary, you’ll need to choose a venue that’s available on that day. It really depends on what’s more important to you: the time or the place. Remember that some venues are incredibly popular during the summer months and can get booked up years in advance. High summer is also peak wedding season so venues are often priced accordingly. If you’re after some savings and are flexible about your dates, weddings on Sundays, weekdays or in the winter can offer a brilliant pay off.

Our Dine event managers can advise you of each venue’s peak and off-peak times, and which have late availability. Just let us know your preferred dates and we’ll do all we can to help you find the right time and place.

3. Size

What comes first – the guest list or the venue? In a chicken-and-egg paradox, one can pre-determine the other! If you’re set on a small wedding with a small guest list, it makes sense to choose a smaller venue. For a taste of how beautiful a small wedding can be, check out some photos of the wedding we did for just 25 guests at Priory Cottages, where the food was just exquisite!

However, if you fall in love with a venue but it’s for a party much smaller or larger than you’d planned, what will you do? You can make your guest list first then shop around for a venue to fit, or find your venue first and compile your guest list to size. Both our Wedding Planning FAQs and our event managers can tell you more about venue capacity, so we can offer you tons of advice on this.

4. Price

Talking about the costs of a wedding can seem vulgar, but it’s a very real part of choosing your wedding venue: knowing your wedding budget is key and can dictate your choice of venue to some degree. If you’re on a tighter budget, decide where you will splash the cash and where you’ll try to make savings. Do you want to spend more on your catering and less on your venue, or vice versa? Or treat your guests to some spectacular entertainment? Decide how much in total you have to spend, add a contingency amount for unexpected costs and then be prepared to have some serious discussions about what to spend on each element!

And just because we love being super-helpful, we’d like to give you an idea of how pricing could work at Dine:

Of course, nowadays our generation ‘knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing’ (as our parents would say) – but we can assure you that the cost of a Dine wedding provides exceptional value for money.

Already got a budget in mind? Tell us and we’ll see how we can help you plan how to best use it for your dream wedding.

5. Location

It’s traditional to get married in the bride’s hometown or where her parents live, but this is increasingly impractical for many couples. These days couples are more likely to choose a venue close to where they currently live, or a destination that’s close to their hearts. One of the key decisions you have is choosing city or country. Both have their pros and cons: country weddings mean a good choice of venues and beautiful scenery for the photographs, but can be remote, inaccessible and have a lack of other amenities. City weddings (like Merchant Adventurers’ Hall in York and Braime Pressings in Leeds) can be trendy and cultured, easy to organise and they give your guests the opportunity to turn your wedding into a mini-break.

And although your feelings about your venue are paramount, you’ll also need to consider whether its location is a reasonable travel distance for your friends and family. If you have guests travelling from afar, is there plenty to make their trip worthwhile, like nice hotels and restaurants? For a remote countryside wedding, have you planned enough entertainment to keep everyone happy?

And as we mentioned before, we love sharing our expert knowledge on all things wedding, which is why we’ve compiled some handy area guides to our most popular locations: Leeds and York, which contain everything from wedding suppliers to restaurants and hotels. Our Dine event managers are also full of useful answers on locations and facilities, so it’s definitely a good idea to pitch them any queries you have: they’re a goldmine of venue information!

What kinds of wedding venues can you choose from?

Do you have a type of venue in mind already but not sure where to start? Just ask us and we’ll please to help work out what’s best for you and your wedding.

Church weddings

Church weddings are very traditional, atmospheric and, obviously, usually religious. If a religious ceremony is important to you, you’ll probably want to have your ceremony in a church. Other venues licensed for civil ceremonies mean just that – the content of the ceremony can only be civil, and excludes any religious mentions.

If you want to marry in a church, a Dine venue can be the perfect place for your reception. Just let us know if you have either a church or a reception venue in mind and we can advise you of the other corresponding part, from churches near your reception venue, to reception venues near your church!

Castles

Want a grand wedding? A castle is a great choice. Just like stately homes, they have stunning interiors and are often set in vast grounds. An added bonus is that they don’t even have to be inhabited: marrying amidst the ruins of a castle can be so romantic.

We’re lucky enough to operate at these castle wedding venues:

Stately homes and period/listed properties

Period properties and stately homes and halls are an increasingly popular choice, since many are now licensed for civil ceremonies. They are often grand and picturesque, having opulent entertaining spaces but with plenty of outside space and often rural views.

At Dine, we cater and manage events at these stately home and period wedding venues:

Hotels

Another increasingly popular choice, hotels can cater to a range of different sized weddings, from the very large to the very small. A hotel team is already experienced in catering for great numbers of people and they have all the facilities on site. Weddings are almost an extension of the hospitality they already provide. There’s the added bonus of accommodation onsite too!

Dine venue Rise Hall is also run as a hotel, with 29 bedrooms.

Urban/city

City venues can be very cool and unusual, ranging from the uber-modern to the unexpectedly antiquated. The beauty of a metropolitan wedding is that it’s still really easy to have your ceremony and reception at different venues (if you want) since the transport links between the two will be so convenient. Guests can enjoy exploring the culture of a city they’ve never visited, and it can be really handy to have everything just a short cab ride away.

The beautiful Dine venue Braime Pressings in central Leeds can fulfil all of these criteria and much more.

Outside and marquee weddings

Did you know that you can actually have your ceremony outside now too? An outdoor ceremony is a popular choice – at our clients’ requests, we’re now able to perform ceremonies in the colonnades at The Mansion.

You can have a marquee wedding or outside catering wherever there is space enough to hold it. The great thing is that they can match the size of your wedding, so you’ll always have the perfect amount of space. They’re not just for summer weddings either: during the winter they can be a glorious way of bringing the outside in.

A number of Dine venues are particularly great for marquee weddings:

 

Making the decision on your venue: your checklist

Now you know a little about what’s out there, you need to hone down to the nitty-gritty questions to help you make your final decision on that venue.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a checklist of factors that may help you to decide:

  • Do I want a religious or non-religious ceremony?
  • Do I want to hold the ceremony and reception in the same place?
  • Do I really, really love it? Or is it just ‘a contender’?
  • What season do I want to get married in?
  • Is the venue available on the day I want?
  • If it’s not available then, am I flexible about the date?
  • Can I afford my chosen date?
  • Is it the right size for my guest list?
  • Am I flexible about making the guest list bigger or smaller?
  • Am I open to having an off-peak or week day wedding to save on cost?
  • Is it in the right location?
  • Is it convenient for guests (ie, transport, accommodation, accessibility)?
  • How important is outside space?
  • Does the venue allow all the entertainment options that I want (such as fireworks etc)?

We answer a lot of these questions about our own venues in our Wedding Planning FAQs, so you can tick off a lot of your checklist from there. You’re welcome.

If you need advice on choosing a wedding venue, why not pick the brains of Dine’s experienced Event Managers? We’re happy to advise on all elements of wedding venues and catering, so give us a call on 0345 450 4545 or contact us and see how we can help you.

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