Top tips for viewing an outdoor wedding venue

The magical moment has happened, you’re engaged! You’ve shared your very exciting news with family, friends, colleagues and even updated your social media, so it’s time to start wedding planning and thinking about choosing your wedding venue.
You may already have your heart set on an outdoor wedding venue, or you may be looking for something a little different and be open to the idea of holding your wedding at a marquee or tipi wedding venue. Whatever your reasons, viewing an outdoor wedding venue is certainly different!

It can be very easy to rush off and view lots of different wedding venues, but it’s important to pause and think about what you are really looking for in a wedding venue. Make a list of must have factors and those which would be added bonuses, this will then help you prepare a shortlist of wedding venues to visit.

You may need to travel further afield for outdoor wedding venues and be aware that you may only be able to visit on certain days, and at more restricted times – late night appointments are a definite no in the winter when the daylight hours are very much reduced.

Prior research is key. If possible talk to others who have attended events at outdoor wedding venues in the past, this will help you understand the different factors which need to be taken into consideration – power and travel arrangements for example. Contact the venues for more information, many have really useful information packs which guide to through the whole process. Only then can you truly narrow down your list of wedding venues and arrange a viewing of those on the shortlist.

Before you arrange a viewing, think about the questions you would like to ask while you are there – do they have a weather contingency plan, how are guests transported around the wedding venue? Think about how you and your guests will get there. Use an online route planner, are you willing to ask your guests to travel that far, if not I personally wouldn’t book a show-round as it’s just not feasible for your wedding day. Check the wedding venue can accommodate your number of guests, if you have smaller numbers, double check these are suitable as some wedding venues have minimum numbers on certain days. Do you have a set date, is this currently available at your shortlisted venues? If you are flexible about dates, gain an idea of the availability each venue has.

My top five items to consider when shortlisting venues are:

  1. Budget – Can you really afford this wedding venue?
  2. Venue hire fee – Do you know how much the stand-alone venue hire fee is and what is included in this?
  3. Marquee / tipi – if this is additional, do you know a rough price quote for your requirements? Are you required to use the venues recommended suppliers?
  4. Catering – Have you considered all the possible charges for this? Many outdoor wedding venues will have a kitchen equipment charge for hiring the equipment in.
  5. Surcharges – Are there any additional charges to be aware of? Do you have to use the wedding venues recommended suppliers, or is there a surcharge for sourcing your own?

During your viewing, make sure you are prepared for the weather that day – do you need to take waterproofs and wellies if the weather is bad? Remember, you may be viewing the wedding venue at a completely different time of year to your wedding date, the landscape and flowers will change in different seasons. Don’t be afraid to ask to see some images from your chosen wedding month, or better still have a look at the venues social media platforms before you arrive.

Find out what has been done before, this will help you when designing your marquee or tipi layout. Ask what facilities are available at the wedding venue, do they have additional equipment you can make use of such as firepits etc.? Check when you have access to and from, does this fit in with your wedding plans?

Don’t be afraid to ask the venue co-ordinator, they understand this is all new to you and they are there to help as much as possible and make it an enjoyable experience for you, after all, wedding planning should be fun!

Sarah x