Bride to be: setting the scene with the right venue

If you’ve not read my previous posts you may not know that I’m getting married in June, yes, this June! Wahoo.

Caswell House
Caswell House

I’ve been engaged since November 2014 and with the wedding now just months away we have ticked most things off the list. However, we were slow to start and this was a conscious decision as we didn’t want to rush into making the wrong choices and weren’t entirely sure where to begin, fortunately we’ve had time on our side to really contemplate how we’d both love our wedding to be.

If you’re newly engaged I hope this series of ‘bride to be’ posts helps you in your planning. I’ve already covered save the dates and flowers, and will be posting about the invitations, dress and honeymoon, and much more very soon.

So, the venue! For me, it was really hard to picture the ‘big day’ when I didn’t know where it was going to be. I couldn’t begin to think about the dress, the flowers, entertainment until we had agreed the setting.

With that in mind, I was keen to start viewing venues before thinking about the rest and we shortlisted our favourites a couple of months after our engagement. I found the best sources for venue inspiration from wedding magazines and wedding blogs such as Rock My Wedding and Love My Dress.

There are no particularly special venues in our home town of Leamington Spa or surrounding area and we know people who have already got married in the best ones, so we were able to broaden our search, and as we really love the Cotswolds this is where we focused.

With the shortlist in hand, we spent one Saturday driving to our top five, a quick drive past a couple made the decision for us but one in particular, Caswell House, drew us in and after spending a few minutes viewing it we knew it felt right and was the venue for us. But, we didn’t make a snap decision and instead took my parents along to an open day a month later to meet with wedding organiser and suppliers, and at this point put our names down for the date this year in June.

Caswell House is an old barn conversion in Oxfordshire set in beautiful mature gardens and I can’t wait to exchange my vows there! If you’re on the hunt for your perfect wedding venue, here are my top tips:

  1. Decide on an area to start with and agree how many miles radius you’re willing to consider
  2. Have an idea of the type of venue or be open minded and visit a few varying places
  3. Know your budget beforehand and don’t go and look at venues you cannot afford – you’ll only end up disappointed!
  4. Write your draft guest list and ensure the venues in mind have capacity for this number of people
  5. Once you have your shortlist go and see them, even if to simply drive past and get a better look and an idea of its surrounding area
  6. Then arrange a viewing, meet with the staff, go along to open days and when you’re there take lots of photos and ask many questions
  7. But most importantly trust your gut feeling – if it feels right for you, is within budget, go for it!

If you’re planning your wedding or already married let me know where you’re getting hitched in the comments.

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