The Bad Bride Diaries: Venue Hunting

We’re in the looking for a venue stage of wedding planning, and it’s one of the most bizarre experiences of my life.

Wedding venues

Turns out, there approximately 8million sorts of venue to get married in, and they all come with all sorts of decisions. Am I the sort of person who gets married in a converted barn, a fancy hotel, or a quirkier venue like a museum or a cool restaurant? It all seems nice, as you look at pictures of pretty wedding days on the venue listing sites, and then you suddenly realise there are practical decisions to make.

Will my guests fit? Are we going to rattle around in there? Where will people stay nearby? Is there enough parking? Can we have the ceremony and the reception in the same place? Is there somewhere for people to put their coats? What time does the bar close?

I now spend what feels like most of my life looking at the websites of venues, and getting increasingly annoyed by how amazingly crap some of them are. Top tip, wedding venues. If your website is not optimised for mobile, if your brochure is buried somewhere obscure, if you call yourself ‘affordable’ but have no prices anywhere, if the only pictures are close-ups of people’s centre pieces, I’m probably going to hit the back button and go back to Googling for other venues. All of these issues are surprisingly common, and super annoying.

We’ve managed to shortlist a few places, and we’ve been to see a couple of places in person, which is an experience in itself. We’ve been lucky, and only dealt with very nice people, but we’ve also been given 12000 bits of paper which are slowly taking over our flat, lots of information we often largely don’t understand, a warning against ‘the menfolk’ doing too long speeches, a guide which informed me I must make sure Dave attends his suit fitting (silly old grooms can’t manage such things alone, poor dears), and a general sense of total confusion. I never know what to ask, despite the many, many lists out there of questions to ask your venue. I find myself holding conversations about corkage, and whether cake knives are included, and vaguely wondering who I have become. Luckily, I still don’t understand chair covers, so I’ve not been sucked into Bride World fully yet.

The emailing back and forth is currently my least favourite thing, and like the websites, I’ve found many small annoyances which immediately make me scratch a venue off the list. Offences include: advertising on your site that I can email for wedding options and menus but then reply with hire costs and an instruction to telephone the tearoom to discuss menus (hello, are you not the same place? How is it a thing that you cannot provide a standard wedding menu from your own venue?), refusing to give any price information until I come in person or provide an exact date for a wedding I want in two years time and being astonishingly slow to respond.

I think this is the first phase of Bridezilla. Save me from myself.

As yet, we’re still looking, and I’ll share our chosen spot when we finally pick it (help me, how do you choose???) but for now, think of me, stroppily emailing and Googling and swearing at download a brochure links that don’t work.