Hey there everyone, I’m back for another post packed with my top tips on those all important first few steps into planning your day. I’m going to take you through how I approached setting the scene, decision making and the exciting venue hunt as well as giving you a great sheet to print out and take along when you’re visiting venues for great questions to ask & information to have to hand when making your final choices.
By working in the wedding industry for a few years I really had earmarked some of the suppliers I definitely knew I was going to be contacting after Andy popped the Q! (I might be guilty of contacting our videographer before even getting engaged…I know…gasp!)
Whilst newly engaged Andy & I gave ourselves to time to just relax, let those first important people know whilst in Rome before we returned home and bombarded social media with all the iPhone snaps I’d been hoarding and dying to share.
Setting The Season
The first thing we had decided was obviously the time of year we wanted to get married. For us, May, the month we met, stood out for us, but May 2015 was just too soon to plan a double wedding. So, after a lot of back & forth with parents we became set on May 2016. It gave us enough time to save money and plan slowly. Organising two weddings on one weekend meant we definitely needed to allow us time to get sorted.
May also offered up the chance of blooming peonies, warmer evenings and hopefully British sunshine, it also offered us a choice of two bank holiday weekends to set it on so we had multiple dates we could approach when starting the venue hunt!
It was really helpful to know the season we favoured when looking at venues, as we needed to ensure if the weather wasn’t great, the entire day could be held inside or that there were covered outdoor areas. We really wanted both venues to reflect our love of the English countryside since that’s where we both grew up!
Decision Making With Two Halves Of A Whole
One thing that I wanted to be clear on, with every decision to do with this wedding, I had either run it by Andy, or we had made the decision together. This way I knew he couldn’t complain later on. I knew the wedding needed to represent vice versa.
As a Wedding Stylist, I’m always looking at how to make my couple’s wedding represent both sides of their marriage, whether it’s a simple nod in the colour palette or in the details like the favours. I always think a well-balanced style means both halves of that whole relationship will make the wedding about you both. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to communicate on every detail if the other doesn’t want to, it just ensures that someone doesn’t feel a little left out further down the line.
For us the Hindu wedding represents my heritage – there wasn’t much room for digression especially with my parents over looking the planning. It became more about ensuring that it was as traditional as possible and we dedicated the ‘White Humanist Wedding’ as our main stage to showcase our personal style, tastes & what we envisioned our marriage to be.
I, maybe a little reluctantly, handed over the coordination of the ‘Hindu Wedding’ reigns to my Father but to be honest I wouldn’t know where to start with booking the right priest, instrumentalists or organise all the timeline etc. We still have control over the detailed elements such as outfits, flowers, staging, lighting and food but we don’t need to get too involved in the nitty gritty and half of the boring phone conversations about all the different curries.
Venue Hunting: Start Looking Close To Home
Ah the venue hunt! We had a big job to do…two venues available on the same weekend but offering two different settings.
To start off we decided on looking close to each other’s hometowns Cobham, Surrey & Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire. This meant we didn’t bother with faffing in the middle and really curated our choices. This was great place to start and I think made the venue hunt time cut in half!
By looking a little closer to our different home counties we knew the areas better and knew what the travel for our friends & family would be like. Most importantly this gave us a bit of ease in having an entire wedding weekend with nearby home bases.
As an additional bit of info, we started a ROUGH guest list so we could research with numbers in mind so when we actually spent the time visiting venues we knew could host our days.
My Top Tips
The venue really is the first step is setting the style of your wedding, it directs the atmosphere of the day as it can determine numbers, food, ceremony location, etc.
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When you go to visit the venue, go armed with this handy graphic to fill out when you’re there with the venue manager! (To the right or below depending on how you are viewing this post). It’ll help you build up a profile for the number of venues you visit so when you get back home, you can compare them all equally.
Our Chosen Venues
Our Hindu wedding required somewhere with a large capacity and flexible mannerism. Luckily, there was one venue that fit the bill in my village – Painshill Park. We knew it had done many Hindu weddings before so we immediately enquired for May dates in 2016, concentrating on the two bank holiday weekends.
With our White wedding, there was a little more freedom. We knew we wanted a formal venue with a rustic feel, luckily Andy’s home county, Buckinghamshire, offers up a tonne of venues, which fit this ideal.
Andy’s Mother has volunteered for Waddesdon Manor for years so we looked up their wedding locations and The Dairy stood out to us. It had sentimental value and being a convenient 10 minutes away from his family home and the perfect setting for a more intimate traditional western wedding, it was a bit of a no-brainer.
Whilst Andy was abroad for work, I visited The Dairy with one of my bridesmaids, and upon arriving, I instantly knew it was the place we’d marry. Walking around the stunning location, with rustic wooden features, lake view terrace along with a freedom to create something truly unique day it soon became my “dream venue” without having one before. It really felt like the “garden of Buckinghamshire” and once Andy visited, the deal was set. We reserved both venues and high-fived at landing two perfect venues on one weekend in May!
With both venues sorted, I then let myself begin to go nuts over on Pinterest and began building the style for two very different weddings. So next time, I’ll be talking a lot more detail in setting your own wedding style, getting savvy with Pinterest and how to manage all those layers of detail.
Until next time! x
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- Paper Goods Gemma Milly
- Bouquet Photography Dominique Bader
- Bouquet Blooming Gayles
- Table Set Up Styling The Wedding Stylist
- Table Set Up Flowers Blue Sky Flowers
- Table Set Up Photography Xander & Thea
- Bridesmaids Ellie Asher
- Wreathe Photography Zipporah Photography
- Wreathe Soul Flowers
- Bride & Groom Dominique Bader
- Groom Carrie Patterson Photography
- Vase Via Pinterest