2 More wisdom on choosing a venue – Sam’s Wedding Diary

Written by    Last updated: September 20, 2006

This week I was going to choose my dress, but even wedding shops seem unwilling to help until you’ve a date to work towards so I’m back to looking for a venue!

The girl sitting near me in the office got engaged a couple of weeks before me… Initially I thought this would prove double the fun. We could swap notes, confide in each other and bitch about the enormous cost of weddings and, of course, our in‐laws.
But within a week, it’s having a negative effect and sending me into a blind panic. We both want to get married next summer (August 2003), but it suddenly dawns on me I’m way behind in terms of organisation. Her desk is stacked to the ceiling with brochures on venues and a glance at her computer reveals spreadsheets for guests and seating plans.

Her military‐style approach merely succeeds in highlighting my casual inefficiency… All I’ve done is buy a few wedding magazines, opened all the engagement cards and drunk all the bubbly… She casually enquires how my plans are progressing then looks alarmed when she realises I’ve started looking at venues before writing my wedding guest list, “But you can’t possible choose a venue until you know how many people you want to invite,” she exclaims, “If you find somewhere you love you might be disappointed if they turn around and say they can only take 50 and then discover you want to invite a hundred! And what do you base your expenditure on?” Put this way, it all makes perfect sense… I email my fiancé and tell him to let me know whom he wants to invite. “Oh not many,” he replies before emailing me a list the size of a regiment.

After ruthless calculations we decide to set a limit of 100 and I begin the hunt for a venue with the knowledge that now I know my requirements I can work out a rough costing of all the different venues… that have availability.
I’ve never been good at maths and it doesn’t help when I realise that venues each have their own unique way of charging for weddings.

One hotel offers wedding packages from £115 per person which includes the cost of the wedding ceremony, a glass of bucks fizz on arrival, two glasses of wine with a three‐course meal, coffee and wedding announcer, plus one suite for the bridal couple. That’s £11,500 for 100 guests (before the cost of a photographer, video, dress, cake etc). Another charges £2,750 for the venue and then you have to pay from £30 per person for a three‐course meal, buy alcohol and pay the registrar.

Another charges £14,000 for exclusive use of the venue (apparently a bargain as it includes 30 bedrooms). You simply have to charge your guests for the rooms…. 30 bedrooms at £150 could bring the cost down to around £10,000…as long as everyone turns up. Costly and complicated! Suddenly, the Friday and Sunday cheaper options are looking more appealing every day!

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