Real Weddings

1 Choosing a venue – Sam’s Wedding Diary

Organising a wedding can be stressful but try arranging one when your fiancé’s overseas for six months and you could soon be filing for divorce.

It’s perfectly acceptable for the bride to be fitted for wedding dresses without the groom in tow but try turning up to meet the vicar or tour a prospective venue solo and you soon begin to feel like a fake bride.
After visiting a couple of possible venues I soon resorted to flashing my engagement ring around in an attempt to prove I was a genuine bride to be.

I patiently explained that I was merely doing the ground work… that I planned to narrow down the selection to a couple of venues before making a final decision on my fiancé’s return, in a couple of months time. (Unfortunately, he’s in the marines, so really isn’t shirking his matrimonial duties, he simply doesn’t have any choice in the matter).
The wedding coordinator at this particular hotel, however, seemed even more horrified at my latest revelation, than at my solo site inspection.

“Darling you can’t possibly wait that long.” She gushed, “We’re almost fully booked for 2003 and 2004 is filling up fast. We’ve even taken a booking for 2005!” I tried to conceal my initial shock, began deep breathing and told myself to ignore the frightfully transparent sales tactic and stick to my original plan of not booking a venue until my fiancés return. But after several phone calls to other wedding reception venues it appeared she was telling the truth. To secure a Saturday summer wedding, you have to book a year in advance.

“If you don’t mind getting married on a Friday or Sunday you could leave booking a venue a little longer,” said one wedding coordinator helpfully.

But I wanted a Saturday wedding I wailed, swiftly changing my mind when I saw the price of hiring the venue (typically anywhere from £1,000‐£14,000 with the average around £4,000). Not only are Fridays and Saturdays less sought after, they’re often cheaper too!

I took a few more deep yogic‐type breaths, vowed to be more flexible and arranged to see another venue the following weekend. This time I visited a castle near Eastbourne. It’s stunning, affordable at £1,000 and yes, there’s clearly a catch! Every Saturday is booked up for next summer! “Don’t worry,” said the woman in charge of weddings. “Put your name down as a reserve. Many couples cancel around New Year. They spend Christmas together and simply decide they can’t stand each other!”

With those encouraging words I vowed to give up my search for a couple of weeks and concentrate on the dress. At least this is one thing I can do on my own! Or can I?

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