Windsor has played host to not just one, but two royal weddings over the past couple of years, making it more than worth considering for your big day. We caught up with Windsor-based wedding venue The Castle Hotel’s in-house wedding expert, Emma Broocks, to find out what you need to think about when it comes to picking your wedding venue.
When should you pick your wedding venue?
It is best to start looking at wedding venues soon after you have celebrated your engagement. The best thing to do is ask if the venue has availability the month or a specific date you are interested in.
This should be the first question, unless you have your heart set on a specific venue then you may be flexible to when they have availability to host your special day. Many of our couples book Castle Hotel Windsor 12-14 months in advance.
What sort of questions should you ask your wedding venue?
After confirming availability and timings, it is all about working out the finer details. From hosting capacity to catering, entertainment that can be brought in, and the type of local suppliers you’d like to work with for things like flowers, design, and photography.
It’s also always useful to hear about previous weddings and any testimonials that can be offered. And now that we are in the midst of the ‘new normal’ it’s important to check how the venue is Covid-secure and how the wedding experience has been adapted to accommodate the current Covid-19 guidelines.
What do you need to think about when researching venues?
Location, architectural design, outdoor vs indoor space, and price are all key factors to consider when researching. It is also important to keep in mind how venues have adapted to any Covid restrictions and guidelines. These might not be fun things to think about, but certainly important to ensure one’s special day goes as smoothly as possible.
The research will be based on personal preferences and what a couple envisions for their special day, but it is also important to think about the guests. Always remember weddings are not one size fits all, there are a wide variety of venues offering a wide range of wedding experiences.
What should couples consider when viewing wedding venues?
For many, an emotional reaction to a venue helps them to choose their wedding venue. Ask yourself, can you picture yourself in the space in your wedding finery? Chemistry with the venue’s wedding planner is also key as you will be working with them closely and entrusting them to help bring to your life your dream wedding day.
Read more: The diary of a wedding planner
Can you negotiate with your wedding venue?
You can negotiate on everything in life. Best to have a realistic end goal in mind and see if a deal can be agreed upon.
Read more: The best budget-friendly wedding venues
How do you make your wedding different to other weddings taking place there?
Show your wedding planner your vision for your wedding. A Pinterest board is a great tool as you can share your vision in one place. Everyone’s tastes are different, and the most important thing is to communicate this to your wedding planner so they can adapt the look of the venue to match your end vision.
Brides and grooms like the venue space at Castle Hotel because it is versatile. It offers modern amenities with touches of Victorian grandeur, which means couples can decorate the space to suit their theme.
How important is the wedding venue overall?
For many the venue is one of the most important decisions because you may get married there, you’ll host your nearest and dearest for the celebration, and it will provide the backdrop for your wedding photos which will last a lifetime.
What trends do you think will be popular for weddings as they start to take place again?
We saw the emergence of virtual tours during lockdown and beyond, and this is something that will continue long into 2021 and beyond. Virtual weddings are another trend we are predicting. Couples want to keep the micro-wedding experience but broadcast virtually their wedding ceremony to wider friends and family.
Mid-week weddings are also a rising trend. With office workers working to flexible working conditions at home, the workweek has had a little reinvention during the pandemic, so couples are not as set on weekend dates.
What can couples do to ensure their guests are safe at their weddings?
Couples may like to get creative by offering their guests personalised face masks or hand sanitiser. The number one consideration is to ensure that your venue is Covid-secure, and your guests are aware of all the protocols the venue has in place to keep your guests safe.
At Castle Hotel we are Covid-secured certified, which means we follow and implement stringent health and social distancing guidelines. We have worked hard though to ensure that these protocols are subtly implemented so brides and grooms, plus wedding guests just enjoy the day.
Any other tips or advice for couples?
As soon as you have booked your venue, do purchase your wedding insurance policy as it will give you security for ‘just in case’ scenarios. In this ever-evolving world, stay calm and be flexible.
If you want to get a better picture of weddings in Windsor, make sure you read up on all the things we know about Princess Beatrice’s Windsor wedding!