EXPERT ADVICE

FAQs and expert advice about venues

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your South Wales Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yoursouthwales.wedding

You and Me, Always

You and Me, Always

Q How long before the wedding should we book our venue and what should we ask before putting down a deposit?
A The Expert says: The ideal time to book a wedding venue can vary depending on several factors, including the popularity of the venue, the time of year you plan to get married and how flexible you are with your wedding date. As a general guideline, it's recommended to book your wedding venue at least nine months to a year in advance, especially if you have a specific date or popular season in mind.

It's worth considering a last-minute wedding if you're flexible on dates, as it can help you make substantial savings on your venue. We have a fantastic Whirlwind Wedding Package here at the King Arthur Hotel, which is available for certain dates within six months of the wedding.

Before booking, set your criteria and create your perfect check list. Maybe the evening reception is a key part of the wedding for you. Does the venue allow live music? Does it have a late licence? Is the bar in the same room as the dancefloor? The amount of accommodation, the menus and the grounds are often other important factors. Your wedding venue should be a reflection of you as a couple, so look for a venue that will allow those personal touches to make it your unique day.

Put together a rough list of names for the daytime and evening receptions, and check the venue's maximum capacity. It would be disappointing to fall in love with a venue that could not hold your numbers.

You will know when you have found the perfect venue because you will feel completely at ease there and confident that they will deliver your dream wedding! If you can see your friends and family enjoying drinks in the gardens or dancing the night away, then that is the venue for you.

The Expert, King Arthur Hotel

Picture the scene

Picture the scene

Q We're beginning to look for our dream wedding venue; how can we narrow down our search?
A The wedding team says: The first thing you need to think about is how many guests will be at your wedding. Some venues will have a minimum and maximum capacity which might not suit your vision for the day.

The next thing to consider is location; how far do you want to travel? Is there an option to stay overnight? Will you be getting married at the venue or somewhere else first? Is it far away from home and is there enough accommodation for your guests? These will all play a major part in where you decide to book.

You need to decide what suits you, for example, if you want something a bit low-key and casual, then don't go for a big fancy manor house.

One of the main things that will ultimately decide your location is budget. As much fun as it is to daydream about spending big on your wedding day, work out your budget before you start looking and stay within your means!

The wedding team, Norton House Hotel

Al fresco celebration

Al fresco celebration

Q My fiancé́ and I have just started looking for our dream outdoor wedding venue. What should we keep in mind before booking?
A The Wedding Team says: Before booking an outdoor wedding, we'd recommend keeping in mind different weather conditions, as it can be unpredictable in the UK.

Here at Hensol Castle, your outdoor ceremony will take place under our charming bandstand with up to 140 guests comfortably seated under our huge outdoor parasols; making it a perfect ceremony space whether the sun is shining or not.

You will also need to keep in mind that your guests need to be able to hear your vows, without any noise interruptions. So, see if your venue has a built in PA system and microphone.

Getting married outdoors, brides-to-be worry about getting their dress dirty, so keep in mind how far you will need to walk to the ceremony space and that the path is always kept clean and well maintained to avoid this.

The Wedding Team, Hensol Castle

Truly romantic

Truly romantic

Q My partner and I have just got engaged and are excited to start looking for a venue. How do we begin our search?
A Nicola Jones says: Don't skip the research. Having a rough idea of what style inspires you will help you choose the perfect location for your big day. Start looking through magazines or go online for inspiration. The key is to compile your favourite imagery into one easy-to-access place, creating an inspiration board that will guide you through a lot of your future decisions! Once you have that together, the rest falls into three easy steps:

Know your numbers/location – Have a rough idea of how many people you want to celebrate with, both for the ceremony and the after party, and what kind of backdrop would best suit your nuptials. It might be a bustling hotel in the city, a marquee by the sea, or even a castle tucked away in the heart of a National Park. Your inspiration board will help with this as you'll notice clear themes will start to emerge, and knowing your numbers will save you from visiting venues that can't cater for your party size.

Get surfing – Now you know what to look for, get on the internet and be specific with your search; using keywords that fit your dream destination. You often get some helpful articles from compilation sites, saving you the time and effort of trawling through multiple pages.

Book some appointments and get visiting – This is the BEST part. Try not to spend too long on websites making comparisons; check out pictures, capacity, and cost of packages. If a venue ticks those three boxes, hit the contact button and set up an appointment to visit. Try to enjoy the experience and remember only your opinion matters!

Nicola Jones, Craig-y Nos Castle

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