Venue Hunting – The Rejects

by clumsylawyer

Venue hunting for us started much earlier than it would for most couples.  This was primarily down to the fact that we have had such a long engagement, but also because I like to plan.  I’m the girl who organises holidays with our group of friends, the one who arranges for everyone to meet up and the one who likes to know where I’m supposed to be, what I’m supposed to do and when.

We knew we wanted to marry near to where we both grew up.  To us it was a no-brainer, as most of our family either still live there or would be able to stay with someone if they were visiting to attend the wedding.  I started to scour the internet around 2 years before our planned date, and ordered countless brochures to flick through when A Man came to stay.  We had 2 main criteria:

  1. The venue had to accommodate at least our projected numbers.
  2. We preferred to find somewhere which was licensed to hold the ceremony.

Although church weddings can be very beautiful, and the vast majority of the weddings I have attended included religious ceremonies, neither A Man nor I are religious, and a church ceremony was not for us.  It was not essential to be able to hold the ceremony at the reception venue, but it made perfect sense to me as everything would be contained, there would be no concerns about travelling between the two and the staff would know exactly how things were going in terms of timings.

Some were ruled out immediately, on the grounds of price.  Although we didn’t have an exact budget in mind (and to some extent still don’t, as we’re still saving), some places were just clearly out of our league.

St Audries Park

This manor house in its very grand settings certainly had the space we were looking for with a capacity of 130 for a seated meal and up to 250(!) in the evening.  Also, its grandeur was heavily reflected in the price.  We didn’t even go to look around this one or the following…

Clearwell Castle

This venue makes no bones about being imposing and important-looking.  It could seat a huge 160 for the wedding breakfast, and was another venue which could offer space for 250 evening guests.  However, it was again too expensive and not ideally situated for our families.

Ston Easton Park

A little under-capacity at 80 seated guests, but they could provide buffet food for up to 120.  Although it’s grand, the manor seemed a bit Spartan to me, so we didn’t visit this one.

The Longhouse

This was the only venue we visited and rejected outright, mainly because they really didn’t seem organised enough to entrust our wedding day to them!  The Longhouse is part of Mill on the Brue, an outdoor activity centre, and they host weddings during down-time from hosting adventure camps.  Despite my having mentioned our preferred date in my initial email to them, they never informed us that they would be unable to host on that date until we actually turned up.  The venue itself is set in beautiful surroundings, but it was quite hard to visualise how it would work for a wedding reception.  I can see that it would be great for some couples, particularly given its eco-credentials, but it wasn’t for us, especially as the date was very important for us.

How did you go about narrowing down your venue options?  Did you have any disappointments?