Top Five Tips When Picking a Wedding Venue

Top Five Tips When Picking a Wedding Venue

Congratulations – you’re engaged! The first thing you’re going to want to do is get started on all of the exciting wedding planning. The first, most important thing to do is to find your dream venue as this can really set the tone and style of the wedding that you will have. Here are 5 of our top tips when looking for your wedding venue:

1) Guest Numbers

This is really important – you need to sit down and discuss together as families who you are wanting to invite to the wedding – whether it be both day and evening guests or just day guests. The list always gets bigger than what you previously anticipated (mostly due to family dynamics and there being a certain number of guests who you just ‘have’ to invite). Once you’ve got an idea as to how many day and evening guests you will be inviting this will help you with venues. It may rule ones out straight away and it may open up other venues if you manage to cut your list down. However, it’s really important to have an idea of this before picking a venue. Always ask your venue what the maximium capacity for certain areas in the venue is and if there are minimum numbers in regards to catering. If you’re wanting a church ceremony too it’s worth checking the capacity here as British churches tend to be a lot smaller than you expect. At Tilstone House we are really flexible with numbers – you get exclusive use of the entire property and so in the evening there are many different rooms guests can spread out into. We have a maximum capacity of 120 in our ballroom but for larger weddings we do also have the opportunity to work with our exclusive marquee supplier Elite Marquees.

2) Decide on the time of year

Summer wedding? Autumn Wedding? Winter wedding? Spring Wedding? Every season has completely different advantages and again this can really affect your decision as to when to get married. The first thing people will say is the weather – you absolutely can’t rely on a beautiful Summer’s day in the middle of July and you may get one in October so try not to think about this too much – it’s absolutely hit and miss in the UK and I can honestly tell you rain has never ever dampened a wedding we have worked on. Another thing to consider when looking for your venue is the gardens and grounds – trees and flowers are all different colours throughout the year and if you are thinking of say a December wedding or a March wedding for example I always recommend to visit the venue at that time of year so you can see exactly what it will look like on your wedding day. Cost also plays a part – you will find that most venues offer different rates depending on the time of year mostly due to the popularity of May-September weddings. This could be a great way to save some money yet still have your dream venue! At Tilstone House our gardens are beautiful all year-round and with our lush lawns matched with beautiful fireplaces if you chose to get married in either Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter you can guarantee it will be absolutely beautiful.

3) Church or Civil ceremony?

Again, this is always worth discussing with families as they can often have a strong opinion regarding this. If a church wedding is what you decide on this will affect your reception venue as you are often limited in what churches you are allowed to get married in (there are rules and regulations to follow). Bear in mind travel time between church and reception venue – we would always recommend this never being longer than 45-60 minutes because if it is straight away you have lost a decent chunk of your wedding day and also consider guests getting home at the end of the evening. Sometimes a civil ceremony and reception in the same venue is often the easiest way to ensure your day runs extremely smoothly and you have all your guests together for the duration of the day. We are licensed outdoors and indoors for civil ceremonies – giving you the flexibility of options. We also have some beautiful churches nearby that suit all different size guest parties.

4) Accommodation

This is similar to the above tip – if you are having a wedding in a venue that is a distance from where your friends and family live you are going to need to think about guests and whether they stay over in a hotel nearby or travel back home at the end of the evening. A venue having accommodation is a big advantage and one that we always hear our clients at Tilstone House saying they love. It is so lovely to have your closest family and friends stay together the evening of the wedding and wake up the next day to have breakfast and discuss the events of the wedding. It means you don’t need to worry about people getting home safely or having to leave early to get back home. Always ask your venue what bedrooms are available for guests and again how these are booked. We have accommodation for 30 guests at Tilstone House in 11 bedrooms including our beautiful bridal suite complete with a balcony overlooking the grounds.

5) Catering

Your wedding food is such an important part of the day – it’s a good few hours where you and your guests are all sat down together chatting and enjoying each other’s company. The meal is often one of the points that guests remember most about your day. When you’re choosing a venue definitely ask if the catering is done in-house, if there are external caterers to choose from or if you can bring your own caterers in. It’s so important to bespoke a menu to you and have what food you would like on your wedding day. At Tilstone House we have chosen to work with award-winning caterers who do just that – really tailor a menu based on your likes and requirements. You’re not just stuck with having to pick from Menu A/B/C. Think about everything else that is part of the catering of the day – the Canapes which everyone always loves and the evening food – again a lovely way to personalise it to you both as a couple!


If you are recently engaged and would like to arrange a show around at Tilstone House, please contact us on enquiries@tilstonehouse.co.uk or 07833253416.