Indie Bride Journal - Martha & The Venue Search
Hi there! It's been a little while since we caught up with our Indie Bride, the lovely Martha from Anemone Style. Martha is busy running a cool and contemporary wedding styling company as well as planning her own wedding. I don't know how she does it all, somehow she does though and with utter style! Last time we heard her engagement story and swooned over her stunning enagagement ring that Alistair, her hubby to be, designed himself. What a groom!
Today Martha shares her venue search with us, as well as offering top advice to all you brides out there too. Over to you Martha...
Being a wedding planner/stylist and a bride-to-be definitely has its perks, not least the fact I already have a carefully curated list of wonderful wedding suppliers. So when it came down to looking for our wedding venue I already had a number of options shortlisted in my mind.
The big decision for us was, do we get married in the city we live and love or do we escape to our favourite bit of Italy on the Amalfi coast? I’d love to say sun, sea and Italian food won out but in the end budget and priorities took over. I love the idea of a destination wedding; escaping the temperamental English weather for an outdoor wedding under the sun, the greater chance of achieving my dream of a smaller intimate wedding, delicious seafood on the coast...But when neither of your grandmothers like flying and your dream wedding venue is £5000 per day for a minimum of 4 days...practicality had to take over.
I’m not saying we couldn’t have made it happen, roped in my Italian family to help, flown over to source some alternative venue options, made some calls to some of my Italian wedding contacts. It was more that by going through the initial planning motions we realised that there were other things that were more important to us than getting married in Italy. And that’s what wedding planning is all about, it is where I start with my own clients, establishing those absolute must-haves versus what you are willing to compromise on.
One thing I quickly realised I was not willing to compromise on was our wedding suppliers. Alistair and I are both very design oriented and it’s all about the details for us. If we’d have opted for a more rural destination wedding rather than a wedding in our capital city, I felt we’d have been more limited on the suppliers who suite our style best. By picking London as our location we now have a whole host of talent to potentially work with; the businesses that we already admire and follow on Instagram. And that makes the wedding stylist in me super excited!
It’s different for every couple, so my top tip for starting the wedding venue search is to create a list or (if like me you love them), a spreadsheet. Add space for the details of each venue and then add a column or tick box for each of your venue requirements. For example, we wanted a dry hire venue, with natural light, blank canvas or modern decor, on one level or with a lift for my grandmothers, without too many supplier restrictions, and a late licence. When we were reviewing a venue we liked we checked to see if it met all or most of these key parameters. And voila! The ones that had the most ticks were the ones we shortlisted to view.
Quick wedding planner tip - aim to shortlist 3-5 venues to view. Do the research up-front so you spend your precious time visiting only the real contenders, the ones that meet your brief.
Going through the motions of a venue search is a great way to asses and evolve your list of wedding priorities. By establishing that working with our favourite London suppliers was a top priority, we realised that we didn’t want to spend most of the budget on a venue we couldn’t then afford to fill with amazing florals and decor. Equally, from the start of the planning process, good food and being able to provide a free bar for our guests has always been high on the priority list.
Which again limits the budget we had to spend on venue hire alone. We fell in love with some gorgeous London venues but ultimately we had to cross them off the list due to other budget priorities. And we are totally cool with that. By identifying our absolute ‘must-haves’ we really refined our venue requirements and as a result, we’ve found the venue that is perfect for us.
There are no wrong or right reasons to pick a venue. Maybe you’ve always wanted a castle wedding and are happy to allocate a big chunk of your budget to allow for that. Perhaps the town hall is the place to say ‘I do’ so you can treat your guests to an amazing tasting menu at your favourite restaurant post-ceremony. Or like some friends of mine, no venue is quite right so you buy your dream venue and start a business! Ok, so that last one isn’t a common scenario, but you get what I mean. Choose something that feels right, meets your expectations and totally suits who you are as a couple.
We should be signing on the dotted line with our venue this week so watch this space!