Ah, the wedding venue search. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t enjoy it! But once we found our amazing venue, it felt GOOD. Here are my top tips on how to avoid the stress here:
Mr DTE and I definitely found the venue part of wedding planning the most tricky. We felt totally overwhelmed, lacked direction and just had no idea where to start. We thought we’d done well by narrowing it down to London early on, and then we saw that London has about a zillion wedding venues: country wedding venue, old traditional wedding venue, slick modern city venue, rugged urban loft feel wedding venue…..the list is endless.
It all depends on how many people you have, what your budget is, how formal/relaxed you’d like it to be. My recommendations are based on my numbers, budget and likes, but I’d love to hear from you if you have any more suggestions to give a wider spectrum of wonderful ideas. Get in touch yo!
We’re so lucky London has so much to offer but it can be ever so slightly scary. Don’t worry – and don’t panic. Have a look here for my full handy venue checklist, but here are some yummy bitesize suggestions to help you on your way:
We started out by thinking about the weddings we’d been to before, and which ones we found the most relaxed and fun. Then we went through the main elements of the venue had aided that and chose some of those to be our main priorities.
Ask your friends for ideas of the best weddings they’ve been to, and where they took place. Then have a look online and check them out. Pinterest is good for some real-life images of other people’s weddings too. Who doesn’t like nosing through other random people’s wedding photos? (The answer is no-one).
I found other blogs and wedding venue directories good as a starting point. Here are some links of some cool blogs, and the best venue directories I found:
Blogs and websites:
- London Bride Inspiration page – you can pick a style that suits you both and have a look through some venues (as well as dresses etc when you’re ready). I found this really helpful at the start, great website.
- Mr and Mrs Unique – again super cool for inspiration just to see what’s out there, and to find some venues with lots of character, just like you.
- Rock My Wedding – everyone loves Rock My Wedding. Whoever you are, I’m sure you’ll find something on here that floats your boat. They have TONS of ideas, and their Pinterest page is pretty swell too.
- Rock n Roll Bride: one of my ultimate faves, Rock n Roll Bride gives examples of some alternative weddings that are a little more down-to-earth like us.
There are tons but I’d recommend starting with these ones:
- The Love Lust List: You can search by venue and location, including international locations.
- Wedding Dates London directory: Very ‘wedding venues only’ focused, but really helpful for inspiration and gives you an overview of capacities and cost etc.
- I’d really recommend you don’t only look for ‘wedding venues’ in your searches. There are tons of restaurants, bars and cool little hire spaces in London that won’t label themselves as ‘wedding venues’ but which might be perfect for a wedding. Mr DTE and I looked at tons of restaurants and they were gggggreat. Also, imagine how yummy the food, and service, will be. Score.
Jojo’s TOP THREE London wedding venues:
Here are my favourite London wedding venues (sssssssssh don’t tell too many people)
- Coq d’Argent: This is where Mr DTE and I actually got married. Paparazzi, hold back. It’s funny as it’s not the sort of place that we’d usually go to during the week – it has a name for being a bit of a city hotspot for a lot of bankers. This couldn’t be further from me and Mr DTE. However, during the weekend it’s as quiet as Canary Wharf around the city, and therefore turns into a prime wedding location. So to hire it for your wedding means you get the whole restaurant, which includes the entire restaurant, the roof bar and also the terrace (ka-ching). I cannot fault Coq d’Argent, in any way. And I’m pretty honest about these things:
– The food: French, so bien sur it’s just to die for
– The staff...there are no words. Nothing is too much for them
– The views: breathtaking
– The price: I mean it’s not cheap as it’s London, but because it’s such a city hotspot, Coq d’Argent is actually CHEAPER at the weekend. Pick up the phone and start dialling.
– The planning: Laura Dauphin, Event Manager at Coq d’Argent, is the most wonderful Event Organiser I have ever come across. And I used to work in Events. If you’re lucky enough to work with Laura and her team, they will reassure you so much that your wedmin will be a breeze.
Overall I’m just so pleased we got married here. It was like a Midsummer Night’s Dream all day long.
- The Amadeus: Situated in Little Venice, near to Warwick Avenue and Paddington, The Amadeus is full, FULL, of character in a beautiful old English venue, with a modern twist, perfect for a fun wedding. My best pal got married here and it was amaziiiing! There are two main spaces – one where you can eat and dance, the other where you can enjoy drinks and nibbles etc. The team there are super cool, and they have 5 main caterers for you to choose from, making corkage charges potentially WONDERBAR.
- Wilton’s Music Hall: Based near Wapping in East London, Mr DTE and I had our hearts set on Wilton’s, but they were refurbishing for months and wouldn’t take any bookings so we had to say ‘bye bye’ to them. It was sad….I’ve seen loads of gorgeous photos of couples getting married here. It has so much character, but the style isn’t for everyone. It’s pretty alternative and artistic. Top tip: they don’t charge corkage, KA-CHING.
I’m only recommending here the venues where contacts were nice, the spaces were beautiful and I could imagine our wedding there being amazing. As I’ve said before, I’m not on commission so I am being truthful with these recommendations.
Mini moan: I did find it sad that lots of venue teams either a) never got back to us or b) just replied with ‘Brochure attached’. I know, I know, they must get sooo many enquiries, many of which never materialise into anything – it must be mega tiresome. However, it’s not great when your first email from a potential venue where you’re going to spend thousands of pounds is ‘Brochure attached’.
I don’t know if this is a helpful statement or not, so here goes…but the venue search was one of the only times when I did get mega stressed. I’m SORRY!!!!! It’s just that we saw so so many places before we saw any that we liked vaguely. And it takes a lot of time! Loads of the venues are only open 9am – 5pm which is reeeeally helpful when your average working hours are 8.30 – 6pm. However, SILVER LINING: I know this sounds like a line but it really is worth it. Even if you see a dozen or so venues that you don’t like at all, it can help to figure out what we really didn’t want from our venue.
Good luuuuuuuck! Once you have this nailed, the rest is a breeze. Trust me.
PPPPPSSST: Don’t forget to check out the full down-to-earth bride wedding venue checklist for more top tips!