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Welcome back everyone, its ‘Wedding Wednesday’ and this week it’s all about the venue!

The venue is the most important factor of your wedding planning and do not underestimate it. It should be your top priority, the number 1 on your to-do list, the essence of your plans because until you have a venue booked you are essentially in no-mans-land.

Don’t get me wrong, your venue can be anything from a small intimate gathering to a huge party or anything in between – but it will predict the food, the photography, the suppliers – even the dress! Years from your day people will remember the venue, the food and the service far quicker than the beautiful handmade favours, painstakingly put together the day before the wedding.

Traditionally Irish weddings were very simple, you got engaged – popped up to the local priest set a date and down to the local hotel where you booked a wedding breakfast for your guests. The entire day was planned in an hour. Nowadays, however there are hundreds of venues, thousands of packages and millions of ideas. My God where do you start?

If you followed my tips from my previous post ‘Congratulations you’re engaged – what’s next’ your venue search automatically just got easier! You have now discussed the general idea’s you both have for your big day, you have chatted about the all-important budget, know approximately how many guests you are inviting and which season you are planning your day for! So now it’s time to start the search…

Narrowing down your wedding venue search is very difficult, how far is too far? Is it accessible for all your guests? Is there enough accommodation in your venue and close by to cater for your guests?   The best advice I can give is – look at where you are both from, decide where you will be getting married (be it church or civil ceremony), think about the time of year you are looking to get married in and decide on a reasonable distance from church to venue – nobody wants a 3 hour drive from church to venue!! Most importantly ask for advice! Many of your relatives and friends have likely been too weddings in the area you are looking at, ask them what they thought, how they enjoyed it and take their advice on board.

Know your basic details – sure the beautiful castle with winding staircases and intimate dining room is amazing! But can Granny manoeuvre the stairs and where will your 300 guests sit? And of course you have dreamt of an outdoors wedding in a forested area but how is that going to work in January? There are hundreds of venues but only one is right for you!

Make a list of questions of things that are important to you, things you would like to see and do on your wedding day. It is important that the venue you choose, is the venue you have dreamed about. Don’t be afraid of sounding silly, a wedding coordinator has heard it all before and know that this is all new to you. Your wedding coordinator will be able to help and advise what is best for you and your day. Ask all of the questions you can think of because this is the time too.

Next step, contact the hotel you are considering. You can read all the reviews in the world, you can know a hotel’s packages inside out but you won’t get a feel for your wedding until you walk in and see where your special day could be, to walk around their ballroom and imagine yourself in your wedding dress doing the very same. To see where your friends will enjoy a glass of prosecco while they await your arrival. To meet your wedding coordinator, the very person you will be entrusting your most special day too, the person you will be sharing your thoughts and ideas for your day with. When you leave, feeling excited with ideas formulating in your mind – you know you have found your venue.

That’s all for this week, next time we’ll talk about ‘What’s Next…’!

Love Sally X

‘This day I will marry my best friend, the one I Laugh with, Dream with, Live for, Love,’

P.S If you have any wedding questions, you can reach me on sbrogan@loughreahotelandspa.com