Choosing from the many beautiful wedding venues in Essex can be a difficult task. Many couples can become overwhelmed with the different styles of venue, the packages on offer and the sheer number of them. It doesn’t help that there are a lot of great wedding venues in Essex, such as The Compasses at Pattiswick, Hatfield Place and The Coach House at Marks Hall, and they are all gorgeous in their own right.
As one of the top catering companies in Essex, we have provided wedding catering services at many of the best wedding venues in Essex, and are therefore well-positioned to help you choose the right venue.
Visit the Venue
Most wedding venues in Essex hold open days or wedding fayres and this is an ideal time to see the venue as it is likely to be dressed for a wedding. Visiting the venue will provide you with an opportunity to find out whether there is accommodation on-site for you and your guests.
You have found the wedding venue of your dreams so now you need to know whether the venue has availability on your chosen date. Having your heart set on a venue and later finding there is no availability for the next three years can be crushing so this should be the first thing you ask the venue.
Set your Budget
Whether you are looking for a wedding venue that allows dry-hire, and finding your own catering service, or opting for a package deal, you need to know exactly what you are getting for your money. Make sure you ask your venue for a breakdown of the quote as this will help you choose between venues by providing a clearer comparison.
Once you have a quote from the venue, decide whether this is in budget. For most people budget is a key consideration and you will want to stick to it, especially at this early stage in your planning. Ensure you take into account other big expenses you will need to budget for separately such as venue decorations, food catering services, the wedding dress, entertainment, your wedding cake designer etc….
Capacity and Layout
If you are considering a wedding breakfast for 150 people make sure your venue can accommodate this. Equally, if you are planning a more intimate affair then a venue with a 300 person capacity might be too big. If you are planning a more casual affair and are considering BBQ caterers, check with your venue that there is enough space for the barbecue catering as well guests seating and any other outdoor activities. Your guests will likely be walking up to the buffet station to collect their food so you will need a venue with enough space to walk between tables.
You might have your heart set on getting married outside, but even in the summer months you will need a wet weather plan so make sure you are happy with what the venue can offer. Take a look at the Coach House at Marks Hall, where Chinese hat marquees on the terrace provide a fantastic wet weather plan. With all our outdoor options we have a wet weather plan and can even accommodate outside barbecue catering when it’s raining.
Whether you choose to get married inside or outside, it is likely your guests will spend some time outside, perhaps whilst the canapes are being served. Even if you plan to get married inside, make sure you take a look at the grounds of the venue and what facilities there are available, such as parking.
Can you use external caterers and suppliers?
Probably the most important element which contributes to a successful wedding reception is the food. A bad meal or not enough food will affect your guests’ mood so it’s an important investment when you’re spending so much on your wedding.
Asking about the use of external caterers is especially important if you are hoping for a particular cuisine for your wedding breakfast, or if you already have some particular catering companies in mind. Some venues have in-house caterers which makes your catering decision easier, but can mean your food options are limited. Other venues allow you to choose from a handful of catering companies and some venues give you the choice of any food catering services you like.
Whatever the venue’s policy is with regards to the caterers, do your own research on the caterers available to you. Have a look at their menus and reviews. Find out whether the caterers offer a tasting session prior to booking and whether there is an additional charge for this.
For further information on picking one of the best caterers in Essex, see our blog Top 5 Questions to ask Event or Wedding Catering Companies. If you would like wedding menu inspiration our Alternative Wedding Menu blog will help you choose your wedding menu.
Do a bit of research
Have a look at what other couples have had to say about the venue following their wedding. Checking out the reviews of the venue and the catering services can provide you with a good picture of what you can expect from the venue.
Many wedding venues have a list of recommended suppliers so if you have decided this is the venue for you then definitely have a look at the list. If you already have a particular supplier in mind you should check with the venue whether you can use your own supplier which is not on the list.
Find out from the venue whether you will be allocated a wedding co-ordinator as your point of contact and whether they will be available on the day. Your point of contact will be able to answer any questions you will have in the planning stages and leading up to your wedding.
Terms and conditions
It might be tedious but checking the small print is essential. Reading through the t’s and c’s might highlight things to you that you had not thought to ask yet.
If you are not fully committed to your venue, go and visit again, ideally when there is an open day and the venue is dressed for a wedding. You will be able to meet the recommended suppliers and speak with the planners. Take time to talk to your chosen suppliers and discuss your ideas with them.
Whether you have a Essex wedding venue in mind or are still looking for a venue, get in touch and we can help you plan your wedding and discuss our wedding catering services. Our menus provide a variety of options for your wedding breakfast so whether you require a three-course sit-down meal, bbq wedding catering, an afternoon tea, or something bespoke, we have the experience and knowledge to adapt our catering services to your style and venue.
Take a look at some of the Essex Wedding Venues where we provide our wedding catering services.