Tag Archives: venue

How to Find the Right Wedding Venue for You

Other than finding a sweet lover to marry and someone qualified to marry the pair of you, a venue is probably the next most important thing. Because you cannot get married nowhere.

Yep, your wedding definitely has to be held somewhere. It’s really hard to finish your wedding invitations without an address, and it’s very hard to attend a wedding without a place. Finding the right venue to get mazzed in could be one of the very best things you can do to guarantee* a sweet wedding planning adventure. Is that too big a call? Maybe. Do I stand by it? Yeah man. What’s the point of all these questions? Who really knows…but anyway, venues.

After a whole career spent researching every wedding venue in the entire universe, it has become clear to me that there’s never been more options for you to choose from. Amazing! Lucky you! No longer do you need to choose between 1.7 options, all of which include the chicken or the beef and lycra chair covers.

But also, the endless variety of options now available means you can get trapped in a venue vortex wormhole real quick. You will eventually extricate yourself, but you will straight up NEVER be the same again. Here are some tips to protect you from such a fate and help you find that special venue. Ignore this advice at your own peril, silly.

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Something Borrowed, Something Roo: The Guest List

Photography Credit: Bluebird Vintage

After enduring the heartache of finding (and losing) our wedding venue, I’m sure you can appreciate that we felt as though we’d fallen off the horse a bit in terms of planning our wedding; trying to accept something so stressful wasn’t easy, and I’m sure that I don’t speak for myself when I say that it made me a little anxious to think about other wedding-related things for fear of tripping up again. However, as with all horses that one might fall off of, it is often said that’s important to get back on again – and we could only do that if we put faith in our planning again.

I must say that I wasn’t really sure where to start in the grand marital scheme, especially without 100% confirmation on a venue – we couldn’t exactly book anything for a specific date in case the date had to change, and equally I couldn’t get started on our invitations (which I intend on designing myself) in case some or all of the details had to change. Realistically, the only thing we could do (correct me if I’m wrong!) was to think about our guest list. This in itself was a little daunting because I’d always heard that compiling a guest list and/or seating chart (which we’re going to leave until much later) is one of the hardest parts of wedding planning, particularly if/when it comes down to avoiding feuds, rifts, exes, and so on – for example, “if we invite Dave we can’t invite Sandra but if we don’t invite Dave then Martin won’t come”, and so on.

Still, this wasn’t an aspect of our wedding that was going to just sort itself out, so we uncorked a bottle of wine, opened up a Word document and set our minds to task. Before we started to think about our guest list in any great detail, we had to consider what the constraints of our venue might be. The CUC had originally quoted us a 60-person capacity for the ceremony, with a 150-person capacity for the reception, so until we had confirmation back about the constraints of The Florrie we thought it was best to work with these initial figures.

Considering the ceremony first, we started by jotting down the crux of the wedding party: our parents, bridesmaids (my two sisters, Lamb’s sister, and my best friend), and best man (Lamb’s brother). We then added “obvious” immediate family, like my ninna (grandmother) and our close aunts and uncles, (we also contacted our parents to ask which members of their respective families they would like to have at the ceremony). The rest of the list consisted of our closest of close friends, whom we wanted to share our vows with.

Guest list genealogy chart – available from Mélangerie Inc.

It wasn’t until we’d polished off our list that Lamb noticed something we’d previously overlooked; we hadn’t thought about whether the 60-person capacity included us. That might sound a little silly, but it’s worth paying attention to particularly if you’re at a latter stage in your “guest-listing” and want to avoid any nasty surprises! After contacting The Florrie for further confirmation, we were surprised to hear that their capacity for the reception was actually 200 for the ceremony and 250 for the reception (providing we dropped a few of our dining tables after the meal). This was a really welcome piece of news purely for the fact that it meant we could create a more balanced ceremony list – in our original list it was decidedly “Lamb-heavy” due to the fact that a few of his friends have long-term partners, and inviting them as couples soon swallowed up the numbers. Lamb had suggested only inviting their partners to the reception, but I insisted that they come to the wedding together in order to celebrate their own relationship as well as ours.

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Something Borrowed Something Roo: When it all Goes Wrong…

When I got a text from Roo just before Christmas saying “erm…I think we might have to cancel our wedding…our wedding venue is being shut down” my heart skipped a beat. You know when people say “oh I know exactly how you feel…” but actually, really, they don’t? Well in this case I could reply those words with utmost sincerity. Our wedding venue pulled out of our wedding just three months before our day. That’s a story for another time, but I did have 100% confidence in my reply “Roo, everything with be OKAY. You won’t have to cancel your wedding”…

Photography Credit: internet k-hole

You know that phrase “rollercoaster of emotions”? I hate it. It’s up there with countless other overused phrases that initially sound incredibly profound, but actually they’re just unbearably hollow and totally meaningless. When you have a hatred for something that burns as deep as mine does for this, then you can imagine my turmoil when suddenly, out of nowhere, I found that it actually applied to me. A bitter taste, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Now, I won’t be offended if you’re sitting there and thinking what on earth is she rabbiting on about? – because really, I get that all the time. So I’ll tell you: after all the fussing and fighting of finding our wedding venue, we all sank comfortably into the cushions of wedding planning bliss, and looked forward to enjoying a real family-orientated Christmas before we thunder-bolted into the new year with the rest of our arrangements.

It’s funny, isn’t it, how you always remember where you were when you received bad news? It was a dull afternoon on December 2nd, 2011, and I had just come home to show Lamb some of the Christmas gifts I’d managed to pick up. My phone chirruped with a text message from my friend and bridesmaid, Rea, and I glanced to read it almost absent-mindedly (my attention span is mortifyingly weak) until I saw what it said. Simply, “have you heard about the CUC?”

You know when you just know? Well I just knew. My fingers sort of became haunted with this ghost that wanted to text back and ask the question that I already knew the answer to: what about the CUC? – but the truth is that I already knew in my heart of hearts that what it was about was that it was no longer our wedding venue. To read her reply, “it’s closing down” was no more illuminating than my intuition, which had supposed that our gorgeous venue had either been washed away by a flash flood or had been completely overrun by mean and scary ghosts – two perfectly understandable reasons for closure that I absolutely could not have argued with no matter how much I was crying. And I was crying a lot. Buckets, you might say. Rea told us to look online, and sure enough in black and blue it was there for all to see on their website:


They cited public sector cuts as the reason for their closure, but as a bride on the receiving end it did not compute; all I could see in my mind’s eye was that room; flashes of that iron spiral staircase and those Chesterfield sofas and how we cried when my dad put our wedding deposit down because we realised that we had actually set a date. The Contemporary Urban Centre was not just a wedding venue to me, it was the wedding venue that had helped us over the hurdle we felt we’d fallen at, it was the wedding venue that finally made our wedding seem real – it was our wedding venue, and now it was gone, and it didn’t matter how many times I read it or re-read it – it just didn’t make any sense to me.

Contemporary Urban Centre

It also didn’t make a blind bit of sense to me that this press release had gone public without us being notified first. I had the CUC on redial, ready for a kick-off, when eventually their wedding co-ordinator, Adele, returned my messages. I started to spit out my complaint when I heard that she was crying, just like me – not only had we lost our venue that morning, she’d lost her job, too. It suddenly became apparent that it had been an absolute shock announcement, with 28 other couples in the same position as us – some of them due to hold their wedding just days after the closure date. Adele insisted that she’d tried to speak to us all before 12pm when the press release was published, but that it had been impossible. We started to understand, but it was by no means any easier. Things had already been so hard for us and now we had to face it all over again, in even more of a daze.

Contemporary Urban Centre

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Under the Spotlight – Sawday’s Canopy & Stars

Another one of my goals for 2011 is to actually have a holiday with Gareth (are you reading this buster!?) With us both being workaholics plus parent’s to two very needy Maine Coons, the idea of us actually making the time to go away seems like more of a daunting task than to most – can you believe the last holiday we had together was our honeymoon…THREE years ago?!

Anyway, when Canopy & Stars emailed me before Christmas…well, it was like all my Christmases had come at once. They offer the perfect solution to our little dilemma – the mini-moon. But these are not any old generic short break, oh no – Canopy & Stars offer holiday’s under the stars (talk about getting away from it all!) but I’m not talking about  muddy fields, communal showers and sharing your tent with an ants nest (eugh.) This my dears is glamping – glamorous camping at its very best!

Canopy & Stars offer a number of different and unique locations and places to stay all around the UK, from super glamorous French imported Gypsy caravans in the Scottish borders and a luxury log cabin in the Lake District and prices start from just £120 for a weekend! They are also introducing new locations all the time. I’m particularly excited about The Treehouse at Harptree Court, available from June 2011. It looks AMAZING!

Here’s some of their glamping locations that I’m just dying to visit…seriously. I’m there!

Sapperton Yurt (The Cotswolds)

I have always wanted to stay in a yurt and Sapperton is one of the most glam I’ve seen. I’m loving the interior decor and the fire! Surrounded by woodland, Sapperton comes complete with a double bed, a wood burner, gorgeous rugs, your own private decking area and even a roll top bath. This place sounds more luxurious than my house!

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Alice in Weddingland ~ The Venue Search

Well you’ve heard me mutter a little bit about my new intern, the lovely Alice, over the past week or so but now it’s time to properly introduce the lady herself.

I’ve never had an intern before and to be honest the control freak inside of me wasn’t sure exactly what I’d do with one. However when Alice emailed me a few weeks ago to tell me all about her love of media, writing and Rock n Roll Bride and to ask if she could help out in any way, well I just thought “Hey, why the hell not?!” The tattoo magazine photo shoot was coming up so I thought if anything it’d be good to have an extra pair of hands to help the photographer carry his heavy equipment!

Photography Credit: Kristyn  Hogan Photography

Luckily for me, Alice turned out to be as un-stalker-like as possible (the thought did cross my mind..well you never know!) – sweet, excited, passionate about writing and thrilled about planning her Rock n Roll wedding. So for this, a sparkly n spangly new series, I’ve asked the lady herself (who is getting married next Summer) if she’d record her journey for us. On the first Monday of every month Alice is going to tell us all about her recent meanders in Weddingland (see what I did there!?) starting with that elusive venue hunt.

The aim of this series is not to be like the the usual boooooring and uninspiring ‘real bride’ series of someone you can’t relate to in any way. Alice & Graham have a modest budget (just £3000 to be exact) and are hellbent on organising a kick ass Rock n Roll wedding. I’m really looking forward to snooping around their lives hehe.

Show your support for the new girl and leave your comments below!

♥   ♥   ♥

When Kat asked me to write a little sommat sommat about my wedding journey I was particularly excited, because I don’t know about you, but I am beyond fed up of reading countless “real wedding” stories that are anything but!  If I see another Vera Wang-clad, Tiffany-ring wearing, bottle blonde beauty stare back at me disdainfully from the pages of a glossy, I seriously might cry.  So this is for all you girlies out there after something a little bit unique, a little bit punk, and a little bit special. I hope you find my wedding-land interesting, inspiring, and very Rock n Roll!

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Under the Spotlight – The Sage, Gateshead

The Sage Gateshead at night with bridges credit Alex Telfer

When planning our wedding I found organising the venue the most stressful. As soon as we got engaged I wanted to get the venue sorted as, really, the whole day – the theme, the style and the ambiance – anchors around the setting.

For the modern, urban bride, The Sage, Gateshead could well be the answer. Set just outside of Newcastle, The Sage offers a modern and affordable way to get married in style. The venue offers 3 rooms available for wedding hire.

The Barbour Room with it’s dramatic views of the city holds upto 220 guests for a ceremony, 180 for the wedding breakfast and up to 250 for an evening reception. The space includes a fabulous internal terrace for something really striking. Prices for hiring The Barbour Room start at £1600.

Click here for a 360º tour of this stunning room

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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

I love this shoot because not only does it look like it was a mountain of fun, but the girls that put it together are the best of friends – make it even more adorable methinks! Photographers Michelle & Hanssie had the idea for this ‘retro cars and vintage dresses’ shoot and enlisted the help of  a bunch of their industry friends to help them. The venue, a car museum called Astor Classics Events Center, had been thinking about opening it’s doors for weddings and receptions so the shoot provided the perfect opportunity for some publicity…didn’t the shots turn out great? I know I’d love to get married there – what a load of awesome locations for photo ops!

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Fiery Wedding at Sloss Furnaces

My last wedding from Bob Miller (for now! – if you missed them here’s one and two) is the gorgeous relaxed but energetic wedding of Beverly & Neil.

Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham AL (apparently one of the most haunted places in the US!) was suggested to the pair by their friend and eventual wedding coordinator, Sarah Crawford.  After visiting Sloss, they both agreed this location would provide the unique, relaxed, and energetic atmosphere they wanted.  Working within a very limited budget, they felt that choosing an unconventional location would allow them to bypass some of the traditional wedding etiquette.  “The location also said a lot about our interests” the groom told me. ” I’m an Architect (student) and Beverly is a Graphic Designer.  The soaring smokestacks and steel columns and beams (all decades old) provided an amazing setting.  In addition, much of Sloss consists of beautiful greenery sprouting out of the old steel in various spots.” 

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