The majority of wedding receptions in Ireland take place in a hotel, simply for convenience, size and experience, but when faced with the huge choice of venues, it’s often difficult to narrow it down to just one. Here are a few tips to make sure you make the right choice.
Finding a venue for your reception is possibly the most important financial decision you have to make when planning a wedding, as by far it should be the most expensive item on your list. Traditionally the venue was dictated by the bride’s family hometown, but these days couples feel much more free to choose their dream venue, no matter where it is. Plus, even if the couple were restricted due to their choice of ceremony venue, there’s usually a good selection of venues in the surrounding area – with most guests driving, it’s a lot easier to choose a reception venue further away from the ceremony venue.
Before even looking, you must sit down and work out your budget and your guest numbers. Knowing how much you can spend and how many people you need to accommodate will narrow down your search.
Think about distance from your ceremony venue. The reception venue should be as close to the ceremony location as possible, but a maximum 45 minutes to an hour’s drive away.
When working out how much per head you can afford, work out if this is just for food, or does It include wine with the meal, welcome drinks, evening food, drinks for the toast etc. Most hotels cost just for food, so you’re generally expected to pay for drink on top of this.
Think about the sort of meal you would like to serve, as this will help you in your choice of venue. For instance, a buffet might offer a different type of wedding meal experience.
If guests are travelling, you may want to choose a venue with rooms, or adjacent to a hotel or guesthouse.
If you have a big interest in wines, you might want to bring in your own. If this is the case, make sure that your chosen venue offers corkage. Check if this is negotiable too.
Every experienced venue will have a dedicated wedding/events manager. Meet with them at an early stage and establish if the venue is a possibility for your type of wedding.
Try to get testimonials from previous couples who have held their receptions there. Even googling the venue on the internet might bring up some reports on the venue.
If you are booking a wedding for a year or more in advance, get a good Idea of the price before you book. Generally prices rise about 5-10% every year, but check that the expected rise is in line with your budget.
Read the small print – some hotels can charge extra for certain items or may require a minimum number for evening food.
Make sure you see the room/venue at an early stage so you can see if it’s a serious contender or not. If you are still interested, arrange to see the room when it’s done up for a wedding.
If possible, arrange to eat at your venue or sample the caterer’s menu. Some venues offer a menu tasting – enquire If this is possible.
See what extras your venue might offer, for instance, champagne on arrival, free room decoration, discounted rooms for guests, 1st anniversary dinner etc.
While hotels offer a relatively hassle-free wedding option, don’t rule out any other venues. For instance, a castle can make a stunning setting for a wedding, and many venues have recommended caterers attached to them who will know the venue and the possibilities of it.
Hotel Daniel J Photography via Style Me Pretty
Venue 1 Tory Williams Photography via Style Me Pretty
Venue 2 (outdoor) Viril Bunao Fine Art Weddings via Style Me Pretty
Venue 3 Aaron Delesie Photography via Style Me Pretty
Venue 4 Jeff Sampson Photography via Style Me Pretty