Here is a selection of Q&As from Your London Wedding magazine. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to email@example.com.
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From finding the perfect setting to how to style it, our experts answer your wedding venue queries
Q. We want a wedding venue that will wow guests; the only stipulation is that it must be in London. Where would you recommend?
A. Moya Maxwell says: When approaching this question, the problem is not that you have a lack of venues to choose from, but you're faced with so many. From cool and contemporary spaces to those steeped in history and tradition, there's something for everyone in London. If you have a clear vision for your big day, this will help you narrow the options down. From majestic palaces in Kensington and Kew, to urban chic at Vinopolis and every man's favourite, Lord's, you're bound to find your perfect setting here in the capital.
It may sound obvious but the logistics of your day should be at the forefront of your mind when considering venues. Capacities, location, proximity to transport links and whether there is a ceremony licence are all factors you must consider. Fortunately, most of London's prestigious buildings and events spaces have hospitality teams who will be experienced in planning and conducting weddings, so will be able to help you choose your perfect big-day setting.
Q. Our wedding venue is a large, grand space, which certainly has the wow factor. I'm a bit worried about it looking empty though – what kind of décor would you suggest to really bring it to life?
A. Gary Peters says: It can be intimidating when you have to think about how to style a large space so take a moment to relax, and remember that choosing how to decorate your wedding venue should be fun. This is your chance to choose a look that reflects your taste and personality. A good events team will help you design your day, so ask them to show you examples of previous weddings to help you visualise how the venue can be transformed.
I suggest you start by designating areas for the three key parts of your day: the drinks reception, the wedding breakfast and the dancefloor. Then choose a colour scheme; this will help bring your wedding to life and distinctive colours can help make impact in a large venue. Next, think about lighting as this can make a huge difference. Uplighters can create a sense of drama and help change the atmosphere as the celebration moves from day to night. Last but not least, accessories are important. Flowers, trees, pompoms and oversized helium balloons can all be used to great effect.
As a final tip, don't feel that you need to fill the venue. Simplicity is key to successful styling, so choose a colour scheme and repeat, focusing a few ideas. Embrace your venue's elegance and enjoy your graceful wedding day.
Q. Our venue has several recommended catering companies, but I've also met a few at wedding fairs that I really like and I'm not sure what to do. Should I go for one the venue endorses or not?
A. Sarah Hammond says: There's usually a very good reason a venue has a preferred list of caterers. This could be for safety as a caterer that works there regularly will know how it works and its food hygiene, health and safety, public liability and insurance certificates will all have been checked and be up to date.
I suggest you meet a selection of the listed companies and opt for a sample meal or two, as this will help you decide what each one is like and how its staff approach potential clients. Explore the table layout, crockery, cutlery, glassware and linen and check you're happy with this as well as the food itself.
If you decide you don't want to work with the recommended caterer, you should be able to negotiate bringing in your own, but do be prepared to pay a surcharge.
Q. We're on a tight budget and have to compromise on something. Should we cut our guest list – which we really don't want to do – or look for a cheaper venue? Any advice would be greatly received.
A. Marina Ionina says: Having a tight budget doesn't mean you can't have an amazing wedding. However, the venue and the number of guests you invite will affect your costs the most. On average, venue costs will eat around 60 to 70 per cent of your budget – this includes hire fees, food and drinks. So for a £20,000 wedding, that means £12,000 to £14,000 will be spent on your venue costs alone.
I always suggest that you never visit a venue before you really understand how much it will cost to have your wedding there, much like house-hunting, you don't want to fall in love with a place you can't afford.
Once you know the full costs and have worked out the price per head, then you can play around with the figures depending on how many people you want to invite. For example, 50 guests at £120 per head will be £7,500 and 100 guests at £150 per head will be £15,000 and so on. If £15,000 is too steep for your budget then you have two choices, reduce your numbers or choose another venue. Don't despair, there will be somewhere that suits.
The most economical option is a dry-hire venue. It may take more time to plan and organise the day, as you'll have more suppliers to hire and may need to decorate more, but if you love to create things it gives you the opportunity to design and style your own wedding from scratch.
Once you've booked your venue, then it's time to think about what's most important to you and your fiancé by identifying your priorities in different areas; is it the flowers, stationery, entertainment, music or transport? Split the remaining 30 to 40 per cent of your budget on all other areas.
Q. We've booked appointments to look round several venues. What kind of questions should we be asking the wedding coordinators when we get there?
A. Margaux Harris says: Planning a wedding can be a daunting task, but having a set of sensible questions to ask staff at potential venues can help make your decisions easier. Examples include: If the catering is in-house, to what extent can the menus be adapted to our personal tastes? Does the venue offer any added value? Does it have a ceremony licence? Does the venue provide a complimentary menu tasting? Other questions should include, but are not limited to, the following:
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