Wedding Planning: Setting The Date & Choosing A Venue

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Karl proposed to me on Valentines Day this year on a hilltop in the beautiful village of Portmeirion. The first thing people asked us though was “have you set a date yet?”. There was only so long we could say not yet”, so this post is based on our personal experience of setting the date and choosing a venue.

So, because Karl works full time and I am at uni we decided we wanted time to plan whilst balancing university/work so decided that a date in 2018 would give us plenty of time to plan everything. We'd met in May 2013, and have been together ever since so we thought a May wedding would be perfect for us as the month means a lot. We also decided a weekend would be the best option, especially for guests who work weekdays.

The exact place we got engaged!
So, we had a month in mind. Next for the ceremony venue! We knew we wanted to get married in a Church. There were only two that interested us and our first choice was actually available; a Catholic Church whose priest worked at Karl’s high school. It’s a beautiful church, central to town and is opposite a lovely park, which will be great for photographs. We arranged a visit with the priest, talked about the ceremony options, i.e. a wedding ceremony as opposed to a nuptual mass. We provided our personal details, Karl's confirmation certificate, and were booked in for a Saturday in May 2018!

This was easier than we expected. We have to attend a one-day marriage preparation course run by the Church, with other couples, before the ceremony. Around 6-8 weeks before the ceremony, we will confirm the hymns, music and readings we have chosen. Finally we will have a rehearsal around a week before the ceremony, before the real thing! We are required to register our intention to marry with the local council 6 months prior to the ‘big day’.

Inside the Church
When it came to choosing the reception venue we had such a long list of choices that we actually made a spreadsheet to keep track of the venues and compare prices, packages etc. For each venue we visited we took along the same checklist (I'll attach it below) which made it easier to compare. We looked at loads of venues from swanky hotels and country golf clubs right through to fields and even our local zoo! We shortlisted two though, both of which were actually hotels, although I'm sure the zoo wedding would have been a fun venue! 

The first hotel was lovely, in a fairly quiet area, with very flexible wedding packages. We weren't able to see the Bridal suite as the room was occupied at the time. We would be able to have a tasting session with the chef to decide on the courses and provide the DJ with a list of songs you would like.

The second hotel had a beautiful Italian style courtyard, in a fairly central location (guests could actually walk from the church to this hotel!), we could even have a BBQ wedding breakfast if we wanted! We would have 3 rooms to choose from for the meal and evening reception. During our visit we were treated to some cute petit fours with our names spelt in chocolate on the plate which was a lovely touch. We would have a choice of two Bridal suites, either in the older part of the building or the newer part, both equally as beautiful and huge! Like the first hotel we would have a tasting session with the chef, who would replicate the dishes exactly how we tried them for the wedding day. We would also be able to provide the DJ with a list of songs.

Petit Fours
We chose the second hotel, we made our choice based on the beauty of the courtyard, the reception rooms, suite and the location. We both loved it and the wedding co-ordinator is lovely! So, we secured the date with a deposit, decided to opt for the ‘traditional’ wedding meal, and signed the contract. We will have meetings nearer the time with the wedding planner to discuss numbers, table plans, etc.

From my experience I would say the most important things when setting the date and choosing a venue are: choose a date that will mean something to both of you, set a budget, use the internet to research all the venues, visit different venues, use a spreadsheet to compare the venues, take a checklist with you (this is the one we used), consider the location of your ceremony and reception if they are in different places, see how you connect with the wedding co-ordinator.

Apologies it was such a long post but hopefully these tips and this experience helps in some way!

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17 comments

  1. I'm so excited for you! We can be on this wedding journey together. My fiance was raised Catholic, but he is now Episcopalian (which is Anglican in the UK), so we are getting married in an Episcopal church. It meets us in the middle because I grew up Protestant. I can't wait to hear more! It's great you're planning super early, to get the vendors you want. My wedding is in March, and I have been able to get everything I wanted so far (Except the room blocks for our hotel were full that weekend) because March is considered off-season here in the US.

    Hannah
    Floraful

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    1. Aw thank you and you! Yes definitely. That's great, I can't wait to hear more about your wedding too Hannah! :) x

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  2. How exciting!!! Good luck with all the planning!
    a life of a charlotte
    x

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  3. Ah how exciting for you! Isn't it annoying when you're bombarded with "have you set a date yet" the minute you're engaged? It drives me mad haha xx

    Gemma ♡ Miss Makeup Magpie

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    1. Haha yes it does! Thank you Gemma :) x

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  4. Wow! Congratulations to you dearie.

    www.tessyonyia.com

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  5. Wow! Congratulations to you dearie.

    www.tessyonyia.com

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  6. Congratulations! And good luck with the rest of the planning! x

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  7. First off, massive congratulations to you both!! It's such an exciting time in your lives, aww! :) So much fun that follows! I LOVED wedding planning and did it by myself from scratch (thankfully, hubby was on board and contributed a lot). Such great tips! Date + venue + budget kind of determine everything else. Really loved how you mentioned about choosing a meaningful date <3
    xox Nadia
    www.mielandmint.com

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    1. Aw yes! definitely hoping to do a lot of homemade things for the wedding and my fiance is onboard with that too! :) Thank you Nadia x

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  8. All of this sounds so sweet and exciting. Congratulations and good luck dear :)

    www.wildfirecharm.com

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  9. Congratulations!! So exciting Xx

    The Fashion Road.com
    Instagram @louisefrancescaa

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