Finding a Venue – Wedding Diary #1

January 29, 2020

Having been at Sternberg Clarke for just under five years, I am well aware that the most important part of any event or wedding is the entertainment. That being said, when it comes to planning for a wedding it can all be a bit much to understand where to start so when I got engaged in late September 2019, I thought it might be an idea to do a wedding diary once we had booked a few things. With this in mind, here is that very first post, which focuses on finding a wedding venue!

What is planning a wedding really like? 

As we all know (or think we know), finding a venue is what it’s all about when it comes to wedding planning. In order to book a venue, you need to have a date in mind. You also need to know where you want to have your wedding. And what your budget is. Three or four things that didn’t even occur to me when I proposed in late September. She said yes! Hooray! But what next? In my head I imagined a few weeks of simply basking in the glory of being engaged but no...

As it turns out, ‘next’ started just an hour after our engagement when the Maid of Honour was duly informed and a laptop and spreadsheet were quickly set up. Facebook groups were joined, Pinterest boards were created and wedding dresses were eagerly sought. As this was going on, I sat back in a complete daze, for some reason forgetting that getting engaged means there’s a wedding to organise! Before looking for venues, we had to agree on a date.

Making a venue shortlist 

There are a host of wedding websites out there. Some deal with planning, others deal with blogs and venues and ideas and all sorts of different things. What there isn’t, seemingly, is a collective database that tells you the price of each venue in a simple to understand way. Many wedding venues require you to email them in order to find out the prices which seems rather backwards (and towards the end of our venue search, we simply avoided those that used this tactic). The best that we could find were those that showcased a calendar of whether they were booked on our preferred date or not. In addition to this, they also had prices! What a joy!

Visiting the venues 

Once we had scoured for numerous venues and come up with what we considered to be an okay budget – and if you are going traditional, every venue will be more expensive than you imagine and your budget will quickly rise accordingly – we highlighted a few venues that we thought appealed. Liking the rustic, barn-style weddings and wishing for our venue to be an hour or so from London by train, we henceforth spent a small fortune on the British railways and went on a tour of venues in Leicester (gorgeous but a tad over budget) and a converted farmyard barn a 45-minute taxi ride from that first venue (lovely but a bit too ‘blank canvas’). Ideally we were looking for somewhere that compared to Cissbury Barns in Findon (a stunning wedding venue) but since friends had married there recently, we felt that we couldn’t go for that either.

Finding the venue 

And then we found it! A venue we had initially discarded as a bit too far from London despite loving its look. After consulting the train timetable, it was actually only just over an hour away from the capital and we decided to do a flying visit. After less than an hour we had made up our minds that this was the venue for us. With food and drink included, we felt that it was also excellent value and the perfect setting for our wedding – No. 1 Abbey Row at The Old Barn Hotel in Malmesbury. Yes, it wasn’t the barn wedding we had initially envisaged but we adored the surroundings and the history.

Which day? 

But which day? Saturday and Sunday are key wedding days and considering we were looking at August, it was surprising that the venue was available for those days! That being said, a midweek wedding is far cheaper and considering the numbered of retired guests we would be inviting, as well as friends from abroad (who if they attended would be on holiday regardless), teachers and those who after a quick consultation were more than happy to use flexi-time to attend (or take a holiday… I still feel guilty!), we finally opted for a Monday wedding, signed the contract and paid the deposit a couple of days later.

What next? 

The date was set. The venue was sorted. And all before Christmas too! A cursory look at the calendar revealed that there was still much, much more to do. Next up – everything else! But where to start? After finalising a date we realised that our next plan would be to book a photographer and perhaps a videographer! Tune in to our next blog to see how we got on.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash 


Planning an event? Get in touch 

Here at Sternberg Clarke we know how to handle a challenge and we stop at nothing to ensure your event is a night – or day – to remember. Check out our create page and learn more about how we can customise your entertainment to match your needs.

Thinking about booking one of our many talented music acts? Visit our contact page and send us a message.

Holding an event outside London?

Our sister company, Trevor George Entertainment, cater to any and all events and weddings outside London. You can find their website here.

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By Henry Fosdike