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5 tips for finding the perfect wedding venue

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

We're a generous bunch here at Sunset Tipis so we're going to share with you our top tips for finding your perfect wedding venue.

1. Guest list first

Admittedly you won't know the exact numbers of guests until nearer the date but having a good grasp of numbers will aid your search. Sit down with your other half and decide on a list of definite guests and another list of additional people you would like to invite, if possible. If you're armed with knowing your minimum and maximum numbers you're going to be better prepared when evaluating your wedding venue choices. This way you won't completely fall in love with a venue, realise it's too small and then spend the next year praying your Dad gets a divorce so the step-family can't come.

2. Try out the space

By this I mean walk around it, talk around it, explore all the grounds and surrounding areas. Which direction will the sun be for the best photos? Will the wisteria still be here at that time of year? What will 100 guests look like in this space? Big spaces can be beautiful but they can swallow numbers easily, you don't want it to appear that only half your guests turned up. Equally, trying to squeeze too many people into a small space has problems of it's own. If possible ask the venue to show you photographs of events they've done with the numbers they accommodate, which should help visualise it for you.

3. Consider your guests needs

If you're not using a conventional wedding venue you'll know to organise food and drink but you'll need to consider a whole host of other elements too. Toilets, parking, heating, taxi services, lighting, flooring, PA system, waste collection, accommodation? The last one is especially prevalent if you have elderly guests or those with young children who might need a bolt-hole to escape to. The dream locale for anyone with kids is a room/tent/shed/box within monitor range.

4. Incorporate your theme

If you already have an idea for the style of wedding you want, will it work in the space? Assess whether you can achieve your look yourself or whether you will need professional help. Janie from Orange Tree Weddings has years of experience in styling wedding venues and she says the following:

"It's always nice to add your own touches to your wedding, especially if you're a creative

person! But, I would say there are huge benefits to having professional help with the majority of your wedding styling. Some of these benefits are...

We know what will make the best impact in your chosen space and therefore, which elements are worth putting time and effort into making. I once attended a wedding where the bride and bridesmaids made origami roses every night in front of the TV for about 3 months straight. The barn she got married in was so big, that as lovely as her origami installation was, it didn't really stand out or have the wow factor she dreamed of.

We already have an extensive range of props, furniture, fabrics etc. I've seen people do DIY weddings then spend hours on eBay trying to claw their money back on all the crockery, fairy lights and fishbowls they bought. Any stylist worth their price tag will be there to listen to your vision, and if you have bits you want to do yourself they will work with you to make that a reality, and make sure your styling works as a whole.

It's not as expensive as you might think. I think a lot of people assume a stylist will cost the earth or sounds like a luxury add-on. It's easy to think a year before you get married it seems like a fun idea to do everything yourself. You might be fooled into thinking I'll just borrow the neighbours cutlery, grow all my own flowers, eat enough Nutella that I'll have a 100 jars to put all the flowers in and that'll do! But do you really want to be folding napkins and running up and down ladders the day before your wedding? The money saved in doing everything yourself could cost yourself really enjoying your big day. In my opinion, the run-up to your wedding should be spent down the pub or in your PJ's with a face mask on sipping on a glass of Prosecco!"

And finally....

5. Don't settle

Don't compromise on something that won't fit your vision of how you want to celebrate. A venue may have limitations on catering restricting you from choosing your own supplier, if so, you're judging them on their food as well as the event space. Make sure they do both things really well. Ask what their criteria is for booking a really loud band. Will the bar shut at 11pm and if they will stock your favourite gin. Find out what else goes on in the venue. A large hotel can be a great choice and simultaneously provides accommodation. But it's not so great if a load of the lads start their own party in some side bar. And heaven forbid you have a venue which hosts two weddings at the same time. No. Just, no.

Hayley Jones - Sunset Tipis

Sunset Tipis pride themselves on providing beautiful events spaces for celebrations anywhere in Cornwall and Devon. Their Giant Hat Kata Tipis can be built almost anywhere providing unique wedding locations only limited by imagination. Hayley or one of the team are on hand to discuss all aspects of tipi hire and can offer suggestions for stately home, woodland, coastal and sea-view settings.

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