Expert advice about venues

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your London Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to


Finding the perfect setting

Finding the perfect setting

Q. What questions should I ask a venue before booking?

A. Kate Southall says: - Check if the venue offers exclusive use so that you're not disappointed on the day.

- Ask if the venue has an event manager to run your wedding. If not, this is something to arrange yourself as it's crucial to the flow and timings of the day.

- If you're planning a summer wedding, always check what the back-up plan is if the weather is bad.

- Ask what the minimum and maximum number of guests are. Guest lists can change over time and you may wish to add a few more people on.

Kate Southall,Morden Hall


Your ideal setting

Your ideal setting

Q. What questions should I ask before booking my wedding venue?

A. Megan Taylor says: The first question I would ask is what hire options are available, so you can find out how the venue can work best for you. Venues often offer a whole range of options, for example, we can host all-day weddings on Saturdays or you could opt for a weekday evening.

Next up, find out about the suppliers your venue works with. Venues trade on reputation and word-of-mouth, so tend to only work with suppliers that they trust. This means you get the benefit of pre-vetted companies so you can spend less time researching.

A great final question to ask, especially if your venue is outdoors, is if you can get legally married at the venue as well as holding your reception there. A lot of people don't realise that you can't get married outside. At Chelsea Physic Garden, you can be legally wed in our gallery space and enjoy a humanist ceremony al fresco, before beginning your unforgettable party. With all your guests in one place, you can have more time together to enjoy your special day.

Megan Taylor,Chelsea Physic Garden


Future proofing

Future proofing

Q. Our wedding is booked for summer, 2021 and, given the current situation, I want to support my chosen venues and suppliers in the interim. What can I do to help?

A. Tess Hillier says: How kind of you to think about your suppliers. Indeed, we could all benefit from supporting each other at the moment. Here are some ideas:

- Social media shoutouts are always so lovely and help us promote our venues. We adore being tagged in your photos on Instagram and also love seeing inspiration photos of what you are planning for your day.

- For any new clients, it helps enormously when they're flexible with dates. We try to accommodate everyone but, if you're flexible on dates, you'll have a lot more to choose from.

- Share your suppliers with the community. We love seeing and meeting new people and always love working with new suppliers in our venues. Everyone brings something different to the table.

- Share well-being tips with other brides – we're all in this together so it's important to reach out and look after each other too!

- Write a review or send a positive message. You could share how we've done so far; we really appreciate the support and kind words go a really, really long way, especially at a time like this.

Tess Hillier,Enable Leisure and Culture


Don't rain on my parade

Don't rain on my parade

Q. We've booked a venue with a great garden and we'd love to make the most of it. However, we're aware that we may have to change our plans at the last minute in case of wet weather and would need a contingency plan in place. What should we be considering?

A. Zohrah Day says: One of the first things to consider when planning an outdoor wedding is your venue. Normally, the venue does have a wet weather option in place. However, this may come at an extra cost and, if this is the case, you or your wedding planner will need to negotiate with the venue to bring the price in line with your budget or as close to it as possible. If your budget doesn't allow the extra cost to hire the additional space to accommodate your guests, there are very good alternatives. After all, you may be lucky and not need the space. It certainly is worth considering the following:

- A patio large enough to accommodate your guests that has plenty of cover.
- Use of an area such as the public bar in the event of bad weather.
- Option of marquee.
- Having plenty of umbrellas available.
- An exclusive venue that has a wet weather option included in the cost.

As for your other suppliers, while they will be well prepared in the event of bad weather for outdoor weddings and have a backup plan in place, it's always worthwhile discussing your concerns with them.

Zohrah Day


Book it!

Book it!

Q. We think we've found the one – what should we check before we sign on the dotted line?

A. Nicky Pratt says: Once you've found a place that ticks all the boxes, your head needs to take over. You must check that everything you need is factored in and that, logistically, the space is going to work for you and your guests.

A few core considerations might be things such as access and finish times at the venue; you can always ask the events team for advice on timings for the big day.

Furthermore, it's crucial to have your finances in order. Make sure you've budgeted in costs for each core element of the big day and have an idea of the total cost to avoid any unpleasant surprises down the line.

Coupled with this, clarify the invoicing terms of your big-day space, so you can make payments on time.

Nicky Pratt


I do, I do, I do

I do, I do, I do

Q. We're poised to book our venue and ceremony – can you talk us through the process?

A. Steven Lord says: Congratulations on your engagement! You're free to get married anywhere in England or Wales that is licensed for civil marriage and civil partnership ceremonies. These include local register offices and approved venues. Each registration district sets its own fees for civil ceremonies. If you're having your legal ceremony in an approved venue, you will need to contact the district where the marriage is taking place to confirm that registration officers will be available on your chosen day and time. An additional fee will be required for this.

Before your marriage or civil partnership can go ahead, it's a legal requirement to give notice before your ceremony. You must do this, at the latest, 29 days before the ceremony date (71 days before, if either of you is a non-EEA national). This must be done in either your local or designated register office. It costs £35 per person to give notice and must be done in person. Further fees may be required dependent on your immigration status. Once these legalities are completed, you're then free to plan the finer details of your ceremony day. Try to stay calm and enjoy every minute, it goes so fast!

Steven Lord


Doing your research

Doing your research

Q. How can we narrow down our venue search?

A. Rachel Bellon says: Choosing a venue can be an overwhelming task. There are a huge number of options out there, from rural rustic barns to grand city halls, and it's hard to know where to start. With such choice on offer, before visiting venues it's a good idea to know what your priorities are for your big day, whether that be show-stopping food or creating the ultimate party atmosphere.

Working out your budget is a key element of the decision making, and having an idea of your guest list early on is invaluable, as this means you can narrow down the list of venues by capacity as well as location. Ask each venue about hire costs before you arrange a tour so your shortlist contains affordable options only. Have a think about what style of wedding you want and let this lead you, although don't be afraid to visit somewhere different too – you may be surprised when you see it in person.

Rachel Bellon

When it's time for you look for local businesses to help you with your wedding, take a look at our advertisements below. Most will have links to their own websites. These advertisements are updated regularly so please revisit often and mention Your London Wedding when making any enquiries.

Outdoor 365 Group
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
Jacqueline Kennedy
Ognisko Restaurant