We started this blog to share an awful lot of things that aren’t conveyed in selfies and couple pictures, and to share our passions, our journeys and all the extra things in between. Part of our journey is the one down the aisle, and we are currently planning our big day, but we’ve actually found very little in the way of help on how to buck tradition with a non-traditional marriage. We say “non-traditional” in the sense of the long established, religious based idea of marriage and the practices that they have. We’re still working out some of those little pieces, but we thought we may as well start our wedding tale somewhere, so why not with the very start.
By “the very start” we don’t mean the engagement, but we mean picking dates, venues and all that jazz. Whichever way round you do it, there’s two very important parts you need to lock down in your own head: the type of venue you want to be married in, and the date you want to do it.
Dates can be tricky and take time to really pin down. We began by mapping down every family birthday that could potentially get in the way. Once we had those down, we mapped down anniversaries of marriages and deaths. You’ll be surprised sometimes, just how many dates get blocked out in this way. When you’ve got all of those mapped out, you can opt to plan in public holidays, and then begin to think about what time of year you’d really like to get married during.
Wedding dates can have massive implications on price, and also the likelihood of being able to book your registrar. You also have to hope your venue is free. When we were deciding venues, we drew up a list, that had basic package prices on there, but our list also included a “bad weather” option. That is, if the weather turns out being bad, you have an alternative indoor location to take your wedding snaps.
For us, our preferred time of year is Autumn, and it’s also out of normal wedding season (which can run from April to August most of the time). We chose a date in October, and also put two years between this decision and the big day. This was to ensure that no matter what we wanted for our day, we could 100% afford it – also a good idea in our eyes.
After we had our date, we really looked into our list of venues and what exactly was on offer, weighing out the good and bad of each until we had a shortlist. Now, whilst we said we looked at venues that also had indoor interest for images should the weather be bad (which in October it can be), we ended up deciding the best venue for us didn’t have one and that we would instead opt for umbrellas if we really needed them.
When making our list of venues we looked at the distance from the city centre as most people would be travelling locally. Anything 10 miles or below were considered, anything over 15 miles was automatically ruled out. Next was price of a package, and the things those included. That meant checking on day and evening numbers, and if nighttime entertainment would be provided or if we would have to source that. It was a requirement for that to be provided, but then it would factor into costs, so the price would have to be lower to allow for extra cost to be put elsewhere. Lastly, we checked out if they had on site or nearby accommodation for our guests. If there was no accommodation then again they were eliminated.
We worked through a list of ten venues, which 3 were eliminated on distance and one was eliminated on not having accommodation close by. Our remaining six were then ranked with price and what they offered. One venue had a high price and didn’t provide evening entertainment so they were eliminated, leaving us with 5 venues. Out of those five, we marked out our personal preferences, and gave ourselves a top three venues. One of those was eliminated because as we were making our decision, someone had a wedding at that venue and it was somewhat shambolic, so we then eliminated that based on pure reputation.
And then there were two. Out of those two we chose the one that fit with us the most and had the better aesthetic that we would like for our venue, surrounded by photo opportunities and with friendly staff.
We had our proper appointment with the venue, because we were booking so far in advanced our date was free, and then it was just a matter of making sure the registrar was also free. This is where money comes in, and you need to make sure you have that money to pay these people. We were lucky and the registrar was free, and we got to pick or own marriage time so that any other couple booking that date had to fit around us – magic.
The deposits were paid, and the deal was done – we had our venue, our registrar and our date. Now onto other things…
NB: We haven’t disclosed our wedding venue or date in this post to keep this private until our ceremony is over. Following our wedding, we will happily divulge venues and vendors in a master post.