How to Navigate Wedding Open Days

Booking and attending Wedding Venue Open Days/Evenings can be potentially very stressful and confusing. Seemingly straightforward, many a blissfully unaware couple make their first visit to a venue and encounter a plethora of agendas. Mum takes an immediate dislike to aesthetics, Dad takes an immediate dislike to the price. Bride is worried about the capacity being too small, Groom is thrilled with the number limitations. You’re wondering where the harpist will go, you find the caterers unfriendly, they won’t allow a bouncy castle… it’s easy for a couple to feel very rapidly overwhelmed.

We are here to help and have written a brief and straightforward guide to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Don’t Take an Entourage

…just one or two calm and measured individuals. If you are a Bride or Groom attending an Open Day without the other, think carefully about who you would like to invite to come with you. Make sure they will remain calm, focused, measured and stay on your agenda, not veer onto their own. You may want to view your venue first, before inviting parents and extended family to join you.

Make a List Beforehand

…but a short, succinct one. Try not to list every tiny detail that is on your mind at that time. Keep it practical and narrowed to significant matters, such as ‘What time can we gain access to the venue the day before to set up?’. Other useful questions may be ‘What time is your curfew?’ and ‘Do you have any restrictions, such as no red wine?’.

Also, list which suppliers you would like to have checked out, i.e. photographers, cake makers, caterers, musicians, etc…

Be Open-minded

…try not to be too fixed to an idea that you had. Envision the possibilities and don’t assume certainties. You may have your heart set on having candles in your ceremony room, but the venue can’t allow this due to Fire and Safety regulations. Consider other options, such as fairy lights or votive lights, that may be just as effective.

Don’t immediately disregard a venue due to their capacity. It may be that you had a figure of 190 guests in mind but the venue can only hold 150. They may actually be doing you a favour in urging you to reconsider your guest list!

Make A Note of Questions

…either as you are being shown round or soon after. Perhaps ask one of your viewing partners to make notes for you.

Delegate tasks between/amongst you prior to attending your viewing, so that everyone feels involved and so that you feel you have everything covered.

Ask If You Can Take Photographs

…to act as prompts of things you saw that inspired you. Due to publicity restrictions some venues may not allow this, but if this is the case then ask your note taker to jot down what you are thinking. If, however, you are permitted to take photographs, snap details such as colours within the venue, ornaments, entrances and exits and the surrounding area outdoors.

Take Business Cards

…of ALL the suppliers you meet, including the venues coordinators. You’d be amazed how many people you will meet throughout the process of planning your wedding and how easily you will forget names.

It is worth keeping a business card holder with you at all times and adding to your collection at each Open Day you attend. Write on the business card how you met that person, for example, ‘Vanilla In All Seasons – Capesthorne Hall’.

Have a Coffee/Drinks Date

…planned immediately following your viewing so that as a group you can review your visit. Keep your observations practical to begin with and ask those you are with what they thought. This will help structure your feelings and keep you objective as well as remaining within your vision.

All featured photography is taken at Capesthorne Hall, including work by Martin Hambleton, ARJ Photography, Kath Jefferies, Tobiah Tayo, Pixies In The Cellar, Andrew Fletcher, Adam Riley, CG Weddings.