The venue was quite an easy decision to make in the end – with a fiancé who isn’t the most comfortable in social situations, it couldn’t be a fancy country manor house (as I had always dreamt), we both agreed with didn’t want a hotel and neither are religious so it had to be somewhere the whole schebang could happen. That left us with few options and once we started searching, a barn wedding seemed to tick all the boxes for us both.
We visited 3 venues in total and viewed so many more online but decided that if we just weren’t getting that feel online, then there was no point in wasting our time driving out to see.
The first venue we viewed was Chester Zoo – I know what you’re thinking but they have a manor house on the grounds. The OH went along to this viewing more to just keep me quiet but we were both pleasantly surprised with what they had to offer. It fitted in perfectly with the informal/laid back atmosphere we want for our day with afternoon tea option, a guided zoo tour after closing for all guests and then a bbq for the evening. The only thing that was a let-down was the manor house. Because it’s a listed building, there were so many restrictions on what you could/couldn’t do with regards to décor and once they said no to hanging bunting, it was a done deal for me!
The second venue was Owen House Wedding Barn in Cheshire – we drove away from this venue with a great feeling. We both agreed we could happily have our wedding there with no hesitations. It had such a great feel to the place – it’s a family run working farm with the daughters running the wedding side of things and they were just lovely. It really had that feel that we wanted – very laid back, relaxed, not staged in any way and rustic. Our only thought with this venue was the location to hotels etc as all our guests will have to stay overnight more than likely.
Our final venue to view was Sandhole Oak Barn in Cheshire and on paper, this was the one for me. It looks absolutely stunning, especially the outdoor area to it and had enough accommodation on site to pretty much take all our guests. But the OH wasn’t a fan – it was too manicured for him and once I thought about it, I tended to agree. Everything had a perfect place and most of the ‘barn’ character had seemed to be lost.
So, after some more searching online, we thought sod it, we loved our second venue viewing so decided to just go ahead and book! And there it is, the venue is sorted - well booked. We have a blank canvas that we can do with what we want!
Here's my pointers on venue viewing...
- Does it go with your theme/how you expected your wedding to look?
- Is it big enough?
- Do they have an in-house caterer you must use or do you have to hire your own?
- Are there any restrictions on decorating etc
- Will you be the only people at the venue on the day?
- Is there accommodation for guests?
- Is there a bar/licence to sell alcohol
- Cost & any extra costs