You’re engaged! You’ve spent your weekends trawling around local venues trying to find something that feels like you.
You don’t want a sprawling country house and you’re not too keen on the price ticket of a castle. A hotel doesn’t feel personal, an event space is too corporate. All of your friends got married in a barn and you’re not confident enough in the Great British weather to take that leap and opt for an outside wedding.
Maybe one of these might fit the bill at a bit of a stretch but when budget is a consideration and this is your perfect day you want it to be right. So why compromise?
How … last century! But is there actually anything wrong with that?!
In the past it was the norm for a wedding to take place in a church, registry office or another licensed location and the happy couple to be waved off by their nearest and dearest en route to the local village hall.
Back then village halls were sometimes a bit musty, often drab and had the odd Crayola lurking behind the questionable curtain and a Brownie Guide bobble hat in the lost property bin.
A blank canvas for you to transform, without breaking the bank!
Fast forward 30 years and most village halls are in great shape; providing super facilities for their local communities; freshly decorated and best of all don’t break the bank for a weekend hire.
This is what you’re looking for! A blank canvas that you can arrange to be decorated, choose the food you love, arrange a bar, entertainment and DJ.
First steps …
Work out where you’re going to have your wedding ceremony. Village halls aren’t usually licensed for ceremonies – some are but these are in the minority. With this in mind you’ll need to consider that the village hall will be for your wedding reception and arrange your ceremony elsewhere.
A church or a registry office are the obvious choices, but some traditional wedding venues also offer a ceremony only service.
Another option is to have your legal marriage quietly in a registry office in the week and then arrange for a celebrant to conduct a very personal ceremony in the village hall on your wedding day.
Next steps …
Google Maps is your friend! Find out which village halls are in the area that you’d like to get married or within easy travelling distance of registry office or church. Most halls have a website with gallery images of the areas that you can use, some even have outside space that can be hired as well as the hall itself.
Don’t let an empty, stark hall put you off. This is a large area that’s utilised for all sorts of clubs and committees, it’s first purpose is not for weddings but the space will be easily transformed to your theme. Just think of those Insta opportunities for before and after shots!
Check out the cost. It will be useful if the hall will give you a 48-hour hire spread across:
• the afternoon/evening of day 1 for set up and styling.
• the whole day of day 2 – The day we’ve all been waiting for!
• the morning of day 3 for clearing up and breaking down – who wants to sweep floors on their wedding night?!
Ask all of the questions!
No question is silly – you need to think outside of the box.
Who will supply the toilets with toilet roll and other necessities?
Will the hall provide the cleaning equipment to restore everything back to its original state on the morning after or do you need to have your mop at the ready?
Are there any restrictions on what can be attached to walls and ceilings?
You’ll need to know what time the music has to be off …
When you need to leave in the evening …
Who will be your ’go to’ person on the day in case of any problems.
The list goes on, so many more than the examples here, but once you’ve drilled down on all of the little details you’ll be ready to book. That’s when it gets exciting!
Moving forward …
Once you’ve decided on your village hall and got your ceremony booked with your local authority focus on the main wedding suppliers you’ll need to pull your big day together.
Pick suppliers who you personally like. If a supplier can make you smile, put you at ease and you just feel that ‘click’ then get them booked right away!
Anyone who will spend time with you on the biggest day of your life needs to be someone who feels like ‘you.’
You might feel that you don’t want to release any control of this great project to anyone else – think carefully about this. Every venue has a wedding coordinator and if you don’t feel 100% sure that you can enjoy the day AND orchestrate everything; ensuring that everything runs smoothly, then invest in a wedding coordinator to take away the stress. Find someone who you feel comfy enough to WhatsApp on a Sunday morning. Work together with your coordinator and keep involved.
• Venue stylists
An experienced venue stylist will be able to cast an eye over the hall and work with you to understand your vision … and then make it happen for your end result.
Because you’ve saved on the cost of your venue you might like to use a little extra on floristry – some statement pieces to pretty up the entrance areas, an arch or a beautiful garland for your top table. Your florist should work with your venue stylist to ensure that the colours run seamlessly throughout.
Take this opportunity to have the food you both love on your wedding day. There are countless options. If the hall has an outside area you might consider a hog roast. What about a vintage afternoon tea, tapas or meze or harness the village hall vibe and opt for a good old fashioned buffet?
The hall might have its own licensed bar but if it doesn’t you’ll need to bring this in. Check out the regulations and ensure that your bar supplier meets these.
If the hall has neighbours it’s important that your entertainment understands the volume levels at which they are allowed to play. Paying out less for the venue could mean that you have enough in the kitty for a DJ and a band … what about a magician to wow your guests or a caricaturist for some more lasting memories.
Last on our list but super important to your big day. Your photographer might want to visit the village hall before your wedding to understand the lighting and the angles. It’s great if your photographer can work with your venue stylist to ensure that the lighting, props and décor will all come together to provide the perfect backdrop to your wedding photography.
Enjoying the planning …
Once you’ve got the village hall and your main suppliers booked in you can start thinking hard about how you want your wedding to look, sound and … taste.
Your suppliers will help you with this and wedding teamwork will make your dream work!
If you can find a team who have already collaborated, or a coordinator who can recommend such a team, then you’ve got the recipe for a fantastic wedding day.
Don’t get overwhelmed …
Planning a wedding should be fun and not stressful. At Diamond Circle Weddings, wedding coordinators and venue stylists throughout the South-East; London and the Home Counties we pride ourselves on the support that we give our couples and the lasting relationships we build.