Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue

Choosing a wedding venue?  Exciting times! But also – a lot to find out about and learn! This blog will help you! Before you visit, decide on the questions to ask a wedding venue. Make a list.  This will also give a good impression!  Every wedding venue loves a couple that is well organised.  Having a list of questions to ask will go down really well! Oh – and make sure that you are happy with the answers! And that probably means that you need to be clear on which questions you are prepared to have some wiggle room on!  And maybe check out each venue’s FAQs before you start.

Your wedding will probably be the biggest party that you ever have – so you want it to be right – right?

So, here goes!

Questions to ask when visiting a wedding venue should include some of these!

How Much Does the Wedding Venue Cost?

You really need to get this answered before you book a visit to see a wedding venue.  Rule one –  know how much you have to spend.  Really – sorting out your budget must be one of the first things that you agree on.  Do you have savings ready to spend?  Will you be saving a little each month? Are your parents planning to add to the spending pot? When you know how much is (or will be ) in the pot, you can easily work out how much you have to spend on each part of your wedding.

As a general rule – you can split your wedding budget into two halves.  Expect about half to be spent on the wedding venue hire and all your food and drink.  The other half will be spent on everything else.  That includes new clothes, flowers, hiring props, a cake, stationery, jewellery, transport, a honeymoon. . . .You get the picture!

So technically, you shouldn’t be asking the ‘How much does this wedding venue cost?’ question. You should already know the answer to this and have decided that it is what you want and that it is in your budget.

At Higher Holcombe, we offer a range of prices to reflect the length of your wedding party.  Will it be for one, two or three nights? Each has a different price. You might go for a mid-week wedding.  Weekends are more in demand so they are ususally the pricier options.  You can save yourselves quite a bit of money by booking a midweek wedding.  Another way to save your cash is to choose a date in early or late summer.

What is the Wedding Venue’s Capacity?

This is actually another one that should really be crossed off the list before you approach any of the venues that make it onto your ‘must visit’ list. Read the info that each venue sends before you book a venue visit. There may be a difference between ‘day time’ and ‘additional evening’ guests.

Venue capacity may be down to room sizes, seating capacity and fire risk assessments. At Higher Holcombe, there is a little bit of wiggle room on the recommended max of 80 day time guests.  If it rains and we host your outdoor ceremony in the stretch tent – we can seat upto 80 in comfort.

Our total capacity with everyone in attendance in the evening, is 100.

Is This a Licenced Wedding Venue?

Do you want your wedding ceremony to be legally binding?  If so, your list of questions to ask a wedding venue really needs to include this one!

If you want the ceremony at your wedding to be legally recognised, the venue needs to be approved and to hold a licence. This information should also be on a venue’s website.  It will be your job to book the Registrars with the date and the time that you wish to be wed. Each district has its own fee and it’s around  £550 in Devon.

A team of two Registrars will come. Before your ceremony, both partners will be interviewed separately (to check that you are who you say you are). We usually advise that one is met in the Farmhouse, and the other in the Old Dairy.  In our experience, the Registrars from Devon County Council are just lovely! They will work with you to personalise the ceremony.  You can include readings and songs – so long as they are not religous.

Changes are afoot with the whole ‘approved venue’ thing but the law is unlikely to change in the next couple of years or so. We are all hoping for even more flexibility.

Can We Have an Outdoor Wedding Ceremony?

Having an outdoor wedding ceremony is really something very special! Not every venue has a suitably beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony space.  So this will need to be asked if your venue is a stately home, castle, a hotel or a place used for corporate events. It is possible that they might not have quite what you are looking for.

And a gorgeous outdoor wedding ceremony is what we absolutely LOVE here at Higher Holcombe! In fact, I woud say that is one of our main attractions!

We offer you our unique hill-top willow ‘cathedral’.  Yes – it’s a thing! We belive that we are the only venue in the country (and possibly the world) (yeeessss) to have created such a beautiful feature.  We planted it with three ‘chapels’ and arrange the wooden chairs in such a way to make an aisle.  Your guests can be admiring the gorgeous Devon scenery while they wait for you to arrive.

Wedding planning top tips. Two men facing each other are holding a large wooden barrel above their heads. In the mid distance is a bride and gtoom, holding hands, about to walk under the barrel. In the distance are the wedding guests seated in the willow cathedral who have just attended the marriage ceremony.

Our other totally unique outdoor wedding space is our silver birch ‘church’. Rows of white-barked birch trees have grown in straight lines and are like the stone pillars that you might get in a traditional church building. This has a rather lovely secretive and secluded feel to it.  The woodland glades all around will help you to create an amazing intimate atmosphere for your wedding ceremony.

‘What happens if it rains? I hear you ask.  No worries!  We have a specially made stretch tent that will comfortably seat 80 people.  That way, you can still be married outside but not get wet! Win-win!

What About Decorating the Wedding Venue?

Some venues (mainly the hotel or corporate types) may include flower and venue decoration as part of the deal. This may be what you want. . . If so, fire away.  There’ll certainly be less for you to think about.

However, the trend is for couples to want to make all the creative and styling choices for themselves. That’s why we’re always on Pinterest, isn’t it! It’s a wonderful chance for you to express your personalities and interests in the way that you want.  Your day – yes? Then you should have it YOUR WAY!

banquet style wedding tables with rustic tables and wooden chairs. Tables set with gold chargers and gold cutlery and candlesticks white candles and green linen napkins. background is glazed windows and a pillar decoration with flowers on top

At a ‘blank canvas’ wedding venue like Higher Holcombe, couples relish the chance to decorate the venue themselves.  This takes place the afternoon (and sometimes the evening as well) before THE BIG DAY! How long it takes will depend on how complex your plans are, how many people you have helping and whether you have involved a stylist or wedding planner.

The main top tip. . . .

Enjoy every minute! Don’t forget to take photos!

What About Food and Drink?

We can’t possible have a wedding party without these!

This is an excellent question to ask a wedding venue when you visit. Many venues will have a menu for you to choose from – sometimes with amazing dishes to wet your appetite.  Also check if they offer a menu tasting evening. That could be a delicious experience!  Sometimes there will be a charge – so check. There may also be different pricing levels if you want to select dishes with pricier ingredients. . .so check this too!

And drinks? Offering a glass of fizz after the ceremony then and wine with your meal is just the start!  Please ask about the drinks packages (if your wedding venue has a bar) and whether there is a late night limit. Many wedding venues rely on their food and drinks packages to make their money.  So check these out when you visit.

So What Is a Dry Hire Venue?

We don’t run a chef-led kitchen or have a licenced bar at Higher Holcombe.  In the trade, we are what’s known as a ‘dry hire’ venue. This means that you have more flexibility to choose the caterers (and all your favourite food) yourselves!  You will have to book your caterers – so that is an added job.  The advantages are more choices both in food styles and budget options.  You can still have a swanky top notch 3 course menu (if that is what you want).  Or you may opt for less formal sharing platters, festival-style bowl food or perhaps a picnic!  Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t love a picnic!

Bridal Place Setting Devon Wedding Venue

So – on the drinks side, you will also have a bit more to do if you book a place like Higher Holcombe. You can either invite your guests to bring their own (and stash their cool bags beneath the tables) or you can buy in the booze and your guests will help themselves.  Or perhaps hire in a bar who will have a licence and sell drinks to your guests. There are lots of cool pop up bar companies and their great trucks, bikes or vehicles will also add to the individual atmosphere!


Is there a Honeymoon Suite?

Such an old school phrase, don’t you think? I don’t know why, but I have been sucked right in on this one!  I just LOVE to see the delight on the faces of couples when they come to visit our venue and ask this question. . .

Wooden clad quirky Hobbit House

Ours is called the Hobbit House!  It is the quirkiest of places and just perfect for some romantic seclusion!

‘Nuff said!

Is There Wedding Guest Accommodation?

Where will your guests stay after your main wedding party? Is there anywhere for them to stay?

Yes, yes, yes!  Please include this when picking wedding venue questions to ask us at Higher Holcombe!  If the answer is ‘Yes’, it means that you can have an extended wedding party, a destination wedding, a weekend wedding or a mini-break wedding.

Orchard Devon Wedding Venue

This is a growing trend in weddings and we are pleased to say that we are right there!

As well as the Hobbit House Honeymoon Suite, we offer a farmhouse for 10.  This is just perfect for the main wedding party’s most important members, for getting ready in and for hosting a relaxed gathering the night before the big day.

There is also glamping for another 28 / 30.  There are two shepherds’ huts as well as 5 gorgeous Lotus Belle tents.  So a great range of accommodation options. We hope that you will all be very comfortable!

Are Pets Allowed?

If you are choosing a countryside venue with lots of space, you will probably want your dog to be there. Your fur baby is as much a part of your family as any of the humans – we know!  This is one of the good questions to ask a wedding venue as well!

Many venues won’t have the space or the facilities for your dog. We welcome well-behaved dogs and know that you will want the beasts in your life to be as happy as you are! You many want to involve your dog in your ceremony or consider a dog chaperone for when you are too busy or distracted to do the job yourselves!

Oooh – you might read some funny dogs at weddings stories here!

These are, of course, just a short selection of the possible questions to ask a wedding venue. Here’s a  blog written by the team at Hitched where they answer thirty two!