Right Place, Wrong Time has written into our Problem Pal advice column with a problem that will sound familiar to anyone who’s looking for their perfect wedding venue.
My fiance and I have been looking for a venue for our wedding all year. It feels like we haven’t had a weekend where we’ve done anything but drive out to stately homes or talk to hotels about packages, but none of them have been right. We can’t imagine having the wedding we want at any of them.
Until…! Last week, we finally found the perfect venue! It’s exactly what we’ve been looking for – and it’s even in our budget! The problem is, when we asked them about dates, they said they didn’t have any more until the end of next year – and they didn’t have any spring dates for the next two years?!
I want to cry. I don’t want to look for another venue but I don’t want to put my wedding off for years either. What should I do?
You need to ask yourself: what’s more important to you, the venue or the timing?
This isn’t a trick question. There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s down to you and your partner and your priorities.
Work out your priorities as a couple
I’ve spoken to some couples, like Sammi and Simon, who felt the venue was one of the most important parts of their day. When they put down the deposit, they hadn’t entirely worked out their whole budget and what kind of wedding they’d be having, but they decided it was more important to them to be in an incredible venue they both loved, where neither of them were compromising on their ideas for the day, even if they could only afford to host their immediate family there.
The venue wasn’t a backdrop to them, it was a part of the day.
And I’ve also spoken to couples like Lucy and John, who cared far more about having their wedding on a bank holiday, so everyone they loved could make it, than where they got married. They found two incredible venues, but I’m confident there would have been just as many smiles and happy faces in a sports hall or a back garden. For them, the day was about celebration.
And that was right for each of those couples.
Remember: there’s no one single perfect day
On a personal note, I think we can put a lot of stress and emphasis on the idea of a perfect day in the wedding industry. (I’m not immune from it myself!) But that doesn’t mean there is one exact version of your wedding that’s perfect and nothing else is going to be good enough.
Your day will be perfect whatever happens. Your day will be perfect if you get married in a bin liner. Because you’re marrying the person you love. You’re celebrating this incredible person and this incredible relationship you have with everyone you care most about. And cake. It doesn’t get more perfect than that, no matter what you do, what you wear, or where you are.
I got married in a converted railway arch in London. It was all exposed brick, so I chose four bright wedding colours to stand out against the walls and bring some pops of colour into the day, that then lent itself into a broader theme of fun and games, which informed the decor and our decisions.
It was perfect. And it wasn’t anything like I’d imagined my wedding would be. It wasn’t my first choice of venue. It wasn’t my first choice of colour scheme. I didn’t wear my first choice of dress. But it was still perfect.
And it would have been perfect if I’d gotten married in a fancy London club, a country manor, a restaurant, or Disneyland.
I would have loved any of those weddings. (And I looked into them all!) And the day would have still felt right and still felt like me in any of them. People are multi-faceted. There’s not a single type of wedding that’s the only type you’ll ever be happy with. You could love a more rustic, shabby chic style, with all your friends in a converted barn, and a more formal, elegant style in a fancy hotel. Either could make you happy – and you’re not going to regret choosing one over the other.
Take advantage of the time
If the venue you’ve found is the perfect venue for the wedding you want to have – if you can see how it will tie your other ideas together and how the decorations and catering will work, and you can’t imagine anything else exciting you this much, or going anywhere else for photos – get the venue. It’s not unusual to have a longer engagement – especially if you’re already living together.
Take the opportunity to save a little more and to spread out more of your wedding planning. (Though, saving might be the main goal – there are a lot of things you can’t do more than 12 months in advance, like book a registrar or reserve hotel rooms!)
Or use the chance to shake things up
If the idea of waiting two or three (…or more!) years to have your wedding makes you feel miserable – don’t. Yes, this venue is great. But you’ll find other great venues.
Keep looking – and maybe look at venues you hadn’t considered. Country houses can work for an elegant, formal wedding as much as a rustic one. Restaurants and bars can often be rented out in their entirety, and work well for a relaxed day or a formal sit-down reception.
It might also be a good plan to chat to a wedding planner, who will have a lot of ideas, as well as contacts and favours that can be called in, to find another perfect venue. Wedding planners are more affordable than you think they are – and steal your partner far less than Jennifer Lopez may have led you to believe.
They often have packages, where they can do a specific part of your planning rather than the whole thing. And a situation like this, where you’re struggling to find a venue that can accommodate your timeline, is the exact thing an expert can resolve for you.
Talk to your partner
To answer your question, ‘What should I do?’ There’s only one thing you should do: sit down with your partner. Talk. And work out what both your priorities are, and what makes sense for you as a couple.
There’s no wrong answer – as long as you’re both fully onboard.
Do you have any wedding worries you’d like some advice and perspective on? Leave a comment below or email us at email@example.com for actionable, anonymous advice on your wedding planning.
Until next time, pals!
Your Problem Pal,
Photo by RawPixel.