It seems that not even a wedding is safe from the allure of celebrity. Having read about a couple whose wedding turned into an X-Factor nightmare, how can you be sure your wedding venue will be totally focused on you?

When you book a wedding venue that you won’t have exclusive use of there is always the risk of being second billing on the day.

Wasn’t expecting a double wedding?

Large hotels can offer beautiful grounds, gorgeous rooms, the promise of a first class chef and acres of landscaped gardens for your photo’s, but you really need to be sure that they can handle your wedding in a way that you are going to be totally happy with.

We often spend time checking with hotels and other large wedding venues to make sure ‘our’ bride won’t bump into ‘another’ bride during the course of the day. Because there’s nothing worse than sweeping down that beautiful ornate staircase to meet your adoring guests only to find another bride standing at the bottom……

However you just can’t beat hotels if you have large guest numbers.  They are well rehearsed at catering for over 150 people in one sitting and you often get a good choice of menu  – although you will have to be prepared to pay a premium catering cost for it. Large hotels can offer in-house planners who will be there on the day to check things are running to time (although bear in mind they won’t be organising everything – mostly just catering and set up) and they are a good resource for other recommended suppliers.

Hotels are always good as well if you happen to want a wedding last-minute. Cancellations often crop up so if you are looking to plan only six months in advance there’s often a good deal to be had (especially in quieter months).
So if you decide that a hotel is for you forward planning goes a long way to make sure your guests won’t be distracted, and the hotel remains totally about you.

Heres a few tips to help:

Firstly pick your date carefully. Make sure you choose a date when there are no World Cup matches, football semi-finals or other major sporting events – there’s nothing worse than having most of menfolk sneaking off to catch match highlights in the hotel bar. Also make sure your hotel isn’t holding its own major sporting event on that day.

Secondly, make sure any adjoining function rooms to you are either sound proof or won’t be being used on the day. Scoping out one hotel we sneaked into the back of a ceremony only to see the poor bride and groom practically shouting their vowels to each other over the cheering of a corporate awards ceremony in the room next door. Not quite the romantic setting they had hoped for and not a hotel we’d recommend in a hurry.

Thirdly, find out if they have any other weddings on the same day (or will book any others later). If a hotel has booked more than they can handle then standards ultimately begin to slip and this can result in food leaving the kitchen late, hotel staff being rushed or worse still nowhere to be found. If another wedding is happening on the same day check what time it is and what plans the hotel has to accommodate you both.

Next make plans so your guests don’t disappear off round the hotel. Think about your timings carefully and try to keep guests contained as much as possible at ‘breaks’ in the day, such as evening set up.  Try and organise with the hotel for an exclusive lounge area to give your guests a drink whilst they are waiting. This is also a great time to bring out photo booths and film sound bites to keep the guests entertained.

Finally, make sure you check out the venue at busy times as well as quieter ones and check back at regular intervals to make sure you are happy with how the plans are going and how the hotel looks. Ask around as it always pays to do your hotel homework!

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