One of the first steps on the wedding planning journey is to get your venue booked. Without the venue, you can’t plan much else… so this is the first place to start and your biggest expense. Begin by narrowing your venue search down to three venues that have caught your eye. Statistics show that most couples visit three venues before making their choice, so get your venue tours booked in. At Godwick it’s easy to book your tour just click on this link to book your venue tour.

Either way, you will want to find out these things to help you make your choice.

1. Access to your venue – how long do you have to prepare the venue and make your wedding feel like your own? If you’re looking to personalise your venue, then you will require some time at the venue beforehand to do this before you get married. At Godwick our midweek and weekend wedding bookings have access to the venue from 12pm the day before until 8pm that evening to dress and prepare it, so it’s looking how you want.

2. Ceremony arrangements – where does the ceremony happen? Over three-quarters of couples now marry at their venue, so you need to know a bit about the ceremony! Where do you meet the registrar for your pre-ceremony interview? How is this organised, and how will it work in terms of your BIG entrance? In our experience, this short period before you walk down aisle can be the most stressful, but also the most exciting. A calming, well-organised, approach and space is required.

3. Music arrangements – Does the venue have a PA system for background music or your aisle music, and who will queue or play this for you at the right time? Not everyone chooses to have live music, so a decent PA System and someone to play it for you at the right time is one less headache…at Godwick our event managers look after this for you.

4. What happens after the ceremony? Where do the guests go? Where do you go? How is the room changed over if required? What happens if it is pouring with rain? You need to know there is a plan and a back-up plan to ensure this period is well-organised, so it’s not stressful for you or your guests? At Godwick we have a well-oiled changeover plan that means there is minimum inconvenience to your guests as our crew team move the chairs and clear the room.

5. Can we throw confetti? Are there restrictions on confetti types? Yes you can, but it is MUST be biodegradable. There are a few local companies to try, such as Mitre Farm.

6. What’s included with the venue? This might seem obvious, but not all venues include things like table and chairs, or even loos, and you have to hire them in separately. At Godwick we have tables and chairs to seat 120, for both inside or outside ceremonies.

7. What’s the venue’s alcohol policy? Does the venue charge corkage? If it doesn’t are there any restrictions? If it has a bar, is it run in-house? At Godwick, we are proud to be a non-corkage venue and allow couples to provide their reception drinks (spirits excluded) and table wine free of charge. In both instances, we expect your caterer to serve your drinks and to clear and store them safely away at the end of both phases. At Godwick after the wedding breakfast it is bar service only… we feel that’s a fair compromise.

8. Can you supply your catering? Some venues provide their own in-house catering, others let you have more freedom and choose your own. Given that the catering is a big part of any wedding, we provide couples with a list of nine local caterers that we highly recommend. If you want to choose your own outside this list, then you can as long as they have five-star hygiene rating and adequate public liability insurance. One thing to note if you choose a caterer outside our chosen list there is a small charge, for use of kitchen, gas and disposal of waste.

9. Are there any restrictions on music and sound? In more built-up areas, there is often a compromise on both the time the event has to finish and sound limiters to reduce the noise and disturbance to neighbours. At Godwick we are lucky to be able to play music until 12.30am, and we don’t have any sound limiters, meaning that guests can enjoy the great acoustics thanks to our barn’s incredibly high roof.

10. Is there local accommodation, and can guests leave their cars on site overnight? Nearby accommodation for yourselves and your travelling guests is often a must for many wedding parties. At Godwick it is a big part of our offering. We have classical design at the luxurious Godwick Hall, contemporary scandi-style accommodation at the Old Stables, luxurious schlamping in three ensuite shepherds huts, or off-grid luxury glamping in two stargazing bell tents. All great experiences and available for a minimum of two nights. For us a wedding is not just one day, it’s an event that you will want to savour forever, so spending time with family and friends is a crucial part of that! And yes, your guests can leave their cars overnight and collect the next day.

11. How do you get to venue if the accommodation is not within walking distance? We love the fact that Godwick Great Barn is a short walk from our accommodation at Godwick Hall. It means that you can close the doors at the end of dressing the barn the day before your wedding day and not return until you get married. That little degree of separation allows you to de-stress, relax and enjoy our wonderful accommodation to its fullest, which is really important before your big day. However, how will get to the venue when you’ve finished getting ready and are in your finest outfits. At Godwick our vintage tractor Fergie is on hand to transport the bridal party to the venue in style…our unique touch to add to your special day!