Back in November last year I started to look at venues with my Maid of Honour. In the month since getting engaged I had narrowed down the venues I wanted to look at to just 3 purely from internet research, emails and telephone calls.
When you’re looking at venues you don’t have to traipse around multiple places to figure out if you like them and if the costs will fit into your budget. Sometimes it can be obvious if a venue is going to be out of your budget or if the setting won’t suit your couple style!
I emailed and phoned a few venues to see if they would discuss pricing with me; the ones that wouldn’t were instantly crossed off the list. Once I’d figured out I liked the venue enough to view it I arranged appointments on weekday evenings.
The first venue my MOH and I looked at was Pitt Hall Barn and was rather quickly scrubbed from the list due to the cost of hiring the barn being a couple of grand by itself! The other disadvantages were no accommodation or any accommodation near by. Accommodation is very iportant to my H2B and I due to our family being spread far and wide.
The second venue we went to see was Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa which really impressed the both of
us. The wedding co-coordinator at Donnington was unbelievably helpful and so personable I knew I’d feel happy discussing my plans with her as time went on. With a semi-rural location and plenty of affordable rooms for family and friends it really was a winner.
The third and final venue we viewed was Elcott Park Hotel. For about 10 years I have regularly driven past the sign for Elcott Park Hotel dreaming of getting married there. The key selling points for Elcott Park is the rural location and the neutral decor throughout meaning any colour theme you choose would work well in every room.
After discussing numbers however, Elcott Park came up a few thousand pound more expensive than Donnington Valley and the overall feel I got from the venue and the staff at Donnington was more welcoming. So Donnington Valley was my number 1 choice.
Now to see if the H2B agrees with me. EEK!
Funnily, my work Christmas party a few months beforehand was at Donning Valley Hotel & Spa, so he had seen the venue before, but I wanted him to view it again with sober eyes. There was a wedding fair on the day I took the H2B, which was actually beneficial as it helped us see how the ceremony and receptions rooms could be laid out and we had a brilliant sit down chat with the wedding coordinator who helped us to realise our vision and budget.
The H2B said yes, so we provisionally booked in our date and agreed to pay the deposit in two payments.
April 2015 – 50% of deposit paid
August 2015 – 50% of deposit paid
No more payments until April 2016
Wedding Date = Saturday 8th October 2016
I’ve got to be honest, finding a photographer scared the hell out of me. Even now that we’ve found and booked our photographer I’m still scared. We all know only too well that the photos are the only lasting thing from your wedding that you will have, which makes the search so daunting. Each photographer has their own style and so many styles are wonderful! Narrowing down a search is just so dam hard!
I registered on Trusted Local and continued to search for photographers during Twitter wedding chat hours. Once I had received a few responses through Trusted Local and had favourited a few people found during Twitter wedding chats the H2B and I sat down one Saturday and looked through each one. Without any input from me as to whom I liked best the H2B chose the same photographer that would have been my first choice. A phone call later and we had booked Natalie Moore!
One of things that scared me most about wedding planning had been ticked off the list! oh my goodness I could have fallen over with relief once the deposit was paid.
I always had the vision that there won’t be any flowers anywhere on my big day. Alternatives to flowers are so much more ME. Back in 2012 I made a bouquet, two wrist corsages and 5 button holes using woolen pompoms. My vision was to bring Autumn into the non-floral pieces (hehe, see what I did there? ;-P ) with the use of pine cones or acorns. I really wasn’t sure how to search for someone to create the pieces for me so was pleasantly surprised when Hazel Walshaw contacted me following a Twitter chat hour. Discussing my ideas with Hazel for the Bridal bouquet, Bridesmaids wrist corsages and the 5 button holes was so easy (Pinterest definitely helped give vision to my ideas!). Hazel is such an expert in the wedding industry I am overjoyed to have her making my alternative accessories.
I’m going to be looking at dresses very soon and can not wait to report back to you on how my first shopping trips go.