Expert advice about venues

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Kent Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yourkent.wedding

 

Fun in the sun

Fun in the sun

Q. We're keen to have our wedding at a fixed venue but would like to spend as much time in the open air as possible. What can you recommend?

A. Leah Moulange says: On your venue hunt, you'll be looking for a location with as much outdoor space as possible. For example, here at The Spa Hotel, we're surrounded by 14 acres of beautifully manicured gardens, and you can say “I do” at the stunning Spa Temple.

You can make the most of the great outdoors in a number of ways. Enjoy your drinks reception and canapés on the outdoor terrace, mingle with your guests in the sunshine and even enjoy live music, dancing and lawn games. All this before having those all-important photos taken in front of some stunning backdrops around the gardens. There's also the option to serve your evening catering al fresco, at The Spa, we offer an outdoor pizza oven.

It's easy to see why you're looking to spend time outdoors, as the Kent countryside offers a spectacular setting. And with your venue's wedding coordinators on hand to make sure everything is running smoothly, you won't have a thing to worry about. What's more, you'll have somewhere to retreat to if the weather takes a turn for the worst.

Leah Moulange
www.spahotel.co.uk

 

Come rain or shine

Come rain or shine

Q. We'd really love to get married outside, but what if it rains?

A. Claire Weedon says: - Think about your ceremony and reception locations: Rain doesn't need to dampen your day. When choosing your venue, it's always wise to consider the options available to you in all weathers. What facilities are available for you and your guests, such as covered seats?

- Planning: Consider your ceremony décor. Can this be used for both your exterior and interior ceremony? Is it weather proof in the event of a short shower prior to the ceremony? Is your venue happy to set up both the internal and exterior ceremony if the weather still looks uncertain? Also, are they happy to move any additional décor at the last moment if a decision is made to go indoors?

- On the day: Check the weather apps. The weather will often change and heavy rain in the morning usually clears away all the clouds for a lovely bright afternoon so don't panic if the rain seems to have set in. It's worth having a collection of large umbrellas just in case and maybe invest in your own wedding umbrella in the event of rainy photos – you may need to bring some extra shoes that you are happy to get wet.

Finally, be brave and embrace the weather, many magical moments have come from rainy days and your guests will be having a great day rain or shine.

Claire Weedon
www.theoldkentbarnweddings.co.uk

 

Goodnight sweetheart

Goodnight sweetheart

Q. What happens at the end of the night?

A. Pippa Binham says: No one likes to think about their wedding day being over. However, that can mean that many couples forget to ask their venue about the practicalities of what will happen at the end of the night, leading to a whole host of other important questions: Is there on-site accommodation; are there hotels nearby; does the venue allow cars to stay overnight; can details of taxis be provided; is there a recommended minibus service? At Solton Manor, we have all of these bases covered!

Checking on all of these details ensures that when you have enjoyed your most special of days, it finishes in the right way too. So when choosing a venue, always remember to think about the end of the night – your guests will thank you for it, and you can relax knowing everyone will get home safe.

Pippa Binham
www.soltonmanor.com

 

No place like home

No place like home

Q. Can we have our wedding at home or in the garden?

A. Karina O’Donnell says: At the moment, the law requires couples to legally wed in places officially licensed for marriage. However, if you're happy to consider separating the legal marriage registration from a celebratory wedding ceremony, then you'll have the opportunity to marry anywhere. And I mean absolutely anywhere!

You can make your vows to each other in areas of your chosen venue less commonly used by other couples, perhaps by a lake or in an area of woodland or, of course, at home.

The legal marriage registration currently costs £46 in Kent and is held in a register office, usually Monday to Friday. You can attend this basic ceremony the day, week or even years before your wedding or blessing ceremony, which would be created and presented by an independent celebrant.

It's not necessary to exchange rings or say vows, as these can be saved for the big day then you celebrate with your family and friends. By separating the legal from the celebratory ceremony elements, you have the freedom not only to choose where you hold your nuptials but also to pick the content and wording to reflect your personality and style.

Karina O’Donnell
www.celebrant-uk.co.uk

 

The great outdoors

The great outdoors

Q. How can I avoid disaster

A. Natasha Wadhams says: If you're planning an outdoor wedding, pitfalls can be plentiful. Tudor Park Marriot Hotel & Country Club in Bearsted is home to a fairytale gazebo for al fresco ceremonies all year round, so our experienced wedding planners know exactly what to look out for. Here are our top tips to ensure everything goes without a hitch.

- Avoid stiletto heels as these have a tendency to sink into the lawn. Advise your bridal party to do the same.

- Check that the outdoor venue is accessible to guests of all ages and abilities. If there's a short walk from the car park to the ceremony venue, build that time into the invite. Ensure there's disabled access or transport for guests to various spots chosen for photos.

- If you or your partner are hayfever sufferers, make sure you have a trusted remedy to hand. Pollen counts are highest early morning; late afternoon and evening so try timing the official ceremony for early afternoon.

- If children are invited to the wedding; check the outdoor environment is child friendly. Notify parents if the venue has a pond and ask the organisers to ensure appropriate signage to highlight any potential hazards.

- When carrying out pre-wedding venue visits, think about natural backdrops for your photos. Ask the organiser about the types of plants that are likely to be in bloom at the time of your wedding and choose your backdrop accordingly.

Natasha Wadhams
www.marriottweddings.co.uk/tudorpark

 

Don't rain on our parade

Don't rain on our parade

Q. My fiancé and I have just started looking for our dream wedding venue, and we'd like to get married outside. What should we keep in mind before booking?

A. Fleur Record-Smith says: Congratulations on your recent engagement! Here are my top tips on how to choose the perfect venue:

- Make sure it has a path or hard flooring. The last thing you want is to feel like you're sinking in the grass as you walk down the aisle.

- Your venue should be exclusive so that only your nearest and dearest will share your special moment.

- Ideally, the ceremony area will face the gardens, enabling all of your guests to take in the beautiful surroundings as you say 'I do' .

- The venue needs to offer outdoor music facilities so that your harpist or string quartet can play under cover if the weather takes a turn for the worst.

- Try to personalise the space by working with recommended suppliers to add flowers and drapes.

- If you encounter inclement weather, then the venue should be able to offer some outdoor lighting to brighten up the space.

- From April 2018, we have launched a new wedding space called the Orangery. It's a beautiful freestanding glass house that's perfect for all seasons.

Fleur Record-Smith
www.haynehouse.co.uk

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