Thursday 17 September 2020

How to chose a Successful Wedding Venue in Covid Times

Photo by Jeremy Wong Weddings on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

We all know this year has been one of the trickiest in recent decades, never before have we had our civil liberties curtailed in quite the same way, without there being widespread war. We're not out the woods yet though, the complete lockdown might be over, but we're seeing local lockdowns across the country and the World Health Organisation are warning us that there will be many differences, such as distancing and wearing face coverings for some time to come yet, maybe even a couple of years.

Having said all that, life can still go on for most of us and we're having to adapt to our new normal. People still wish to get married, celebrate their birthday or hold a wake for a lost loved one and we can do these things, we just have to make sure we are meeting the current Government guidance. 

This week we saw the introduction of the 'Rule of 6' in England and this means that right now social gatherings that you are organising as an individual can only be for 6 people, whether they are indoors or out. The good news is that when you move a wedding celebration or funeral wake to a COVID-secure venue provider, you can increase the number to 30 and there is hope within the event industry that this number will increase in October when new announcements are made by the Government. 

It's important that we still have things to look forward to and as such, I believe you should go ahead and still plan and book your celebrations for 2021, so here are my top tips for doing so -

1.  Think about what You really Want

You might have always imagined you'd have a winter wedding in a stately home with 200 guests but now is the time to really think that through. Could it be that an intimate outside tea party in spring with just 30 guests would suit you just as well and take away most of the stress of planning something so fancy? The great thing about our current situation is it frees you to think about what would really make you happy and to drop any expectations that family or others might have.  If you want your mum to hold the speeches and ceremony, it can be good to invest in Lecterns by Luminati to make the event more special and aesthetic. Whatever it is that you desire, you can still bring it to life through decoration and emotion.

Once you have decided what you want your event to look like, you need to agree your budget, choose the season/ date, set the attendance number and decide on the location. Basically, draw up a blueprint for the event and decide how hands-on you want to be. Do you need a dedicated event planner? Would the venue event organised be enough, or would you prefer to do everything yourself? The choice is yours!

2.  Search Online for Potential Venues

Once you know what you want, use a site like Squaremeal to search for wedding venues in your preferred area and you'll turn up some amazing venues including country houses, golf clubs, listed and historic buildings and landscaped gardens.  I like Squaremeal as it now shows the hygiene rating for restaurants/ venues if they've had one awarded in the last year and for course this is super important right now to know that you will be well looked after by a venue with high standards.

Check out as much information as you can online and via the phone/ email as this is a lot easier during this time of social distancing and once you have a shortlist of 2 or 3 venues you can make an appointment to visit and be shown around.

Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

3.  Visit your Potential Venues

Don't be tempted to book just from a telephone call or from what you see online. Photos can be deceiving and if you are spending a lot of money you need to ensure that you love the venue where your wedding or other event will take place. Having a show-round will give you a good idea of how the venue is handling all the current requirements for a business to be COVID-secure. It will be important for you to ascertain how you feel as you move around the venue, does it make you feel safe and looked after?

It's also important that you like, and feel you can trust the event planner/ organiser at the venue as they will be making sure things happen in the way that you want. Find out if they will be there on your special day to ensure things happen as you hope they will.

Think about how large and well-equipped your chosen venue is, for example if a few of their staff go ill can they still cater to you and if they are organising other suppliers for you like the cake, flowers or photographer do they have a back-up fi the original supplier is unable to fulfil the order. It's so important at the moment to check out their procedures and be sure of their eventuality planning. 

4.  Check out the Venue Ts & Cs

It's always important to read the small print but especially now when things are uncertain. If the Government change the rules or there is another lockdown, what will happen to your payment? Would you get a refund or it would be moved to another day? Every business has its own terms and conditions, so make sure they are clearly explained to you. 

5.  Make sure you take Insurance

There are specific event or wedding insurance policies and normally it is a mitigated choice whether to take this or not, assuming that you won't fall ill or fall out with your potential spouse, but right now it is more important that ever to be covered, as if you or one of the key wedding party members contracts COVID and your wedding can't take place, you want to ensure that you are covered and can recover the costs. 

I hope you've found these pointers useful. There is no reason why you can't have an amazing event or wedding in the coming months, you might just need to amend your expectations a little and remain flexible.

All the best!

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