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10 things to look for in a wedding venue

New Forest wedding

10 things to look for in a wedding venue

A wedding in the UK means charming seasonal decor, rolling green hills and ease of travel for you and your wedding party. Better still, a wedding in the New Forest boasts all this and more. An enchanting National Park on your doorstep, a selection of gorgeous towns and villages and the magic of roaming animals populating your special wedding photography. 

Things to look for in a wedding venue

It can be incredibly easy to get swept up in the magical chaos of wedding venue hunting and forget some of the key considerations. Luckily, we understand how important getting all the information is, so we’ve detailed below some of the considerations when hunting for your wedding venue. 

Capacity: Ensure the venue can comfortably accommodate your guest list. Consider both the ceremony and reception space if they’re happening in the same location and ensure that there’s enough room for everyone to have a great time. Your capacity may increase for your evening guests, so this is also something to consider. 

Location: The venue should be accessible for your guests, considering its proximity to airports or train stations for guests who may be travelling. Also, think about its distance from the ceremony site if they’re in different locations. Perhaps most importantly, the venue should be somewhere that you feel is special. This location will be the site of your vows, and your evening celebrations and provide the perfect backdrop for your wedding imagery. 

Style and Aesthetics: Make sure the venue aligns with your vision and theme. Whether it’s a beach, garden, ballroom, or barn, the venue should complement the style and mood you want for your wedding. Of course, decor can change per your request, but if you want a clean, white modern wedding, a rustic barn is probably not the best choice. 

Budget: Understand all costs involved with the venue. Ask about packages, and what’s included (like chairs, tables, linens), and be clear about any additional costs or restrictions. Ask for this in writing and ensure everything is clear and transparent. 

Availability: Some venues book up years in advance, especially on weekends or during the peak of wedding season. Confirm availability on your desired date(s) before getting too far in the decision process to ensure you get your desired date. 

Catering and Alcohol Policies: Check if the venue has in-house catering or if you need to hire outside caterers. Some people may prefer to bring their own caterers, but it’s important to check this with your chosen venue. Additionally, your venue may have a list of recommended suppliersthat they work with regularly and could recommend for your big day. Also, understand their alcohol policy – whether it’s a full bar, limited selections, or if you can bring your own (and potential corkage fees), this could be a hidden charge you were not anticipating. 

Amenities and Facilities: Look for essential amenities like parking, restrooms, a wedding suite, and guest accommodations (if necessary). Accessibility for differently-abled guests is also an important consideration.

Weather Contingency Plan: For outdoor venues, ensure there’s a solid backup plan in case of bad weather. This could be an indoor space or tent that can be quickly set up.

Photographic Potential: Consider the venue’s opportunities for beautiful photos. Natural landscapes, architectural details, and good lighting are all important aspects.

Vendor Restrictions: Some venues might have a preferred vendor list or restrictions on who you can hire. Understand these rules as they could affect your choice of photographers, florists, and entertainment.

Staying at NFC

Home to some truly incredible venue spaces, the New Forest Collection includes several unique hotels, abundant in character, charming decor and a selection of gorgeous wedding venues to suit your requirements. Within the collection, you’ll find ceremony venues in the gorgeous Bartley Lodge in Bartley, Beaulieu Inn neighbouring Lyndhurst, grand and opulent Burley Manor and quaint Forest Lodge. 

Each hotel is complete with a host of fabulous facilities for you and your wedding guests, as well as incredible gardens and easy access to some of the gorgeous walking locations nearby. Not to mention helpful transport links and the beauty of the whole New Forest area.

Bartley Lodge 

Bartley Lodge showcases not only country charm but also an assortment of gorgeous rooms for you and your wedding guests. What’s more, Barley Lodge is also set within 8 acres of beautiful grounds and home to a captivating woodland driveway that creates the perfect backdrop for your big day. Bartley Lodge also offers abundant indoor and outdoor space, perfect for a memorable summer or spring wedding. Inside you’ll also find spectacular chandeliers completing the opulent atmosphere and wedding day celebrations are best held on the elegant terrace of this Grade II listed building with the sounds of wildlife in the distance and the pop of champagne close by. 

Bartley Lodge is home to a selection of grand ceremony rooms and more intimate spaces perfect for your wedding day. Host your wedding celebrations in the Crystal room, or perhaps the incredible walled gardens with a capacity of up to 70 guests. The wedding packages at Bartley Lodge include everything you could need for a truly magnificent occasion; complete, of course with sights across the terrace of the breathtaking national park, a selection of delicious canapes, and drinks to toast to your special day.

Beaulieu Inn 

Charming Beaulieu Inn is another fantastic location with uninterrupted panoramic views of the surrounding hills and beautiful open vistas. As well as captivating interiors that create the perfect setting to say “I do”.  

The quaint garden and historical country charm of Beaulieu Inn make it the perfect destination for an intimate ceremony surrounded by your favourite people. The Ipley and Exbury rooms at Beaulieu Inn are small and cosy, providing a romantic bubble to enjoy your wedding and begin the next chapter of your life. Once you’ve said “I do”, head over to the delightful courtyard garden for pictures and cheers to you and the one you love most.

Burley Manor 

A striking Baronial Manor, Burley Manor stands as a truly exceptional wedding venue in the New Forest. Imagine floor-to-ceiling traditional brick chimneys, a captivating ever-green flower display and twinkling lights delicately strung between the exposed beams of this rustic barn wedding venue. Once the vows are said, step outside and enjoy the verdant greenery and nearby sights and sounds of the deer sanctuary providing a charming soundscape to your celebrations. 

Burley Manor’s venue spaces can hold up to 80 guests for your daytime celebration and 120 in the evening. Onsite at Burley Manor, you’ll also find an abundance of gorgeous rooms and onsite wellness facilities to enjoy ahead of the big day. Pampering is a must, it is your wedding day after all!

Forest Lodge 

And finally, the charming Forest Lodge, an elegant Georgian townhouse. Forest Lodge provides an excellent small wedding venue for a more intimate celebration, which can hold up to 70 guests should you require a bigger space to hold all your special guests. Forest Lodge is known for its abundant historical charm and beautiful gardens, serving as a picturesque base for your wedding day and early honeymoon celebrations in the New Forest. 

Furthermore, Beaulieu Inn, Bartley Lodge and Forest Lodge each have their own indoor swimming pools; perfect for a relaxing swim or some lengths ahead of the big day. Historic Burley Manor also offers onsite Temple Spa wellness facilities for a rejuvenating treatment before or after the wedding celebrations and each of the venues is home to an onsite restaurant or bar facilities. Each location also offers abundant parking and onsite EV charging facilities for all hotel guests, and a wealth of walking and hiking trails nearby so you can explore the majesty of the New Forest on foot. 

Each of the locations is dotted around the New Forest National Park area, providing a serene spot to melt away from reality and begin the next chapter of the rest of your lives together. For more accurate information about your chosen wedding day, please get in touch with us directly, or browse our website for more information about our venues 

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