How to book a wedding venue in Central London 2019
Some brides may have pictured their wedding years before meeting their life-partner, maybe even have a style of venue or specific one in mind, and others need more help and inspiration to successfully complete the wedding planning process.
Here at Tower Bridge we have been hosting wedding ceremonies at our licensed wedding venue for many years for hundreds of couples; many didn’t realise you could actually get married in the most famous bridge in the world with the most jaw-dropping views and photo opportunities! We’ve learned that like every couple, every wedding is unique, so deciding on the best way to book a Central London wedding venue is critical. We’d like to condense that experience and share our knowledge of how best to approach this somewhat daunting and important decision, even if the date is only a few months away.
Research is key once you have established your potential budget, your guest list numbers and preferred wedding date. Determine your budget early and stick to it. It will help you focus on your negotiations with your venue. The longer the lead-up time, the better, but anything is possible for a venue like Tower Bridge with a reliable and organised wedding planner, even in a few weeks.
We recommend being flexible on your wedding date in order to capitalise on venue offers and ultimately negotiating a discounted rate. As you’d expect, Saturdays in the summer are charged at a premium as they are the most popular and get snapped-up early, sometimes a year or more in advance. Bank Holiday Sundays are increasingly popular too for hotel weddings. If you have less of a lead-up time to the wedding date, consider having your wedding day on a Friday or another day of the week in peak time, or an off-peak weekend in the spring or autumn, avoiding Christmas or St. Valentine’s Day; you’ll have more choice of available venues and you will potentially save up to 50% on the cost of a summer Saturday wedding. Even in the summer there’s no guarantee of staying dry!
Many venues offer late availability deals too and remember, everything is negotiable about their advertised prices. If it’s an off-peak day you are booking, it will be an extra day for the venue, so discounts can be huge and you can also negotiate extras for your wedding party too like Champagne for the toast, as opposed to bubbly, or some extra canapés. London wedding venues expect to be asked for a 10-20% discounted rate, else will offer additions to make your big day even more special and memorable for your guests. There are many options available for you as a couple and venues should be very accommodating. Don’t be shy, just ask!
There is an overwhelming abundance of choice of London wedding venues, from stately homes to landmark buildings, grand halls to chic hotels, museums to tourist attractions, marquees and more besides. Some are modern blank canvases that can be dressed to the nines in any style you wish, at a cost, if it’s dry hire only; others may just need a personal tweak of colour or theme. Some venues offer award-winning catering and preferred wedding suppliers, others you can choose your own caterer and other services. Often an in-house caterer and team are the most obvious and safe choice as they know the venue inside and out, and their staff are in their second home.
You may have an idea of your wedding day style, but how do you whittle the choice down to a manageable few wedding venues to view? We recommend you use a free-venue finding service like https://venuereservations.co.uk/ to peruse the facilities and styles of the venues on offer, checking date availability and marrying with your guest list number so that it matches your party – they can even do the legwork for you. Alternatively you can do it online yourself, although you’ll have to often contact the venues yourself directly to check availability as most do not advertise their diaries. Check reviews of the venues also – nothing beats reading the experiences of many brides and grooms direct.
Whether or not you had love at first sight of your fiancé, we are sure that until you start to view the venues for yourself with your partner, you won’t know which you fall in love with and will be the perfect venue for your big day. Visiting the Central London venue also allows you to see if there’s a good connection with your wedding planner; you will be liaising with them often and putting your trust in their team. Make sure pricing is up-front and transparent as well as being backed-up by an easy to read contract.
Once at the venue you can determine the wow factor your guests will experience, the facilities, the layout, the potential photo opportunities, the breakout rooms or other areas that can be used for drinks receptions or the evening entertainment, and the overall vibe. If it’s a hotel, make sure you check out the bridal suite too. Find out what restrictions there are at the venue in terms of re-dressing it, set-up time, bar curfews, potential entertainment provisions, back-ups for bad weather and takedown arrangements.
Your wedding coordinator will also be able to go through the many options available, from décor theming and colour schemes, tableware and tablecentres, to the choices of canapés and sit-down banquets, bowl food or food stations, alternative food like authentic Indian, kosher or vegan, and drinks options – all bespoke to you both. A competent caterer will always have exciting and comprehensive menus to choose from, with good provenance, then tailor-make to your palate or theme. Always arrange for a free tasting of your menu including the wines, so you can pay the deposit with confidence, once the important questions have been answered and the decision is made.
Like finding your home, you will know which venue is the right one for your wedding, is affordable, offers the best value for money for your celebration and exceeds your expectations; after all it’s the start of your wonderful new married life together.