Choosing your perfect wedding venue

Scarborough spa wedding venue by beach

Choosing your perfect wedding venue
Selecting your ideal wedding venue is of course a crucial step in planning your special day. The venue sets the tone for the entire event.

Determine your budget early in the planning process. Understand the venue’s pricing structure, including any additional costs for decor and other services.

Decide on the location, whether it’s close to home or further afield. Consider accessibility for guests, proximity to accommodation, parking and the overall atmosphere of the location.

Guest list and capacity
Have a rough estimate of your guest count to choose a venue that comfortably accommodates everyone. Do you have guests with mobility problems? Consider both the ceremony and reception spaces to ensure they meet your needs and those of your guests.

Style and theme
Reflect on the style or theme you envision for your wedding and choose a venue that complements this.

Services and amenities
Inquire about the services and amenities offered by the venue, such as catering, in-house decor, and audiovisual equipment. Check if the venue provides a dedicated coordinator to assist you before and on the day.
Some couples like to have separate aisles and come down them at the same time – if this is something you are thinking of, is there sufficient room?
What is the seating like? Are toilets nearby and accessible for any guests with mobility issues?

Other weddings on the same day?
Yes, venues can and do accept more than one wedding on the same day. Check if this is the case and if so, would you have completely separate spaces or are any shared? How do you feel about this?

Well it is Britain! For outdoor venues, have a backup plan in case of bad weather. Is there a room available if needed? Is there shelter from the heat/rain, especially for anyone vulnerable?

Consider your guests
If your guests could be walking through a muddy farmyard or woodland they’ll be a lot happier if they are warned in advance to bring suitable shoes!

Legalities and restrictions
Understand the legal requirements for weddings in England. Check for any restrictions or rules imposed by the venue, such as decor limitations and specific caterers. Are there any restrictions on where you are allowed to take photos? If a venue limits your choice of external suppliers or puts too many restrictions on the day, you may want to think twice about using them. If you would like things like confetti canons, candles or animals you will need to ask the venue if these are permitted.

Role of Celebrants in England
The role of a celebrant should not be overlooked, as they contribute significantly to the uniqueness and personalisation of your ceremony. In England, celebrants are a popular choice to plan and conduct highly personalised wedding ceremonies. Celebrant-led weddings offer couples the freedom to create a bespoke ceremony that truly reflects their love story and values. Independent Celebrants are not bound by religious or legal constraints, providing couples with great flexibility to choose locations, time of day and include symbolic elements or specific requests. Ceremonies are inclusive, embracing diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and traditions.

While celebrants cannot legally marry couples in England, couples often choose a celebrant-led ceremony following a legal marriage at a registry office (in its simplest form this is £57 with 2 witnesses). It also means that the ceremony on the big day can be a less stressful – let your celebrant take the strain – you’ll get to know them beforehand and they’ll be there early to ensure everything is in place.
Celebrants can conduct ceremonies in licensed or unlicensed venues. Most are very happy to work alongside a registrar if you want both there on the day but this can be expensive as you’re paying for both to attend. Discover more about the role of registrars, celebrants and other officials.

Choosing the perfect wedding venue involves a careful balance of practical considerations and personal preferences. Take time to explore your options and ensure that your chosen venue aligns with your vision, creating the perfect backdrop for the start of your married life.

Venue ideas
North Yorkshire is awash with venues for every style and budget. Here are just a few:

North Cliffe Golf Club
For a small intimate wedding North Cliffe Golf Club has beautiful sea views.

Hackness Grange, Scarborough
Surrounded by hills and woodland Hackness Grange has indoor and outdoor ceremony options

The Royal and The Grand, Scarborough
The Royal and The Grand in Scarborough are both Britannia Hotels with stunning staircases for those lovely photos and The Grand has beautiful sea views.

Danby Castle, Whitby
Danby Castle is a historic castle, set in the North York Moors National Park and provides a romantic and intimate setting for weddings, complete with a charming Norman chapel.

Bedern Hall, York
An important part of York’s history Bedern Hall in York is a charming venue.

The Hospitium York
Located in York’s Museum Gardens, The Hospitium is a historic building that provides a unique venue for a wedding.

The Mayfield, Seamer
With a small function room, The Mayfield is an option for small weddings.

Scarborough Spa
It doesn’t get any closer to the beach without being on the beach (another option of course!) Scarborough Spa has indoor and outdoor options.