Hoorah we’ve set a date! This whole wedding thing is starting to feel real now. It also feels less stressful, maybe because we now have a date to work towards.
People keep telling me that when you set a date for your wedding, you will never keep everyone happy. Whilst this is true, I would still advise checking dates with key participants i.e. close family, bridesmaids, groomsmen etc and also try to give people at least 12 month’s notice. Allowing this length of time is useful for planning, but also allows you to get in there first with a date before people get booked up for next year.
So the next step was for us was to book the wedding ceremony and I thought this would be the straightforward bit…apparently not. As our venue isn’t licensed, we needed to book an registration office or licensed premises. There is a huge choice of licensed premises available, over 80 in Somerset alone with a huge range of price tags, conditions and options available.
Something I wasn’t aware of was that for most licensed premises you will also need to pay a registrar on top of the venue cost. I was quite surprised how much this costs (£450 for Friday and Saturday weddings in Somerset) so make sure you factor this in. See here for an up to date list of approved wedding premises in Somerset
For us, the wedding ceremony location (for ease), aesthetics (for photos), room capacity and obviously price were important. Originally we were looking at getting married in Wells Town Hall which looks lovely, seats lots of people and was relatively inexpensive at £150. It also has the benefits of the market square, Wells Cathedral and The Bishops Palace for photo opportunities. But after adding the cost of the registrar, this would cost us £600 which would be a huge chunk of our budget.
So I decided to do some investigating and found out that if you get married in Somerset at a Registration Office, as opposed to a licensed premises, you will get the ceremony and the registrar included in the price for £100-£300 – a bargain. As the Registration Office we’ve chosen is £150, we’ve immediately saved £450. It may be 20 minutes further away but definitely worth it for the saving.
See here for a list of Registration Offices in Somerset
Alternatively for those on an even tighter budget, the very cheapest option is to have a standard marriage ceremony which is just for the bride and groom plus two witnesses including certificate – only £49. But be aware this is Monday to Friday in a working office environment. See above link for details.
So that’s the ceremony and reception venue booked. Next thing on the list is to give notice (£35) each at our local registry office – this can be done up to 12 months in advance and must be done 28 days before the wedding date.
Things to think about when booking the venue:
- Cost of the venue plus any additional cost of the registrar
- Number of guests allowed in the venue (This number normally includes the bride, groom and children)
- Photo opportunities i.e. nice external views, parks, trees nearby
- Time to drive there and back to the venue
- Parking facilities. Do guests need to pay? You will need to warn people of this
- Confetti rules (Some have a total ban or a natural confetti only rule)
- Decorations (Can you use your own? How long have you got to set up beforehand?)
- Corkage costs (Do you want drinks served? This can be £5 upwards per bottle)
See the previous post in the series A Guide to Planning a DIY Wedding on a Budget | The Venue
Next week – Save the date cards. See Party Packs range of ‘Save the date’ cards and wedding stationary