YOUR WEDDING LOCATION
In my opinion, there are two important aspects for a wedding, and the two are linked. Everything revolves around the ceremony, and for this reason, the location is the one of the most important details you’ll need to decide on.
Knowing what you want.
Once you’ve gone through the first steps of planning your wedding, you’ll know your dream location wishes, and at this point you’ve agreed on a budget. Now you can start the search for the perfect wedding location(s). Your location will influence the aesthetics of your wedding, and be crucial for the atmosphere of the entire ceremony, and possibly the entire day depending on how many locations your day will include. Your styling, and even your day planning will be influenced by your location choice.
You should know what type of location you are looking for, before you start your search!
The location is so significant that you’ll already need to know your style, and budget before you start searching. There is no need to get married at city hall. Most of my visitors here on the site are living in The Netherlands, and many think that you must get married at city hall (stadhuis), that is not the case. Most counties have specially designated locations for getting married. Many opt for the official bit in city hall, with only a few people attending, and afterwards choose a day for the ceremony elsewhere, where it’s more about celebrating with family and friends than it is about the ‘official’ bit. Having said that, I personally think having the wedding day be the official ceremony does add something special to it all. It’s a very personal decision, one that is entirely up to the two of you!
There are so many types of locations, so don’t be afraid to consider something that is non-traditional. Your location should be something that is personal, and means something for the two of you.
Do you love gardening and want to get married in Autumn? I don’t blame you! Autumn provides nature with a gorgeous color palette and the darker days allow you to use candles during the ceremony, where as a Summer wedding the candles are more often than not just decorations. A sunny Autumn day more ideal? An Autumn sunset is one of the most beautiful things, with the golden hour leading up to it. Rain. We dread it for wedding days, but a greenhouse may be just the location you need!
This location is called In de Kas, buiten beleven, which translates to: In The Greenhouse, experience the outdoors. It’s an excellent location here in The Netherlands. One of my all time favorite interior bloggers, Souraya, of Binti Home got married there and it was gorgeous, and the location choice was one of the reasons why. Curious? Here is the link to her wedding, styling and decorations!
To tempt you to click that link, and take a look, here is a photo taken of the wedding by the extremely talented Ilka van Wieren, of Ilka van Wieren Photography.
Hotels and special wedding venues are often well equipped for providing all of the services you need, but do they fit in with your idea of a dream wedding? I’ll repeat myself by saying, try thinking outside of the box, and most of all keep it personal. Some real gems are out there, so take care to not book unless it’s met your criteria!
Dreaming of a castle? Many of my visitors here on EDBM are non-native speakers living in The Netherlands, many of those are from North America, so I get the dream of having your ceremony in a castle! Though you may have dreamt about it for years, make sure it’s really what you want. Consider alternatives, that may be more fitting with your lifestyle, after all you’re more than just an ‘ex-pat’. You may prefer an industrial space, the forest, or a farm? So take a good look at what is out there, so you won’t end up with regrets!
Your location should have what you’re looking for.
Do you want your ceremony to be informal? Is that possible where you’re considering? Are children going attending the ceremony, dinner and party? Again, is that possible at the locations you’ve got your eye on? Keep in mind your guest list, and create a corresponding list with the needs of your guests, and the priorities your location will need to have. Possible needs could be, wheelchair access, a place for children to play without destroying the surroundings. Parking is also something to keep in mind. Remember to bring that list you’ve made with you while scouting your locations!
A WEEKEND GETAWAY?
A trend I really like, is the weekend getaway! Many people have a lot of guests coming from all around the place. If you love the countryside, there are many farms that have been converted into group accommodations. They provide some services that a hotel does, have professional kitchens for your catering, have professional bars, often with sound systems and of course many rooms for your guests. These types of accommodations have flexible prices, depending on what your needs are. For example, if you make up your own beds, you save. If you leave the place clean, you save. You can discuss this with the owners while making your inquiries.
The advantage of such a location is that you can have it all in one place, with some piece of mind that your guests are enjoying themselves and it makes logistics a lot more easier. This is an especially good location idea, if you are having a small to medium size wedding with family and friends attending. If you’re having a D.I.Y. wedding, than this is a perfect way to access the location a day before the ceremony, and get things done! Your help team consists more than likely of family and friends that are also attending the ceremony, so this is a great way of giving them a weekend away, the time to set things up properly, and after the work is done, an evening to wind down before the big day.
The perfect scenario would be to arrive on the Friday, with just the helpers and people closest to you that you can’t live without! Unpack and set as much up as possible. Find some people to take care of dinner, drinks and snacks for the Friday evening, and breakfast for Saturday morning. Have the ceremony on the Saturday. Depending on the amount of rooms your accommodation has, assign rooms for certain guests that will be staying the night. Provide other guests with accommodation information for the area, as well as taxi services. On Sunday, your bridal party, and selected guests can end the weekend with a brunch at the location. You two, could go off for your honeymoon or have a room booked somewhere special and say your farewells during the reception, with a specially planned exit… it’s all up to you!
You’ve got your list of possible locations? Yes! Time for an adventure!
Time to go visit some locations! Now that you’ve narrowed down your selection and know the style, atmosphere and type of location you want, it’s time to hit the road! Make an appointment at the locations, and go look at as many as possible. Photographs may look great on a website, but go there before booking! Keep in mind things like weather; if it rains, does the inside have the same aesthetics as outside? If not then the location isn’t a good choice, unless you live somewhere other than, for ex. The Netherlands! Haha, seriously always have a bad weather alternative!
How flexible are the locations? If they have huge planters that you really don’t like, can they be moved for a day? Can you bring your own catering? Can you add your own decorations, and do they allow music after 10:00 pm? How many guests are allowed? Are there enough restrooms? Seating is a big factor as well. If you have in your curated Pinterest board gorgeous wooden chairs for the ceremony seating, and your location doesn’t have them, do they mind you bringing in your own? <- you can rent practically anything for your wedding day! Want grandma and grandpa to be seated on a vintage sofa? No problem, that you can rent! Your location however needs to be open for ideas. So remember make a list and bring it with you. Try to make it an adventure, and not a ‘to do’ thing. What I’m trying to say is HAVE FUN! It’s going to probably cost you the most time of all other aspects of your wedding, so make it as fun as possible, and bring a camera! You see the tree you want to get married under? Take a picture to show whomever is doing your styling!
Here a quick overview of things you need to check before booking a location.
One important question is; only the ceremony, or the entire day? The most convenient and efficient option, is everything in one location, or locations that are close to each other.
Your venue is so important, so take your time before booking!
The date. Is the venue available on the date you’d like? It can sometimes be that you need to book at least a year ahead of time, especially if it’s a hip, popular location. If you are getting married officially at the venue, then you need to find out if it is on the counties list of official wedding locations. If it’s not, it may still be okay. Keep in mind that it can take ages to arrange, so start the process a.s.a.p.!
Find out if you can style the location to your liking. See if the venue allows for changes to the decor. Find out how flexible they are, and if they will work with you so you can get the look you want. They may have photographs of previous weddings, ask if you can see what the venue looks like when being used for a wedding. Also ask about things like confetti, flowers or other items that may be used by guests to toss after the ceremony. Often this isn’t allowed because it can cause damage. Ask them if they have an alternative suggestion.
MUSIC, DJ, OR BAND
Ask what is allowed and what is not. Ask how late the party can go on, and if there are any restrictions that you should be aware of. Do you need a permit for loud music after 10:00 pm? If yes, who requests it?
CEREMONY + PARTY
How many guests are allowed? Is there room for the band? Can you bring in cabinets or other items, for example a dessert table? Is there enough space for all of your wishes? How flexible is the location, and spaces that you are renting?
Getting married outside? Is that gorgeous garden you saw on the location website available for the ceremony, or do they limit the areas that you are allowed to use? Wind? Is there a lot of wind during the time of year you want to get married? Keep in mind that wind in a microphone can be a terrible sound, and sitting in the wind is extremely uncomfortable for guests. Rainy day alternatives? Can you bring in your own party tents, or do they provide them? If you don’t want the standard tents, you may want to bring in rented tents, with temporary floors; is this allowed? Does your photographer have access to rooms, your guests may not? For example, can the photographer have access to a top floor so he or she can snap some shots from above?
What are the terms? What are the costs, and what do they include? What are the deadlines for down payments, refunds and final any other payment requirements. Does the catering include, chairs, tables, linens, tableware, utensils, lighting, et cetera? If renting a group accommodation, does the price include cleaning, bed linens, towels, et cetera?
That may seem like a lot of questions, but trust me there are more! Don’t worry, while planning your wedding you’ll be discovering questions as you go along. That is why I believe making a wedding profile is so important! You can download my guide (for free), that guides you through the first steps of planning your wedding. It includes a Pinterest Guide & advice for creating a wedding profile! My guide, Your Shot List and While You’ll Need It, is also helpful for planning… the why you’ll need it, is for your planning!
I wish you all the luck in the world in your search! If you have any questions feel free to email me for advice. Looking for some locations in a certain area of The Netherlands or just over the border and need some help? Let me know and I’ll help you pinpoint which ones are a good fit with you!
NOTE: A castle wedding? Castle Ophemert, located in Gelderland is having an Open Day on November 26th. The opening times are 11 am until 5 pm. They have a Facebook Event page, located here. You can see their promo video here,
They’ve said it is child friendly, so if you’ve got little ones it might make for a splendid day! Oh, by the way… it’s free! Wedding planners, florists and other vendors will also be at the Open Day.
Have a good week, and happy planning!
Photography: Credits found under the photographs. If not the case they are from either myself, or Unsplash.