Photo credit- Alexander Wheeler Photography

Top of the wedding planning list for most couples is booking your venue. But with so many to choose, from where on earth do you start?

Wedding open days and showcases can be invaluable sources of inspiration and practical advice.  You can see the venue set-up, experience the inside and outdoor spaces and meet the talented people behind the venue.

Here, the team from  Casterley Barn in Wiltshire reveal their top tips to make the most of your visit to a wedding showcase. Follow these tips to find the perfect outdoor wedding venue for you.

Photo credit Zibi Photography

1 – Be selective

As a newly engaged couple, you could fill every Saturday between now and April with a wedding open day if you visited every venue on your long-list. Don’t – you’ll waste precious time and end up inundated with ideas, but no closer to a decision.

Choose the wedding showcases you attend carefully. Think about what each event offers you. Is it only the chance to see the venue dressed for a wedding, or can you meet the entire planning team? Will you be able to take the card of a partner supplier, or can you give things a trial run in an interactive workshop or demo?

2 – Establish your non-negotiables

Making decisions is difficult, especially when it’s something as huge as your wedding that’s up for debate. One way to make the entire process simpler is to agree your priorities early on.

Do you want your outdoor ceremony to be licensed, rather than a blessing? Do you want to be able to bring in all your own suppliers, or are you happy to be limited to one? Do you want to be able to decorate every surface you can see?

Knowing your non-negotiables will enable you to ask the important questions at a wedding showcase. They’ll also help you rule out venues that don’t let you have your day, your way.

Photo credit- Alexander Wheeler Photography

3 – Keep the weather in mind

Even if you’re dreaming of an open-air wedding, in the UK inside space is essential. So, while it’s tempting to spend all your time working out just how many miles you can see into the distance, do spend a little time inside too.

You can never guarantee the weather, so a versatile inside space will make all the difference to wet weather contingency plans. Look for a venue filled with natural light and opt for huge windows to bring the outside in. Even better if your venue offers an entirely glass wall, which promises a bright space even in the dim December light.

At Casterley Barn, bi-folding doors make the transition between country garden and contemporary barn effortless. You can experience the light and atmosphere of a venue first-hand at their showcase.

4 – Zone the space

One of the greatest challenges when planning a wedding with outdoor elements is zoning all of that open space. This is where booking a venue with a landscaped garden or grounds really comes into its own.

Venues like these already have a loose structure and are beautifully presented. An empty field, on the other hand, requires a lot of imagination and investment to set up the locations and utilities (like toilets!) that you’ll need.

Visit your venue during their wedding showcase to see each space imaginatively set up. Many suppliers will come together to create the overall showcase. This gives you lots of different ideas for your ceremony, reception and preparations. Seeing the ideas in situ will help inspire you with different possibilities. Ultimately, this will make it easier to choose what works best for your own dream day.

Photo credit- Alexander Wheeler Photography

 5 – Check out the accommodation

When the party draws to a close, your guests will be extremely grateful to need only stagger a few steps before falling into a comfy bed. And when all your favourite people join you for breakfast the next morning, the celebrations can go on and on.

When attending a wedding open day, find out whether accommodation is available on site. If it is, ask whether you can view the rooms or if the team can recommend an accommodation supplier. For example, at Casterley Barn couples can pitch bell tents for a glamping experience they’ll never forget.

If you’re planning an outdoor wedding in Wiltshire, step into Casterley Barn’s immersive Wedding Showcase on Sunday 24thFebruary from 11am – 3pm.

You’ll experience the venue styled to the rooftop, sip bespoke cocktails with local flavours and take part in exciting wedding workshops… if you can tear your eyes away from Casterley’s unparalleled views! The showcase is free but tickets are limited, so secure your spots today.

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