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The Venue Search...what to expect

Alex and I have just returned from what was the most exciting part of our wedding planning journey so far (granted it is early stages and we haven’t done much else, but very exciting nonetheless!), venue viewings in the south of Spain!

When we first got engaged we actually toyed with two ideas…a winter wedding in the UK, or a destination wedding abroad. We decided on the latter, largely because we love the idea of having all our friends and family together for a few days.

We did make a little pact not to start planning immediately (let the engagement sink in and all that) but that was unrealistic. Soon I was on the internet like every newly engaged bride to be trying to hunt down our dream venue.

We initially thought Ibiza would be the right location for us, however this soon turned out to be a lot more expensive than we had anticipated, and so we started widening our search.

Castillo de Santa Catalina

Castillo de Santa Catalina

This brings me onto my first point, of what to expect when looking for your wedding venue.

Expectation #1: Plans May Change

We had quite a clear vision on what we wanted (a relaxed, Ibiza chic vibe on the beach) however when we started our research we soon found the type of venue and wedding we wanted wasn’t actually going to be achievable within our budget, and so our initial plan had to shift.

I then spent a fair bit of time internet browsing various locations…Croatia, Spain, Portugal, searching more for somewhere that could provide the vibe we wanted, rather than focusing on a country/location. This actually made the search more confusing and less focused. Suddenly the possibilities were endless and the whole task of finding a venue seemed much more daunting.

Throughout the planning process it’s likely that you will need to adapt and may have to compromise on certain things. To prepare yourself for this write a list of venue ‘must-haves’ and a list of ‘nice-to-haves’, this will help you to shortlist both location and venue options.

El Palacio del Limonar

El Palacio del Limonar

Expectation #2: A Wedding Planner is a Wise Idea

Perhaps a slightly bias perspective, but despite my job, we have engaged a wedding planner to help organise our day. Our planner happens to also be a friend of mine, Dyana from Optimum Weddings, but even so having her team’s knowledge and expertise of areas that we’re unfamiliar with instantly made the process less stressful.

After a few conversations about our requirements, our venue search soon narrowed from Europe…to Spain and the Surrounding islands….to mainland Spain only…to the Southern region.

We were sent some beautiful venues to consider and before we knew it we were winging our way to Spain to visit them in person!

A wedding planner has expert knowledge in areas that you may not know very well. They often have a list of hidden gems on their books too that you won’t easily find through standard internet searches - we certainly wouldn’t have found our perfect venue if it wasn’t for our planning team!

El Molino del Duque

El Molino del Duque

Expectation #3: Nervousness

As we touched down in Malaga I felt a huge sense of excitement walking out the airport; we couldn’t wait get to get started and see the place we would get married.

Underneath that excitement there was however a twinge of nervousness….what if we don’t find the one? What if Alex and I didn’t love the same venue?

Like any big event in life, nerves are normal. Especially when it’s something that means so much to you. So don’t worry if you feel this way at times; all nerves will be gone when you find the right place, I promise!

El Palacio del Limonar

El Palacio del Limonar

Expectation #3: Confusion

Throughout our day there were definite moments of confusion. Initially we viewed 3 BEAUTIFUL properties. Each one was different from the previous, and all were stunning and charming in their own right. We could envisage how our day could work at each of them, but none of them gave us that feeling.

Why were we standing in these amazing places and not getting that overwhelming sense of excitement?

Quite simply because they can’t all be the one. A venue may be gorgeous, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to tick all your boxes. It may be the perfect venue to another couple, but not to you, and that’s okay because when you find the right venue for you the confusion will go and clarity kicks in…big time!

El Molino Del Duque

El Molino Del Duque

Expectation #4: Emotion (the positive type)

As soon as Alex and I arrived at our 4th venue we just knew. We both looked at each other with smiles like kids at Christmas. This place was our wedding venue and all doubts had gone.

We could really see how our day would flow there, we could imagine our guests all together and we could not contain our excitement - even our planners were laughing at our smiley faces!

We cancelled our remaining viewings there and then because they seemed so unnecessary having found this place.

Once we’d been shown around and talked through all the important things Alex and I had a walk around together. We sat by the pool, sun on our faces just taking it all in. This was where we would be getting married. It was then that the emotion hit and I found myself both crying and laughing at the same time - overwhelmed with happiness!

Your wedding is a big deal and it’s okay to get a tad over emotional about it at times.

Our gorgeous wedding venue!

Our gorgeous wedding venue!

Expectation #4: Tiredness

Jetting off to Spain, looking at beautiful properties in gorgeous February weather hardly sounds like an exhausting task, but we were both so tired after our venue hunting.

I guess it’s the rollercoaster of emotions that occur in such a short space of time. Not to mention the fact we couldn’t sleep and the woke up early because all we could think about was our wedding now that we had a venue to visualise.

It’s perfectly normal for your brain to be on overdrive but I can assure you, obsessed bride mode does settle down after a day or two!

We are SO happy with how our venue hunting went; we’ve been left with such excitement and the wedding now feels real. Having a venue lays the foundations for everything else…the date, the style, the size and so on, so securing your venue is absolutely one of the best parts of the planning!

Happy hunting people!

Castillo de Santa Catalina

Castillo de Santa Catalina