Questions to ask your wedding venue + Harte and Garter Hotel Exclusive

Questions to ask your wedding venue + Harte and Garter Hotel Exclusive

Lets talk venues, specifically: questions to ask your wedding venue when you are searching for the perfect one!

As a Wedding & Event Photographers, we get to be in some of the most amazing wedding venues around!  Questions to ask your wedding venue, Harte & Garter Hotel, wedding venue WindsorWe cover Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire, Hampshire, Kent & London and let me tell you - we are blessed with magnificent castles, extravagant hotels and rustic barns galore!  This weeks interview is at none other than the fabulous Harte and Garter Hotel in Windsor, Berkshire - and it's beautiful!

I met up with the very lovely Marie who, along with her partner in crime Kat, are the Wedding & Event Managers at the Harte & Garter Hotel to have a chat with them about the best questions to ask your wedding venue when you've just got engaged.  Let me tell you a little about the Harte & Garter Hotel first though... This stunning Jacobean venue overlooks the majestic Windsor Castle and was built in the 14th century!  It was originally 2 coaching inns (The Garter Inn & the White Harte) and is by far one of the most historic buildings in the area.

The Harte & Garter has fabulous facilities for any Bride and her guests - anyone fancy a tennis match or a massage in their fabulous Stable Spa?  What a wonderful way to relax with family and friends the day after your wedding!  And with the beautiful and popular town of Windsor on your doorstep, guests from further afield will have plenty to keep them busy while they wait for your big moment.

Marie & Kat's job is to be the perfect Go-To person for your wedding.  They run over 25 weddings per year at the Harte & Garter Hotel and know exactly what it takes to run such a huge event!  Are you looking for your perfect wedding venue?  Here is some advice from Marie:

"Wedding are busy business - from start to finish!  There is so much to think about and plan - and suddenly the Bride has to become an Event Planner for the biggest day of her life!  It can be stressful or confusing but here are my tips to help:"

Questions to ask your wedding venue: Tips from Marie

1.  As soon as you are engaged - book your church / wedding venue and your photographer.  These are the 3 most important parts to your wedding day and they book up the quickest.  It is never too early to book and we can take bookings up to 2 years in advance so don't be shy to give us a call.

2.  When searching for your perfect wedding venue, think about whether you dream of a more intimate day with just close friends and family or a huge affair!  The Harte and Garter Hotel is perfect for small intimate weddings but can also accommodate larger weddings up to 120 people.

3.  When you walk in to a wedding venue, you will have a gut feeling.  You'll either love it or hate it!  Go with your gut.  Can you see yourself saying "I do" in that room?  Can you envision your first dance with twinkling lights and your guests gathered around you in the ballroom?

4.  Sit down with your Wedding Planner and chat to them about your wedding.  You need to feel comfortable with them - you are in their hands!  You must be able to trust that they will work for you - a big part of being a Wedding Planner at a wedding venue is to communicate regularly with the Bride & Groom.  Write down a list of questions to ask your wedding venue when you meet with them.  We are their to give advice, recommend suppliers and suggest alternative ways of doing things you may not have thought of yet!

Questions to ask your wedding venue, Harte & Garter Hotel, wedding venue Windsor

So what's so fab about the Harte & Garter Hotel?

Have you seen it?! The Harte & Garter Hotel is simply stunning!  It has beautiful architecture, original features galore and a walkway with stained glass windows that I fell in love with instantly (I'm already planning my next wedding photographs there!)

Although the hotel is beautiful in all it's Jacobean glory, it certainly doesn't lack in it's 21st century outlook either.  Complimentary wi-fi, a full service luxury health spa, porter, sauna, concierge service are just a few of it's fabulous amenities.

They have 2 rooms which are perfect for your wedding:

The Lancaster Suite is ideal for those Brides who want a small and intimate wedding.  It sits 30 people for that cosy and cherished feel.

The Ballroom is drenched in golden glamour!  With seating space for 120 people you really can be the belle of the ball!  Huge golden chandeliers, rich fabrics and plenty of space to eat drink dance and be merry, the Ballroom at the Harte & Garter  is a stunning choice for your wedding!

Oh and just as an extra bonus - they don't have a minimum number of guests either for your sit down meal.  Oh and if you just want canapés instead, or a buffet - that's fine too.

Did you know...

Before wedding receptions became popular, weddings were more usually celebrated with the wedding breakfasts for couples who religions encouraged morning weddings or wedding balls for those couple who were married in the evening.

Until after World War II wedding celebrations were typically held at the Bride's home.  If you were upper class and wealthy you may have a grand ball, middle class families had a luncheon and working class families had afternoon tea, cake and lemonade!  (Isn't it strange how 'afternoon tea' is now rather a posh thing to do!)

Top Tips!

1.  Don't fancy a receiving line?  Have a grand entrance instead!  These are much faster and can be really entertaining!  They are announced by your Master of Ceremonies / Toast Master / DJ or Band Leader and are great fun - you must have seen the ones on YouTube by now?  No?  Check out some great ones here

2.  Consider your venue and each room when deciding on your wedding theme and décor.  For instance, in the Ballroom less is definitely more!  Go for elegance and timeless class: Tall candelabras, simple flower arrangements in tall vases or martini glasses.

3.  Create a timeline for the day with your venue and photographer - these need to be in sync.  Typically the day will go something like this (although your caterer, entertainment and photographer may need to ass and amend as per your requirements):

  • Civil Ceremony - 30 minutes
  • Photos - 1.5 hours (whilst having reception drinks & canapés)
  • Receiving Line - around 20 minutes depending on how many people are in it
  • Sit-down Meal - 1.5 hours
  • Speeches - 10-15 minutes per speech

Questions to ask Your Wedding Venue

  1. Does the venue suit your theme?
  2. Does it accommodate all your guests?
  3. Do they have an in-house wedding planner (that's Kat & Marie for the Harte & Garter)
  4. Do they have tables & chairs or do you need to hire them?
  5. Do you need to hire table linen, chair covers and sashes or can they provide these?
  6. Can you bring in your own Caterer and other wedding vendors?
  7. Is there a minimum or maximum number of guests you need to have?
  8. Do they accommodate dietary requirements?  How far in advance do they need to know these?
  9. Can you bring in your own alcohol?  Is there a 'corkage fee' to pay for this?
  10. What time will the party end?  When does the Bar shut?
  11. Do they supply guest accommodation?  What about for the Bride & Groom?  Is it complimentary or at a reduced rate?
  12. How will the staff be dressed?
  13. Do they have a microphone available for speeches should you need it?
  14. Is the price the same at any time of year and is it cheaper on a weekday?
  15. What is the cancellation policy?
  16. Do they have public liability insurance? (they should do!!)
  17. Do they have a list of recommended supplier that they know and trust?

What's your ideal wedding venue?  Can you think of any other questions to ask your wedding venue? Let us know in the comments below.