Our top ten tips to help couples make that important decision.

Charlotte Winship :: Tuesday 3rd January 2023 :: Latest Blog Posts

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 A new year and a new wedding season.  January is a great time to start planning your wedding.  First on the list, finding the perfect Dorset wedding venue!

To help you decide, we have compiled a check list of things to consider whilst you make your search...

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1. Budget

When it comes to planning weddings, it can be easy to spend money and your Dorset wedding venue may be one of your largest expenses.  The average spend by couples on their wedding venue hire fees in 2021 was £7,000.  Sit down together at the beginning and agree how much you want to spend on your wedding.  What are necessary expenses (eg. marriage registrar or church) and where would you like to spend a little more to create an extra special experience (eg. live music)?  Once you have worked out what your priorities are, this will help you choose where to allocate your funds.  If you are looking to save money on venue hire fees then consider a mid-week wedding or an autumn or winter date.  Hope Farm offers reduced rates for mid-week weddings.

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  1. date.

Couples are booking their wedding venues earlier and earlier.  If you have a special date in mind, then our advice is to book your venue as early as possible to avoid disappointment.  Peak Summer and bank holiday weekends are very popular and get booked up quickly. Wintertime weddings are magical too and venues can often offer shorter lead times for these dates.   

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  1. guest list

Draft a guest list before you begin venue hunting. If you know you have at least 100 of your nearest and dearest to accommodate then this can help narrow down your choices.  Weddings don't have to be big.  Micro weddings and elopements have become very popular since lockdown and are a good way to reduce guest numbers and expenses.  Hope Farm can accommodate up to 130 guests for your wedding ceremony and wedding breakfast.    

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  1. Ceremony.

Church ceremony or a civil ceremony?  If you are favouring an all in one venue for your ceremony and reception then check your venue has a licence for civil ceremonies.  If you would prefer a church ceremony then consider the distance from the church to your chosen wedding reception venue.  You may also need to consider transportation for your wedding guests.  Hope Farm is licensed for both indoor and outdoor civil marriage ceremonies.  You can choose to be married under the oak arbour in our Walled Garden or inside Hope Barn.  

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  1. transportation

There are a multitude of stunning Dorset wedding venues to choose from in some delightfully out-of-the-way places.  Will it be easy for your guests and taxi drivers to find?  How far do you want to travel to your venue?  A long journey may eat into important bridal preparation time.  Make sure you have plenty of time to relax and enjoy being pampered before your wedding.  Hope Farm is tucked deep in the West Dorset countryside but still only a few minutes drive from Bridport.  We also include overnight accommodation in the Coach House and our Shepherds Huts the night before your wedding and the night of your wedding so there is need for you to travel.  For guests arriving by car, we have plenty of on-site parking and our very own tuk-tuk to transport everyone right to the door.  

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  1. Accommodation

A solution to isolated locations a long way from home may be to consider venues with accommodation on site or near-by for you and your guests.  Hope Farm can sleep up to 8 guests between the Coach House and the Shepherds Huts.  We also have plenty of accommodation available near-by for guests travelling from further afield.

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You may be imagining a glorious outdoor summer wedding however be prepared!  The great British weather is notoriously unpredictable so make sure you love your venue inside and out. Whatever the weather at Hope Farm, we can promise you a beautiful Dorset wedding venue and the very best service and attention.  When the sun shines our 40 acres of outdoor space are yours to enjoy but if rain threatens then we have plenty of stunning indoor space available across our two adjacent barns, Hope Barn and Oak Barn.   

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  1. freedom

This is your wedding day so don't feel constrained by convention.  Choose a venue that allows you the freedom to design a wedding personal and unique to you.  Other than the legal bit, the sky's the limit!  We offer complete flexibility at Hope Farm to allow you to have your wedding your way.  From choosing your own suppliers to inviting your four-legged family members.  Please do talk to us about how we can help to make your wedding day special for you.     

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  1. Experience.

Venues offering an in-house coordinator can offer help and advice throughout the planning process.  On the day, your coordinator will manage suppliers, prepare the venue, assist guests and keep everything on schedule so you can get on with enjoying your wedding day!  If you are choosing a Dorset wedding venue without an on-site team then it is worth considering hiring an independent wedding planner.  Sue is our resident wedding expert and she has helped plan 100s of weddings at Hope Farm.  She is only too happy to give you all the guidance and support you need to plan your wedding.  

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  1. Confidence

When you know, you know! If you are getting butterflies in your tummy and envisaging your perfect day right here, then you've probably found the one.  Trust your inner feelings.  Ultimately you want to feel relaxed and confident that your wedding day will be perfect.  Our wedding couples often comment about how relaxed they felt throughout their wedding at Hope Farm and how we exceeded all their expectations.  

If you haven't found your perfect Dorset wedding venue yet then we would love to hear from you.  Please do get in touch and book a site visit with Sue.