Although we got engaged on 22nd December 2012, we didn't actually get married until almost three years later. When we got engaged we were living with Craigs' parents and in the midst of saving for a house, so buying a home was our priority and everything else was put on hold.
We bought our first house and moved in on 16th May 2014, so we waited until we were settled and had completed much of the decorating before deciding to look at venues for our wedding. In October 2014 we began the search.
I spent many a night researching venues and trying to find one within budget. This meant sending A LOT of emails! Why they can’t all just advertise their prices on their website is beyond me! The venue we finally chose was the first one we looked at. We happened to drive past it one day and they were advertising a wedding fair, so I dutifully informed Craig we would be attending. We both loved the venue almost immediately but were pretty sure we couldn’t afford it and anyway I wanted to look around at others, in case we were missing out on one somewhere else.
The following venues were the ones we viewed:
Kent Life – This venue is really cool and would be perfect if you were having a wedding which involved lots of children, whereas we only had 3 at ours and 2 of them left early (how very rude!)
The Ferry House Inn – We very nearly chose this venue but it is quite out of the way and at the time the wedding venue didn’t have their own bar, which meant sharing with the locals. I believe they now have a dedicated wedding bar.
High Rocks – We didn’t like the fact that the venue wasn’t exclusive and potentially you could have 3 other weddings going on at the same time. It’s MY day, you hear?!
The Barn (Tunbridge Wells) – This place was great but it is pretty small and I was also a little particular about wanting round tables (I know who cares right?). Very reasonably priced though and the owner was lovely. Oh and they receive an extra bonus point for being able to offer your guests three or four choices for each food course on your wedding day.
The Hop Farm – I have to say I don’t remember much about the venue so I couldn’t have been too enamoured with it.
Westerham Golf Club – This venue worked out more expensive than we initially thought. We also felt it would need a lot more in the way of decorations than some of the other venues.
Langshott Manor - A very cute and rustic hotel. The only thing we didn't like was the reception room as the dance floor was a room on its own and was not the most spacious. Other than that we actually really liked it. Craig was almost ready to put the deposit down on the day (probably so we didn't have to look at any other venues).
Swallows Oast – I visited here with my Mum as Craig was all venue-d out by this point, I think I could have kept going. The owner and venue were great but it just didn’t quite tick the box for me.
We finally decided that we really did love the first venue we visited, The Grasshopper Inn, so I negotiated with them on a price that was only slightly over budget – Hurrah! We were happy and relieved that by 21st November 2014 we had our wedding date booked- we were getting married on Friday 9th October 2015.
The next 10 months I was all consumed by the wedding, it was a crazy and hectic period but for the most part I really enjoyed it. I do wish I had documented the planning process but I was a little busy... you know, planning a wedding ;-)
Once we had the venue booked I could move on to getting 'the big things' booked...