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How To Pick A Wedding Venue London Guide

We don't want to be a Negative Nelly. But anyone reading this will have to admit, the human race is a flawed one.

Don't get us wrong. There lot of things that we humans do right. But unfortunately, we get a lot wrong, too. Not calling our parents to tell them we love them enough. Lack of inclusion for ethnic minorities and LGBTQIA+ folks in (way too many) employment sectors. Standing deeply divided on important world issues. Social media trolls and bullies. Not recycling our rubbish. Poor tube etiquette. Bad treatment of hospitality workers. And let's not forget one of the worst things about us humans: the dreaded Karens.

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Yes, there are a lot of things about humanity that are flawed. But one of the things that redeems the human race? Our collective ability to feel - and feel hard. Shrek famously said: "Onions, have layers. Ogres, have layers." But that green-skinned ogre forgot that we humans have layers, too. Lots and lots of them. And by layers, we mean emotions.

The dualistic spectrum of human emotion is truly a beautiful thing. Sadness, amusement, jealousy, joy, anger, peace, excitement - we've felt it all. We're sure that aliens must watch us intriguingly from light years away, fascinated by the vast scope of human emotion in the same way we're drawn to watching shows like Love Island.

But there's one thing that makes us humans really, really special: love.

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How I Met Your Mother's protagonist Ted Mosby perceptively said: "love is the best thing we do". And boy, the chap was not wrong. Love makes us do funny things. And romantic things. And selfless things. Not matter what they say, it's love makes the world go round. And not to be too corny, but The Beatles weren't far off when they penned the iconic line: "All You Need is Love" (cue swelling romantic music).

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And love is also what makes the human race completely and utterly amazing. John Leguizamo's character Toulouse put it best in Baz Lurhmann's hit film, Moulin Rogue: "The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in return." Now ain't that the truth?!

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From gift-giving, to quality time, to words of affirmation, to some cheeky hugs and kisses, there are many ways that we express our love towards our special someone. But there's one thing we humans do that is perhaps the ultimate declaration of true love - and that's getting married. Just like love itself, weddings have been a keystone within our society for (literally) ages.

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Fun fact: The first recorded marriage ceremony took place in Ancient Mesopotamia way back in 2350 B.C! Another fun fact: Las Vegas is the world's most popular wedding destination, hosting well over 100,000 weddings per year!

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And one last fun fact for the books: it's a Swedish wedding tradition for the male guests to form a line and (literally) take turns kissing the bride whenever the groom leaves the room - and vice versa! Swedish weddings are the place to be! But enough of the jokes and fun facts. And back to the (extremely) important topic at hand. Weddings.

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Since the ancient times, weddings and civil ceremonies have connected families, friends, cultures, and religions. They give us an excuse to celebrate with our favourite people in the whole world. And they give us a reason to believe that indeed - there is someone for everyone. But we digress.

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Whether you're a bride, groom, or guest, a wedding is a beautiful experience to be a part of. But one downside? The humongous amount of organizing that goes into them.

People don't comprehend the meticulous wedding planning the happy couple have undertaken when they're busy throwing shapes at the wedding reception. But of course they don't consider that huge to-do list that takes months (and sometimes years) to complete.

They're too busy chugging champagne at the bar, stuffing their face with gourmet wedding food, swapping stories of the happy couple, joining a conga line, or fighting amongst themselves to catch that infamous wedding bouquet. We don't blame them, though. Weddings are supposed to be a barrel of laughs. They're a place for your loved ones to come together, let loose, make memories, and celebrate the union of the happy couple. But we understand how stressful wedding planning can be behind-the-scenes.

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There are so many things to sort out before that special day. Wedding invitations. The dress. Wedding rings. The guest list and seating plan. The food and drinks. The honeymoon. The music. The wedding licence and officiant.

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We don't mean to overwhelm. But unfortunately, this is just the way the cookie crumbles when it comes to wedding planning. But perhaps the one of the most important (and stressful) things you need take care of before the ceremony is, drum roll please... the wedding venue. And without choosing a wedding venue first, it is almost impossible to start taking care of the other important elements surrounding your big day.

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Plus, wedding reception venues do far more than serve as a space to celebrate. As well as the beautiful couple, the wedding venue is something your guests will remember. It's something that for better or worse, will be spoken about for years after your special day. Not to sound overly dramatic: but the wedding venue basically makes or breaks the vibes of your nuptials.

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Choosing your dream wedding venue for you and your future spouse is one thing. But trying to find the perfect wedding venue in London? That's a whole other box of frogs. We can almost hear your torrent of worried questions coming through the computer screen.

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"Where can I find unique venues for a wedding in London?". "How am I supposed to find the venue of my dreams in the midst of peak wedding season?". "What about finding a venue that offers a wedding breakfast?". "What if I want a historic venue with rich history for my wedding, is that do able?". "Is there a nice country house in London that could host my wedding?" "What about alternative, funky wedding venues in East London?" "How about good venues in Central London?" "Or venues that overlook the River Thames and the London skyline?" "Can you recommend any nice venues in South East London?" "Or a wedding venue with some stunning gardens?" Ah, decisions, decisions, decisions...

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Hold your horses. We get that you've got a lot of questions. Finding your dream wedding venue is incredibly important. The good news? Since London town is top notch at pretty much everything, it just so happens to have some of the best wedding venues in the world. But the bad news? When it comes to wedding venues, there are as many to choose between as there are pubs in this vast city. Not ideal if you're an Indecisive Ingrid.

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It is easier said than done, we know - but don't you worry yourself. We at Proud Group are here to give you a helping hand.

In case you haven't noticed, we wear many hats here at Proud Group. And now, we're your wedding planning guru, too. We have done our due diligence and put together a helpful guide on how to pick a wedding venue in London.

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Our step-by-step guide will lay out everything you need to consider when booking the wedding venue of your dreams from start to finish - so you can your special someone can get hitched without a hitch. Are you currently pulling your hair out searching for a London wedding venue? Relax, take a read of our guide, and start to get excited for your big day. We hear wedding bells!

1. Set A Date

Your special someone has got down on one knee and asked you to marry them (hooray!). You're crying happy tears as you gladly accept (Alexa, play It Must Be Love). You're dancing around the kitchen together listening to your favourite songs. You're excitedly calling your friends and family to tell them the wonderful news. You're meshing both your surnames together to see how it looks on paper. You're in a "I-just-got-engaged-and-I'm-loving it" bubble. Exciting stuff, hey?

But this bubble of pure ecstasy is quickly overshadowed by a dark, dark cloud. A dark cloud by the name of - wedding planning. But relax. The fastest way to get to where you want to be is one step at a time. And the first step in your wedding planning journey? Setting a date.

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Like virtually everything in this fast-moving city, wedding venues in London become fully booked faster than you can say Piccadilly. Especially if you're wanting a world heritage site, country house, or luxury hotel to hold your incoming nuptials in.

We recommend that you set a wedding date well in advance so you give yourself more than enough time to think, plan, strategize and book. Then you can start to look for your perfect location and cross reference its availability to see if it matches the date you and your partner had in mind.

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We know that there is nothing worse than leaving something to the last minute and feeling your hand is forced when making an important decision. Especially when it comes to picking a wedding venue for your special day. After all, if all goes well, this'll be your only wedding (hehehe). So you want to make it count.

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This all sounds blindingly obvious, we know. But you'd be surprised how many couples make such an important choice So if you get engaged in the summer, let's say, try to book a venue 12 to 15 months in advance to avoid disappointment and ensure you have lots of venues to choose from.

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2. Choose Your Season

Shout out all of you disorganized honeys! This one goes out to you. Granted, this kind of goes hand in hand with what we covered in the previous paragraph. Usually, we'd say don't even think of looking for venues until you've selected the date. But sadly, life does not always work out that way. So we understand that in some cases, this is not always strictly possible. Although it is not always encouraged, it is still possible to start planning your wedding when you only have a rough idea for a date in mind.

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So if you do not have a concrete date yet, perhaps start by agreeing what season you'd want to tie the knot. Sure, it's typical to have a summer wedding here in the UK. But an autumn or winter wedding can be picturesque as heck, too, especially in a central London venue or a luxury hotel. Plus, a more flexible idea of the nuptials date can be helpful when picking a venue hire. Sometimes this gives you more options to play with.

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3. Decide Your Budget

Next step. It's time to decide your budget (Gulp). We know, deciding your wedding budget is almost as daunting as trying to get a seat on the Bakerloo Line during rush hour. No matter if you have visualized a massive shindig or an intimate ceremony, you must agree on a budget before looking for your perfect venue. It gives you a ballpark of what you're working with, and how much hard-earned moolah you can put toward your wedding venue hire.

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Your budget will also differ depending on whether you want your wedding in South East London, South West London, East London, or North London. This goes without saying, but a wedding ceremony in a central London location or in one of London's historic buildings will obviously be more expensive than a wedding in one of the greater London neighborhoods. So be mindful of this, folks. One important thing to note, too: your wedding venue, drinks reception and catering will eat up to half of your budget - so choose wisely (no pressure or anything!)

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4. Decide Your (Rough) Guest List

When planning a wedding, your brain runs amuck with potential guests you want to (or feel like you have to) invite. Close family and friends? Check. Uni mates? Check. Work buddies? Check. Gym pals? Check. That friend of a friend from that dinner party that one time? Not so much. Ok. Maybe your guest list doesn't have to be set in stone just yet.

But we recommend that you and your partner have a sit down and draw up a loose guest list to get an idea of how big (or how small) your wedding reception venue needs to be. If you've got your sights set on a larger venue, we suggest Proud Embankment. It's the perfect backdrop if you're wanting a Central London venue for your big day. It's designed with dark, opulent wood with luxurious gold accents. And, a grand staircase that's perfect for your entrance as a first-time married couple! Alexa, play Endless Love. With a 350 seating capacity or 420 standing capacity, Proud Embankment has plenty of room for your guests to jive, boogie, mingle and fight over that wedding bouquet!

Proud City Venue Private Hire

On the other hand, if an intimate venue is more up your street, you should check out our sister venue, Proud City. Look, we'd be wrong not to clue you in about Proud City. Especially if you want somewhere smaller, or a wedding venue with a unique design. For example, its design is an homage to the Prohibition days - perfect if you want a themed wedding! Boasting a 235 seated and 300 standing capacity, it's the perfect backdrop for anyone that wants only their nearest and dearest at their nuptials. Plus it's got state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, so your guests can dance and do The Hora to their heart's content!

But either way, your wedding needs a stunning backdrop, are we right or are we right?! Nevertheless, a cheeky guesstimation of your guest list will help you narrow down the wedding venue search. And help you find a wedding venue that has the right capacity for your wedding ceremony.

5. Determine Your Wedding Style

One of the best things about us humans is our diversity. It'd be awfully boring if we all had the same fashion sense or music taste, for example. The same goes for wedding venues. Whilst some couples are drawn to traditional wedding venues like churches, others opt for a boutique hotel hidden gem, a beach, an iconic London landmark, or an outdoor space like Greenwich park. Whatever your style, you want a unique venue that fits your vision.

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And because London is one of the best cities for diversity, it naturally has a plethora of event spaces to suit every unique taste. Fancy an evening reception at picturesque estates Chiswick House, Syon Park or Somerset House? Or an unconventional outdoor ceremony at Trafalgar Square or Covent Garden, bathed in natural light in the midst of the city?

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Talk about a unique venue! How about reception drinks at a luxury hotel with a modern style private entrance and stunning interiors? Is that more your style? Whatever your desired location, there's a humungous array of amazing venues to choose from in London. So much so, that there are more wedding reception venues in London than there are tube stations. Now that's what we call variety!

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6. Brainstorm Catering Options

Food, glorious food! It's a gospel truth that food is one of the most important elements behind the success of your wedding day. Just like the venue, the quality of the food is something your guests will remember long after the wedding ceremony. This may seem silly that we're dedicating a whole section to food. But hear us out.

Some couples think that catering is automatically included in wedding reception venues. It would save a lot of hassle if it was! But unfortunately, this is not always true. You must do your due diligence when it comes to researching caterers. Especially when it concerns London wedding venues. If you want a London wedding venue with an internal caterer, make sure to double-check this before you book anything. Also, be mindful that some London wedding venues do not accept external caterers. For example, you may have found an adorable southwest London venue hire that's right up your street. But it doesn't provide catering.

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Or let's say you've continued searching and now have your eyes on a gorgeous west London reception venue. And they do internal catering. But the cuisine is not to your taste - and it doesn't accept external caterers (uh oh). Scratch that one. Then you come across a delightful historic venue in West London that has stellar catering. But the catch? It does not provide vegetarian or vegan food. This may all sound a bit pessimistic. But all is not lost.

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After some dedicated searching, you've finally found a wedding reception venue in central London that allows external catering - yippee! This emphasis on wedding food may all seem a bit pedantic. But the enjoyment of your guests is almost as important as choosing the right person to marry. And part of making sure your guests have fun is ensuring their dietary needs are taken care of. Not only do you need a wedding reception venue with a perfect backdrop, but the food also needs to accommodate all of your guests.

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So be mindful that whatever caterer you choose has plenty of options for the gluten-free, vegetarian and plant-based honeys you're planning on inviting. You wouldn't like if it you were vegan and you were attending a London wedding venue with zero vegan food, now would you? After all, you want your guests happy and not hangry on your big day!

7. Double Check Supplier Extras

If you've been paying attention, you'll know by now that a wedding day has lots of moving parts to it. And another one of those moving parts you need to consider? The wedding extras. Now it's time to consider and research all the extra bits you need for your wedding day to go swimmingly. What are we on about? We're talking about the wedding photographer, wedding flowers, and wedding cake. To name a few. Some London wedding venues already include this in their wedding packages.

But you may want to put your own unique twist on your wedding day. You might want to enlist the help of close friends to make the wedding cake or take photos, for example. But just be aware that some venues do not allow external suppliers to take care of things like this. So if you want to make your wedding unique to you, double-check whether your list of potential wedding reception venues in London allows for external suppliers.

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8. Brainstorm Wedding Entertainment Options

The age-old question: to be, or not to be? The age-old wedding question: band, or DJ? Just like wedding cuisine, this will differ from couple to couple. Some want a classic swing band. Others want a naughty house-techno DJ set. Either way, you must double-check that potential venues allow for external entertainers. And whichever option you choose, you must check that your potential wedding venues in London have the capacity to host a band or DJ. You'll thank us later!

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Narrow Down Your Options and Choose Your Venue

Now you've considered all of the important elements, it's time to narrow down your choices, and get a booking! We recommend making a list of your favorites and brainstorming the pros and cons of each potential wedding reception venue. Thanks to us, you should now have the 4-1-1 on all things wedding planning. Now you can start investigating London wedding venues well-armed with all the info you need and things you need to watch out for. We'll leave you with that famous quote we mentioned before: the greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.

Happy booking folks!


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