EXPERT ADVICE

FAQs and expert advice about venues

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your North East Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yournortheast.wedding

Planned To Perfection

Planned To Perfection

Q My hubby-to-be and I are looking for our dream wedding venue, but we're not sure where to start. Do you have any suggestions?
A The Team says: Social media is a great source of information and joining wedding planning groups is really helpful in getting some ideas and opinions from people who either work in the industry or have recently been married themselves. There are also some great regional groups and pages asking local residents for suggestions.

Decide on guest numbers pretty early on so you can filter your search by capacity. Some venues have strict minimum numbers, so if you can't meet them, you'll end up paying over the odds and potentially being disappointed. Similarly, some venues (like ours) have smaller capacities, so again, it's good to have an idea in your head before you find your dream venue and find out it's not suitable.

Bridal magazines are a lovely way to get some inspiration, and what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than flicking through all the glossy images?

The Team, Blackton Grange

Trend Setter

Trend Setter

Q What wedding trends will be popular in 2024?
A Suzanne Brampton says: For socially savvy brides and grooms, it's just as important that your special day looks just as good on the grid as it does in real life. In 2023, we saw plenty of dedicated members of the bridal party being tasked with the role of 'content curator' for the day, but to take this one step further, we do expect to see professional content creators overseeing couples' socials for the day. The idea behind this is that you can be more present during the day and not have to worry too much about capturing things to share on social media.

Weekend staycation weddings are another growing trend. Couples are looking beyond the traditional one-day event and are opting for extended festivities lasting two to three days, so they can fully enjoy time with their guests like they would at a destination celebration but in a more cost-effective way.

With eco-consciousness on the rise, couples are making more mindful decisions when it comes to their big day by focusing on innovative ways to be kinder to the planet. Some common themes across sustainable weddings include organically grown and sourced food, recycled and upcycled decorations, growing plants and flowers as opposed to cut flowers and second-hand dresses.

Taking a step away from tradition, couples are searching for impressive photo moments and opportunities to wow their guests while keeping it classy. For some couples, this could look like a planned dance with choreography, statement food, or lavish décor. However, one trend that is hot on social media and shows no signs of slowing down is the champagne tower, a risky but rather luxurious and fun addition to any wedding.

From bouquets to dresses, mini is in for 2024. An increasing number of brides are opting for more understated options when it comes to the flowers they take on their journey down the aisle, as well as opting out of the traditional bouquet toss. The mini theme can be seen across many modern weddings, with brides also disrupting the norms by choosing short wedding and reception dresses. Comfort is key for the modern bride, and being able to enjoy a night of dancing and celebrations could be the reason for the smaller garments and accessories.

Gone are the days of standing for the entire ceremony; an up-and-coming trend is to have seated bridal parties to make for a more comfortable experience throughout the ceremony. Not only comfort, but having the bridal party be seated allows for attention and focus to remain on the couple during their ceremony.

Suzanne Brampton, Wynyard Hall

Dance The Night Away

Dance The Night Away

Q We're having an engagement party and were wondering what music we should include to keep everyone entertained?
A The Expert says: In order to plan the perfect engagement party, we have crunched the numbers on around 1,000 Spotify engagement party playlists, finding the most popular songs to be: I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) by Whitney Houston, Dancing in the Moonlight by Toploader, Dancing Queen by ABBA and Mr. Brightside by The Killers.

We have created a playlist that brings the best dancefloor fillers together and provides the perfect soundtrack for your special evening. Of course, you should add your own personal choices, such as the song you heard on your first date, the tune that played when you fell in love, or the song that was playing when you knew your partner was the one.

The Expert, Langley Castle Hotel

The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors

Q My fiancé and I are looking for our venue but want to get married outside. What should we keep in mind?
A Olivia Lockey says: If you get the right weather, there's nothing nicer than exchanging vows under the open sky. However, I advise you to keep an open mind and be fine with last-minute changes due to rain or heavy wind. Bear in mind the temperature, too; if you have the sun beaming down, make sure there's shade for you and your guests. Likewise, if it's a cold day, are you and your guests going to get chilly?

At Northside Farm, we have our Gingang, the perfect happy medium for an outdoor wedding. It's a round building, creating an intimate ceremony room, but surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows and boasting panoramic views of the countryside. It's even got underfloor heating for colder months and open doors to let the breeze through on summer days.

Olivia Lockey, Northside Farm

Seaside Affair

Seaside Affair

Q We want to wed by the sea for some summer beach pictures; but are struggling to find a head turning venue to accommodate 100 guests. Help!
A Gavin Turner-Groombridge says: With the best views in Tynemouth, you'll be hard pressed to find a better venue than The Grand Hotel Tynemouth! Set upon a clifftop with magnificent views of Longsands Beach, the hotel was built in the nineteenth century and epitomises the grandeur and luxury of this era. We hold ceremonies in two rooms within the hotel, the Pearl for up to 100 or the Orchid for 120; with your wedding breakfast held on the first floor in our Orchid Suite. You can even enhance your experience in our newly refurbished roof terrace giving you everything you want from a seaside venue. Just picture it: the North Sea in the background, cocktail from the outdoor bar in hand, while keeping warm by the firepits.

Gavin Turner-Groombridge, Grand Hotel Tynemouth

Night fever

Night fever

Q We want a wedding package that doesn't start until later in the afternoon, as we don't want our guests leaving early as the day's gone on too long. What do you suggest?
A Lauren Davidson says: Our brand new Twilight Wedding Package has just launched due to popular demand, and is perfect for couples who wish to break away from the formalities of a full-day wedding. The package has been created without a few of the usual traditions, providing guests with a fun, party feel experience to celebrate your special day. You can choose to have your (optional) wedding ceremony at the venue any time from 4pm, followed by delicious canapés, reception drinks and time for plenty of photos. From here, we direct guests up to our Queen View Suite which will be ready for your evening reception. Our experienced Master of Ceremonies will then announce you, as well as being on hand for speeches and cake cutting, before directing friends and family to our hot gourmet buffet. Exclusive to 2023 and available to book for any remaining Mondays to Fridays, the package is priced at £2,500 for up to 75 guests, with the option to add additional guests if you would like.

Lauren Davidson, Webster’s Ropery

Plan of action

Plan of action

Q We're just starting our big-day journey and neither of us have a clue what we should look for when booking a venue. Is there anything in particular we should consider?
A Jade Ellis says: Start by making your rough guest list, considering whether you're going big or keeping the circle small. Next… what's your style? Have you ever had a vision of how your dream wedding would be? Is it traditional, contemporary, or rustic? If you're not sure, go and explore a mix of venues with your partner and see which gives you the wow factor!

Remember, it isn't just how the venue looks, but also how warming the staff and wedding coordinator are, as you want to work with someone who can bring your vision to life. Also bear in mind the space, as you want enough for free movement – but not too much that your guests are playing hide and seek all night.

Finally, consider your budget, grabbing a brochure at every venue so you can do your homework and see what each package has to offer. Don't be disheartened if some venues don't offer packages that exactly meet your needs – most will be open to upgrades or creating a bespoke package to make your wedding personal to you. It is your day after all!

Jade Ellis, Wynyard Golf Club

The perfect setting

The perfect setting

Q What questions are important to ask venues before we book one for our wedding?
A Mariel Jones says: When looking for your wedding venue, make sure to check with each property that there's availability on your desired date. Spring and summer weddings are always popular, so these months do tend to get filled up pretty quickly.

It's good to have in mind a set budget and figure out how you want to spend it – make sure to prioritise the most important aspects of your day first.

Find out if your wedding will be the only one held that day, as it's essential to understand how everything will run in terms of service and attentiveness. Get to know your wedding coordinator, as they will work closely with you to turn your dream day into a reality.

Mariel Jones, Wynyard Hall

Dream backdrops

Dream backdrops

Q We're just starting our wedding journey, but neither of us has a clue what we should look for when booking a venue. What advice can you share with us?
A Helen Bush says: There's a lot to consider when looking at a wedding venue, and it's important to make sure that the property meets all of your requirements. For example, is the size of the wedding spaces appropriate for your number of guests and is it within budget? You'll need to find out if the venue has a ceremony license, what decorations are offered and the timings on the day.

Don't forget the most important end goal of this whole experience, which is to have fun, get married, and make everlasting memories! Aside from the venue playing a significant part in your day, it's equally important that you feel relaxed and trust your wedding coordinator, who will help organise your special day and be your point of contact throughout the planning process.

Helen Bush, Grand Hotel, Tynemouth

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