Jane says: "In the North East, we're so spoilt for the number of wedding venues available, and many are a blank canvas, such as a barn, village hall, marquee, garden or wooded areas. It may be daunting to choose a blank canvas for your big day, but it will allow you to design a space that hasn't been created before.
"So, where do you start? Firstly, it's essential to think about your love story and makes you different as a couple as this will help you work out the vision and help you create your wedding full of personal touches. Visit your venue space, take lots of photos of all the different areas inside and out, as it's so much easier to plan when you have these at hand. It's also a good idea to take along your stylist or wedding planner as someone with experience in pulling together lots of your fragmented ideas will help in the long run to keep your costs down and bring your vision together.
"It's helpful to have a 3D mood board where you can add on photos, fabric swatches and other materials you're planning to use. Remember to try and work with your venue's style and its features, working against them can increase costs and can cause things to look out of place and confused.
"Most venues will have some sort of lighting in but think about the different areas you want to create; you may want to add some softer lighting into your seating areas. For example, could you add extra fairylights to the ceiling space to make it more atmospheric during the evening rather than full lights?
"Think about how you can reuse elements of your decorations throughout the day, reusing props can free up your budget, allowing you more scope within your design. A popular trend is using wedding favours as part of the tablescape. Small potted succulents look fab as a table decoration, and you could add a luggage label with your guest's names on to help with the seating plan, killing three birds with one stone.
"Soft furnishings are a great way to soften an ample space and help make a venue have a cosier feel. Several small sofa areas always look great as a photo booth or somewhere for older relatives to sit and chat. If you have a vast space or an outdoor area, a box of blankets is always a good edition for sitting on the grass during the day and wrapped around shoulders in the evening."
Jane Flatman | Birdcages and Dragonflies | www.birdcagesanddragonflies.com
Image courtesy of www.jossguestphotography.co.uk