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The DIY wedding Venue – what you gotta know

As I explained at the beginning of this blog posting malarkey, The Dish Dolly came about as I was tasked with the planning of my sister and her fiance’s wedding next year. As they are based in Melbourne and getting married here in Ireland, it made more sense for myself and our Mam to take on the booking and planning and flapping about like headless chickens. They had chosen their own venue whilst at home on holiday so that was a great starting point. The venue is a private castle ran as a B&B so the whole wedding is DIY. We have booked it out for 3 days for venue and room hire and the rest is up to us!I’ll try my best to outline a basic list of things to do, things you need and things you’ll probably forget you need for a DIY wedding venue!

– First things first, make sure the venues you are viewing are appropriate for what you want to achieve on your wedding day. For example, if you picture your day with lawn games and champagne on the terrace make sure the outdoor space at the venue is clean and accessible and pretty. If you want a full on disco vibe for the late party make sure they have a large reception room or dancefloor and the right power outlets for the major sub woofer for banging out tunes late into the night
– Ask your venue what is and isn’t included in the hire of the venue. One of the most important points is from a staffing side so ask do they have any bar staff or waitresses on site and do they come in the venue hire price. You don’t want Uncle Mick who runs a pub end up acting bartender for the day! Generally, venues will have a list of trusted suppliers such as caterers etc so have a look at this and contact some in advance
– Do a recci of the venue for marquee measurements if required, the number of toilets available, facilities for external caterers to use, accessible power points and parking on site for those guests who’ll be travelling. Make sure you have all info to hand when contacting suppliers – it makes it so much easier to know exactly what you need!
– Ensure you notify the venue manager on site whenever you need to pop by with a caterer or marquee company just to keep the realationship nice and friendly. You don’t want to arrive in your gym gear to double check the size of the garden with a black tie do going on!
– Make a list of suppliers that you will need to make your big day go as smooth possible. Generally speaking the lower the number of suppliers needed, the smoother the planning will be! If the marquee supplier doubles up as chair and table hire company go for this option.
– If you’re having a civil ceremony using a HSE registrar check to see if your venue has already been vetted by the HSE. If not, they will need to carry out an inspection a few weeks before your wedding date (see my earlier blogfor all things related to civil ceremonies)
– Always ensure that there is an option for a fully covered ceremony and reception! Given the unpredictability of the Irish weather (Have you looked out your window today?!) even summer weddings need to plan accordingly for rain and wind

So on to what you need for your venue supplier wise:
Caterer – There are literally thousands of caterers nationwide that cater for small or big affairs. Narrow it down by really thinking about if you want a sit down formal meal, a buffet or a BBQ wedding meal. Most catering companies will make you a menu based on your likes and budget once you enquire so gather a few quotes before deciding on the one. Our final choice was Turning Tables catering based in Naas with a tasting planned for December when my sister is home.
Florist – Flowers can be as big or as little a deal for your wedding as you want. As the current trend seems to be more is more this can be an area where the budget goes mental! But if you use small posies and bunches of peonies etc creatively a little can go a long way for your venue
Marquee – You may or may not need an extra space for guests at your venue but ALWAYS check if there is a local marquee lad in the area of your venue. More than likely they will be better value and may know the venue owner already making it a lot easier to explain what you want. We have chosen a local supplier,Cavan Marquees for the wedding next year
Furniture hire – As I said earlier, marquee suppliers may also offer furniture hire so check first. There are lots of budget hire companies across the country but again check locally! In a small town sometimes the local community hall or school rent out tables during the summer months
Crockery and glass hire – most caterers supply all tableware items but if you want specific items such as crystal whisky glasses the best option is to use a bespoke supplier, such as The Dish Dolly!
Bar and wait staff – This is such an important bit that people may forget! However DIY your wedding will be, the last thing you want is bridesmaids and groomsmen flying around serving beef bourgignon and mini meringues all day. So be prepared with bar staff and some wait staff. Ask your caterer if they include service and if you need extra bar staff contact a local pub etc for some contacts of young people looking to make a few extra quid for the day
Obviously, there can be as little or as much planning as you want for a DIY wedding but think of the personalisation by going with this option! Possibilities are endless and this is just the tip of the iceberg but the reward of knowing you did it your way is endless
Good Luck!

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