Your wedding day is a milestone you’ll cherish forever, and choosing the right venue is key.
West Sussex is the sunniest place in the UK, and as one of the area’s largest and liveliest towns, Crawley is a great place to hold your special day. Wedding venues near Crawley are diverse, and benefit from both the nearby Gatwick Airport and the local country parks and National Trust sites in the surrounding areas. But how do you pick the perfect venue – one that fits both your vision and your budget?
In this guide, we’ll be sharing our top tips on choosing the right wedding venue in Crawley, whether you’re dreaming of a large garden ceremony or a more intimate affair.
We all have an image of how we want our dream wedding to look. We also all have a second image in our minds, which takes a budget into consideration.
If your two images vary wildly, you should consider the best places in which to cut costs without losing the essence of your dream wedding. There’s a huge range of wedding venues in Crawley and the greater West Sussex area, from large country parks and estates to beautiful, intimate hotels.
Wedding Venue Money Saving Tips:
- Look for venues which offer all inclusive wedding packages
- Find a venue with resources like furniture, linens and cutlery so you don’t need to hire them
- Choose a venue that can host your entire wedding including the ceremony, reception and accommodation if needed
- Shrink your guestlist so you can choose a smaller, more intimate venue
- Consider off-peak dates such as weekdays and winter weddings
It might seem obvious, but the first thing you should consider when you’re looking for your perfect Crawley wedding venue is whether or not it can accommodate all of your loved ones. Put together the first draft of your guest list before you start putting wedding venues on your shortlist so you have a good idea of how many people you want to invite.
This process is unlikely to be cut-and-dry – you’ll probably need to go back to your guest list a few times once you know which venues you like and can afford. You may decide to invite some guests to the entire wedding, and others to the reception only. It’s also important to consider how many of your guests will be coming from afar, where they’ll be staying, plus the size of your wedding party.
Guest list questions to consider when choosing a wedding venue near Crawley:
- Does the venue have on-site accommodation, or will you need to arrange this elsewhere?
- If the venue does provide accommodation, is there enough for you and your wedding party?
- What is the venue’s capacity for the ceremony, meal, and reception?
- Is there room for you to invite plus ones?
Proximity to Ceremony and Reception Sites
There’s a lot of moving parts on your wedding day, so the more you can minimise the distance you, your wedding party and your guests will have to travel to get to the venue, the better. Of course, you’re bound to have some guests travelling from far and wide for your big day, so it’s important to have some nearby accommodation options you can suggest to them. Better yet, hire an exclusive-use wedding venue in Crawley where you and your guests can stay on-site – no need to worry about taxis!
If you’ve got lots of guests coming from overseas, consider hiring a wedding venue near Gatwick Airport to minimise travel time. Despite being the UK’s second largest airport, Gatwick is surrounded by nature – ten minutes down the road, you’ll come to the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
If your ceremony and reception will be held at different venues, aim for these to be as close together as possible, both to save time and to be more convenient for your guests.
Buchan Country Park, Crawley
Everyone has different ideas when it comes to the perfect wedding settings and atmospheres. Some love the idea of being out in nature, others look for venues with beautiful architecture to serve as their backdrop. Whatever your preference, make sure you take the time to visit the Crawley wedding venues on your shortlist before you book your wedding – photographs can be deceiving.
Parking & Accessibility
If your guests will be arriving at the venue by car, make sure there is adequate parking at or near the venue. If the parking is limited, it’s worth researching and recommending other ways of getting there to your guests such as local buses and taxis. You want the arrival of your attendees to be as hassle-free as possible, with no one ending up late for the ceremony!
It’s also very important to consider the accessibility of the venue for any of your guests with mobility needs. This can include:
- Step-free access
- Wheelchair accessibility – including wide doors, moveable furniture, and ramps and lifts if needed
- Accessible toilet facilities
- Accessible rooms if required by a guest who is staying over
Venue Style and Aesthetic
Wedding venues in Crawley offer a lot of variety in terms of style and architecture, whether you’re looking for a traditional, rustic venue with exposed wooden beams and hardwood flooring, or something more contemporary. Whilst you’ll be able to decorate your chosen venue, adding personalised flairs and finishing touches, choosing a good base will help your vision come to life much more easily.
Credit: Jeff Sham Photography
Personalising the Space
Before you book, discuss your vision for your wedding with the venue and make sure they can adapt it to match your vision. They may have various styles of chairs available or they may allow you to choose which specific room you hold your ceremony in. They may also have limits and restrictions on what you can change. Finding out what is possible before you book will help prevent headaches further down the line!
Services and Amenities
Many hotels and restaurants which double as function rooms in Crawley will offer in-house catering, which can reduce costs and hassle as you won’t have to hire any external vendors for equipment and catering staff. Make sure you’re clear on what your venue can and cannot do and make sure you work with them to create the perfect menu for your Crawley wedding.
Some wedding venues in Crawley have dedicated wedding planners available to work with both you and the venue to organise the perfect day. Because these planners work directly with the venue, they’ll have plenty of knowledge regarding the local area, reliable suppliers and tips on how to make your wedding day the best it can be.
Venue Regulations and Policies
Some venues have noise restrictions in place after certain times, particularly those in built-up residential areas. It’s worth finding out if this is the case before you book your venue, as it could influence the type of entertainment you book.
Is your wedding venue licensed to sell alcohol? If it’s a hotel or restaurant, it likely will be, but for outdoor weddings in a country park, the case may be different. The last thing you want is to come to do the toasts when your wedding gets shut down by the council!
Credit: Jeff Sham Photography
Flexibility in vendor choices
Many Crawley wedding venues will have their preferred suppliers after years of trading in the local area. This can include anything from florists and photographers to equipment rentals and DJs. However, you might have someone else in mind that you’d like to use, so make sure your wedding venue allows flexibility in these choices.
Weather Contingency Plans
Outdoor vs. indoor venues
This is the United Kingdom, after all, so the weather is unfortunately something you’ll always have to consider, whether you’ll be getting hitched in January or July. The largest of these considerations is the nature of your venue itself: should you choose an indoor venue, or an outdoor venue?
Whilst outdoor venues come with a lot of benefits such as more space, more flexibility in decorations, and an incredible backdrop for your wedding, there are potential drawbacks. Consider the risk of weather and the potential increase in costs due to the need to hire more vendors. Also think about allergies – an outdoor ceremony in a gorgeous garden surrounded by flowers in May might not be the best choice for couples with hayfever.
Tents and marquee options
The use of tents and marquees in your outdoor wedding can go some way to solving some of the potential drawbacks. These will keep your event protected in the event of rain, and it will also offer some shaded respite to you and your guests should you be blessed with a day of sun.
Visiting Potential Venues
It’s important to visit any wedding venues near Crawley on your shortlist before you book your wedding, as exploring the venue in person will give you the chance to check everything out for yourself and form your own opinions on the facilities. This will also give you the opportunity to talk to the venue’s staff and ask any questions you may have.
Questions to ask when visiting a potential wedding venue:
- Is the venue available on our desired wedding date?
- Are there any other events scheduled for the same date?
- Do you have different layout options for ceremonies and receptions?
- Are there any additional costs or hidden fees?
- Is there a tasting session available to sample the menu?
- Are there any restrictions on the use of candles or confetti?
- Can we access the venue for setup and decoration before the wedding day?
- What are the time restrictions for the event?
- What is your cancellation policy?
Reviews and Recommendations
Credit: Jeff Sham Photography
As well as visiting the venue, it’s a good idea to seek reviews and recommendations from people who have previously held their weddings there as they may be able to give you more insight as well as some tips and suggestions. For example, there could be something the venue doesn’t provide or something they overlooked themselves.
Find Out More About a Crawley Wedding Venue
To find out more about our stunning Crawley wedding venue visit our weddings page and download our Venue Hire Charge brochure. Alternatively, our in-house wedding coordinator, Brianna, is always on hand to answer any questions and provide you with anything you may need.