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5 pictures are shown and include the refectory at The Forest Centre, Beechwood Park School main building exterior, The Mossman Gallery at Stockwood Discovery Centre, a wedding reception set up in Harlington village hall, and the decorated entrance to Ever

Why Choose a Community Space as a Wedding Venue?

Many couples opt for a hotel venue because they think it'll be easier to have everything you need for your wedding in one place, and that works for some couples but not for everyone. Community venues are a cost effective option, offering lots of scope for your DIY wedding. Want to know more? Then read on…

First things first

What are community wedding venues? Well I consider these to be the community centres, village halls, school halls, back rooms and hubs for whom weddings or venue hire isn't their number one purpose. Some are without a doubt a bit unloved, under-marketed and a little rough and ready, but others you will find are absolute gems. Hidden in plain sight, or maybe off the beaten track, but absolutely stunning, gorgeous blank canvas venues that are a bargain to hire.

The best part

The main thing that community wedding venues have going for them, that you don't often get in hotel venues, is the option to choose literally everything yourselves. Village halls and community centres generally don't have restrictions like in-house catering or bar provision, always best to check though.
Some will have a bar area that you can fill with your own 'stock', some will even supply glasses for various types of drink, but you could also hire in a bar company to run a cocktail bar for you, or a standard bar. It just means you don't have to worry about getting in the stock and who serves it etc. Don't want to offer a bar, then make it into a hot drink station or ice cream bar.
Most of this type of venue will also offer you a kitchen. Some will be amazingly well set up with ovens, fridges and work surfaces, as well as all the crockery, glassware and cutlery you'll need, others not so much. When you're doing your viewing, check what's included and make a list. When the time comes to think about what food you serve or what caterers you bring in, you'll need to know what is there for you already, and what you need to supply yourselves.

Food options

Your catering options are huge, but do you do it all yourselves or bring in a caterer with serving staff? The choice is yours. Again, it'll be easier to have a professional caterer do all the hard work for you, but you'll have all the facilities you need for prep and serving. Three course meal, barbeque, paella, food truck, buffet, afternoon tea, the choice really is yours. A good caterer will come with all the tools they need, serve how you like it and clean up after themselves - it's a huge weight off your shoulders.
But equally, if you have family who can provide food for you then you know you will get exactly what you want, just remember that you'll need a team of guests to clear up at the end.

The cost

The other big draw for community venues for your wedding is the hire fee. When compared to an average hotel wedding venue, the hall hire prices are a tiny fraction of the cost, giving you a lot of scope to spend more money elsewhere or to make huge savings. And just because you're using a community venue doesn't mean you have to scrimp on decorations. Good venue decorators will travel to wherever you are and set up in a way that can look just like any other type of venue. You'll probably still have room for extras like a photobooth, candy cart or chocolate fountain. You still set up your tables and chairs in the same way, you may even opt for drapes or a flower wall; anything you add can make your budget or DIY wedding look amazing.

The down sides

You're unlikely find a community space that is licensed for legal wedding ceremonies, though that doesn't mean you can't opt instead for a celebrant-led ceremony.
You may literally need to think about everything: tablecloths, décor, food, drink, crockery, cutlery, glasses and more. But if you plan wisely this shouldn't be a problem at all.
You'll need to set up everything and possibly on the same day as your wedding. Check the venue for leeway and if not recruit someone to do it all for you (I can help with that).
You may need to look for accommodation ie hotels in the area and let your guests know where they should book.
You'll generally need to do the clean-up yourselves - for this 'many hands make light work', so get your friends and family on board and you'll be done in no time.

Final thoughts

Choice is the watchword with using community spaces for your wedding. But if too much choice is daunting for you, I can help you make decisions and recommend some of the best suppliers around to make your community venue wedding reception amazing.

Happy Planning x