Diary Of A Real Bride: The Venue Hunt | Loren Penney
Diary Of A Real Bride
After meeting our new ‘real bride’ Loren last month, we were keen to find out how she’s getting on with the wedding planning process – especially considering that she has never really considered herself to be ‘bride-y’! In her second installment, we join Loren as she searches for the perfect wedding venue, and discover where she and her fiancé have decided to get married. Read on to find out all about this important decision!
Once the elation and drawn-out celebrations of our engagement passed, it was time to knuckle down to business and actually plan the big day itself. I will be completely honest; nothing had quite prepared me for the ‘wedding venue search’. Not knowing much about wedding planning, I assumed that sourcing and deciding upon a place to say your vows would be relatively easy, but I’m sure past brides would chuckle at this naive sentiment and current brides-to-be will agree when I say that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Without a personal or family connection to a specific area or even a continent outside of Dubai and our home country of the UK, the world really was our oyster and we quickly learned that sometimes having infinite options is actually detrimental to making any sort of decision, especially when trying to find something that ticks both the style and budget boxes.
My dreams of a whimsical beach wedding in a far off land with the smell of the sea and sand beneath my toes were quickly dashed when I realised that my other half didn’t quite share the same vision and was imagining a big, white wedding. Luckily, we are both more than happy to compromise due to our mutual agreement that it is the marriage and not just the wedding that is the most important thing and also when we learnt what an average UK wedding costs. We then, armed with an iPad and a lots of determination, set upon the momentous task of finding that perfect in between place, ideal for an intimate wedding of just family and close friends, neither one (luckily) wanting a guest list that ran into the hundreds, yet still somewhere that we could apply traditional elements to.
It is no lie when I say that we spent hours upon hours (sometimes even whole weekends) scrolling through venue listing sites from our native UK, frantically emailing event RFPs back and forth. Here, we also began to realise that our venue options were rather limited; rustic barn, traditional country houses and the odd quirky city location were the three distinct categories, and we struggled to find something when reliant only on a brief selection of photographs shot on an unnaturally sunny day with a wide-angle lens. Due to this fact, I popped back home to the UK for a few days to view many an overpriced crumbling barn and a selection of stately homes nestled in the countryside that although boasting Instagram-worthy gardens, had interiors that left a lot to be desired. Here, I also discovered that I am actually quite particular about carpets. And curtains.
We also came to comprehend that perhaps, just perhaps, we are a little bit spoiled living in a part of the world where bigger is better, a place where most of the hotels boast a worthy 5-star rating and the standard of accommodation and service is unrivalled, and that maybe we were applying our ‘Dubai standards’ to rural England, which wasn’t really fair or realistic. Both our minds simultaneously started to wander to a Dubai wedding….
Obviously, a wedding far from your hometown has both its pros and cons. We knew that by planning a wedding 4,000 miles from home, where the majority of our friends and family are based, might mean that some people will not be able to come. We also knew that several things might be just that little more expensive, BUT (and it is a but worthy of capital letters), it would be a lot easier for a self-confessed ‘control freak’ like me to oversee and would take away a lot of the stress that threatened to loom over our wedding. Discussing in length with our immediate families, we were surprised to learn that many of them were actually longing for us to plan a Dubai wedding, meaning that they got the perfect excuse to book a holiday in the sunshine! The fact that those we love most were on board made the decision for us.
I remembered an event that I attended at a beautiful Dubai hotel nestled along the beach last year, and immediately knew that it would be perfect for the al fresco, sunset wedding that I longed for. A quick visit and the fiancé also fell in love with it. Hurrah! Safe in the knowledge that we have made the right decision, we are now racing against the seasons to organise a wedding next April before the temperature heats up.
Now I just need to find the dress!