Congratulations! Your special someone popped the question, you’ve decided on having a destination wedding in Barcelona…and now it’s time to pick a wedding venue! Are you dreaming of a Castle, a rooftop terrace or perhaps a rustic location in the countryside? Regardless of whether you are looking to have a hip, urban wedding or a romantic ceremony with sea views, there are various things to consider before making a down payment for your wedding venue. Read on for our top 6 tips to choosing a wedding venue:

The maximum capacity of the venue

It goes without saying that a wedding venue should be able to fit the maximum number of guests that you are inviting – yet we often encounter Couples who have already booked a wedding venue, without taking into account the capacity. What does this mean? If your wedding venue has a maximum capacity of, for example, 80 guests, and your guest list is 120, you won’t be able to fit 40 guests at the reception. Not only will this cause great upset to the guests who will be seated in a different area than the Bride and Groom, but it will also entail additional costs for you, given that you will need to source marquees, generators, portable bathrooms and many other additional items to squeeze them in. So our first tip for you is: ask the wedding venue what their maximum capacity is, without any additional costs, and ensure it is suitable for your wedding size. 

Castell de Sant Marçal, Barcelona

Majestic Castle just 20 minutes from Barcelona.

Plan B in case of bad weather

Luckily, and as mentioned in the previous blog article having a destination wedding in Barcelona implies that you are (almost) guaranteed a beautiful, sunny day for your wedding on any given day of the year. However, we do get sporadic days of rain, and we do have a “wet” season – the saying “April showers bring May flowers” is a definite reality here  – so it is important that your wedding venue has a good contingency plan in case of bad weather, at no extra cost to you. Perhaps you are envisioning a breathtaking ceremony in July, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, followed by an outdoor reception with dancing al fresco. Yet, for that 4% chance of rain on any given day of the year, it is imperative that you have a plan B. So, when discussing your wedding celebration with a venue, be sure to address their backup plan and check that they have suitable areas for you to host your ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and dancing at no extra cost to you.

Hindu-Jewish wedding in a historic Convent by the sea

Hindu-Jewish destination wedding

Exclusive providers

There are certain venues in Spain that have a pre-approved list of vendors and only allow those wedding providers to work there. This is due to various factors: many wedding venues have had horrible prior experiences with unprofessional vendors who have caused issues during the set-up phase, or the wedding itself, and some have even caused damages to the venue. So, it is understandable that they want to ensure that the providers that work on-site are trustworthy. Secondly, there are some wedding vendors that work off the books, without proper insurance or legally-binding contracts with their Couples. These providers are inherently problematic, because if anything happens on the day of the wedding – either related to their job performance or with the Couple/guests – there is no way to legally claim a refund or otherwise. Therefore, all of the providers that a venue has on their pre-approved list are proper wedding businesses, with all legal and fiscal obligations being met. Lastly, there are certain venues who are flexible with Couples bringing in their own providers, for example, wedding photographers, videographers, and florists, but require a prior meeting with them to approve them to work on-site. Therefore, discuss these details with the wedding venue and be sure to ask if there are any additional costs required for bringing in non-exclusive providers and how they would handle working with a vendor from abroad.

Dreamy ceremony spot in historic mansion!

Dreamy ceremony spot in historic mansion!

Hours of usage

Most wedding venues offer the usage of the venue for a wedding celebration of a total of 9 hours, give or take, which includes the ceremony, cocktail hour, wedding dinner and dancing. This would be, for example, a wedding that begins with the ceremony taking place at 6pm and dancing finishing up at 3am. However, there is the set-up and breakdown phase which needs to be accounted for, and depending on your specific wedding design, additional hours may be required. Ask the venue how early your wedding providers could begin setting up on the day of the wedding, and, if additional hours are required, perhaps the day before or the day after, check what the additional costs would be. 

Outdoor ceremony at La Baronia

Outdoor ceremony in beautiful courtyard

Access and parking

Your wedding vision may be of a remote Castle on a hilltop overlooking the mountainside. And it is truly a magnificent vision, but think of the venue’s access. Is there a paved road leading up to the entrance of the venue, or is it unpaved? Can guests who have limited mobility, or with young children in strollers, get to the venue entrance comfortably? If you are considering sourcing transport for your guests, can the buses maneuver easily up the road to the front entrance or will they need to drop guests off at a halfway point? Consider these details as you are searching for a wedding venue, to ensure your guests’ experience of your wedding day is seamless and effortless.

Additional fees

This is an important point that needs to be addressed, as unfortunately there are venues that have additional fees that you may have to pay, in addition to the rental. We have already addressed various additional costs in this article, such as a plan B in case of bad weather, or bringing in non-exclusive wedding vendors, but there are other costs that may come up. For example, there are certain venues that charge an additional fee for hosting a wedding ceremony on-site, as their fees are calculated only for hosting the wedding reception. Other venues have exclusive areas which are only utilized for their own family’s enjoyment, and will charge an extra fee for utilizing that “private” area. (In Spain, many wedding venues are family-run and are used by the owners as well, so this is something that comes up frequently.) Lastly, there are wedding venues that offer accommodation, but do not include the cost of the rooms in their wedding fees. So, check with the venue and discuss all of the additional costs that may be applicable to you. 

Outdoor recption with stunning costal views

Outdoor reception with stunning costal views

As you can see, there are many specific details to consider when choosing a wedding venue. Many of those details can be addressed during your visit to the venue, and can also be discussed with your wedding planner prior to choosing the venues you would like to view. But, what happens if you cannot travel to view venues? There are Couples who are unable to take time off, others who are too far away to come for a weekend, and currently, there are Couples who are unable to travel due to travel restrictions related to Covid -19.

For our destination wedding Couples, we become their eyes and ears here in Barcelona. There are Couples who have travelled as far away as Australia for their wedding, and we were able to help them choose their wedding venue remotely. When the Couple has decided on their top choices of venues, we schedule a viewing and go to take photos and videos of the different aspects of the venue: access, outdoor areas, indoor areas, kitchen, bathrooms, etc….or we schedule a video call with the Couple upon our arrival at the venue, and take them through the viewing as though they were there, live. Technology is truly a helping hand and we take full advantage of it! 

Need more help in finding the perfect Barcelona wedding venue for your destination wedding? Contact us anytime! We will be happy to schedule an initial consultation with you and discuss your wedding vision, traveling to Spain and how we can help you plan a beautiful wedding on this fantastic Mediterranean coast!