Back in the villages of yesteryear, couples would visit their local church then proceed to the village hall. A wedding was an event for the community to come together and celebrate.
Okay, excuse the flowery language. In fact, plenty of couples still do this. It is a much cheaper option than booking a hotel function suite and, moreover, is infinitely personalisable. Despite the connotations of village halls simply being a budget venue, you can certainly still make them romantic and special. Plus it is the perfect way to save money on your wedding day!
Below we have curated a list of ideas and inspiration to make your village hall wedding the whimsical, fairytale occasion that you have always dreamed of.
Firstly, you should know that very few village halls in the UK are licensed to hold civil ceremonies. Therefore, you should be looking at the village hall for just your reception.
Keep the ceremony simple to save the pennies – either a church or registry office. Whilst you have your photos taken you could even have some guests move decorations over to the village hall!
Village halls are unlikely to charge a great deal of money for hire of the venue. This is because the buildings are usually small, with basic facilities and at times they may have poor aesthetic appeal. But don’t be put off by this, as village halls make a great framework for DIY weddings!
Plus, the space can be easily transformed into any theme. Due to the blank canvas nature you aren’t limited by Grade listings therefore you can decorate to your heart’s content and use whatever supplier you desire.
Without being restricted by the companies you are using, you can go even further to looking for low-cost options. A village hall really is the perfect venue if you are looking to host your wedding ceremony on the cheap.
That being said, if you save money on the venue then it might be worth hiring a coordinator to take care of all the little things on the big day.
Even the ugliest of buildings can be completely transformed into wedding reception paradises.
Put up white draping or indoor fabric marquees, and you will be given a blank canvas on which to decorate your wedding. Or, find out about the history of the building and use the base for your theme.
You could enhance the simplicity of the venue as very elaborate and opulent decorations may feel out of place. Stick with pretty, natural, organic and homely décor as this will fit in with the surroundings.
Make sure you fill the space, as too much white space will make it look sparse. Decorate any features that you aren’t keen on with beautiful fabrics.
On the other hand, have an incredible rustic theme with long wooden tables, plenty of wildflowers, candles and fairy lights.
You can decorate with different draping fabrics in vibrant colours, textures and patterns. Strings of pom poms and ribbons make for an authentic crafty look.
Food and Loos
Now, be aware of the facilities of the venue before you book. Although most village halls are kitted out for events like these and thusly will have a working kitchen and bathroom, not all will. Check what is available on-site and try to arrange plans around this.
For example, if the kitchen is suitable only for making cups of tea, you could have a delicious hog roast and barbecue, a buffet or sumptuous afternoon tea!
Hire a wedding caterer who will be able to organise the food at your wedding. Or, arrange a potluck and set your best man up to coordinate it all. However, remember that you will need to provide cutlery and crockery if you go for the entirely DIY option.
And don’t forget the drinks. The good news is a lot of village halls won’t charge you for corkage, so you can ask guests to “bring your own bottle”. Don’t forget to supply some of your own bubbly, too.
As far as bathrooms go, find a portable toilet company to bring in toilets for your wedding. Again, this is not very romantic sounding, but they are effective and are used countless times at remote weddings every year. You can even put a fun spin on this and make it a festival themed wedding!
A reception in a village hall is just like a reception in a hotel, except you are unlikely to be provided with a dedicated coordinator. You might be wondering how you are going to keep your guests entertained. Don’t forget that a sit-down meal is entertainment in itself. Besides the usual regalia of weddings, such as speeches and cutting the cake, there are plenty of options to keep your guests busy in a village hall.
You could choose to hire a live band – this will have your guests up and dancing for hours on end! Remember to check the music licence of your village hall before you book it, and also any noise restrictions.
Village halls are often located next to sports areas such as cricket grounds, village parks or other pitches. See if you can utilise these (for free or not), have a game of cricket, boules or croquet. Otherwise if there is a sizable garden, think about outdoor fairground games or even hire a bouncy castle!
Hotels are popular for a reason: all guests can stay on-site. If you really do live that rustic village life and all of your guests live in the local area, then there is no issue. However, if you are inviting people from further afield you need to consider accommodation.
Are there B&Bs and hotels nearby? Could you arrange for camping – or glamping – in a field? You need to make sure that there are options for every guest so they aren’t fighting each other for sleeping arrangements.
Village halls are resourceful and cheap venues to use for your wedding. If you just put a little extra effort into decorating, equipping and organising your big day there, then these venues are certainly worth seeking out.