The Wedding Venue – My Story and Advice from the Expert – Cavan from Kinnitty Castle Hotel
We basked in the engagement buzz for quite a few months, we talked about what kind of wedding we wanted, small, big, in the city, in the countryside, on a beach … everything was considered. Next we decided the size of the wedding. We never considered huge numbers and from the start we wanted a relatively intimate wedding dinner with family followed by a wedding party with both family and friends, so with this in mind we made a rough wedding guest list, for numbers sake.
After deciding on our Wedding Day date and with a rough idea of the size of wedding we wanted we attended one of the big Wedding shows and we researched online. It was really important for us to get an idea of what was available, what costs were likely to be incurred and most importantly what style of wedding we wanted. From the start we knew we wanted a celebration. We knew we wanted this celebration to include our nearest and dearest and so after careful consideration we decided that a wedding at home in Ireland was the way for us.
With the date, guest numbers, the decision to get married in Ireland and our new found knowledge of wedding venues from research, we made a list of venues we liked the look of and we visited them either by appointment or when they held individual Wedding Fairs. Luckily we have very similar tastes and we both agreed on what we didn’t want or like when it came to the style of venue for our wedding. Knowing the amount of guests we planned on attending our celebration was very important to us because we didn’t want a huge room that we felt might kill the intimate atmosphere we wanted to create. For the party after dinner we wanted enough space for all our family and friends to dance the night away, so we also took this into consideration. However the most important factor we needed to consider apart from the style and size was the quality of food and service. In our minds there was no point booking a beautiful venue when the reviews it had received in the past for food and service were below expectations.
So what did we want? A beautiful venue, the right size for an intimate dinner with enough room to open up for a good ol’ knees up, recommended food and quality service … we weren’t asking for much! Ha! Well, when we visited Kinnitty Castle Hotel one rainy weekend last year, it even looks great in the rain, in a matter minutes we both fell in love at first sight! It was so easy for us to envisage our wedding celebration. The reviews we’d read previous to our visit were excellent so the decision was easy … and in my mind that’s how it should be! It should be instinct and instant! We love that it’s a castle, we love the size of the banquet hall, the fact that each room is authentic and unique including the bedrooms, the fact that it has a Dungeon Bar and that the Slieve Bloom Mountains are on its doorstep! … I could go on! We met with Cavan Dunne, the Wedding Coordinator, who was calm and collected even though a wedding was due to take place in meer hours … which was a really good sign for us not only to have a Wedding Coordinator but that he had everything under control. We took a tour, had a chat, signed the contract and have spent our thoughts since on how happy we are that we found the perfect venue for us … and now we can’t wait to bring it alive to the sounds of our Wedding Day Celebration!
An Interview with Cavan Dunne, Wedding Coordinator at Kinnitty Castle Hotel
Cavan Dunne is the Wedding Coordinator at Kinnitty Castle Hotel. In the running for Wedding Venue Coordinator of the Year 2013 at Kinnitty Castle which is in the running for Wedding Venue of the Year 2013 on Weddingsonline.ie and with his experience and expertise, there’s no better person to answer Wedding Venue questions and queries …
So Cavan, when do you think is the right time to start looking for a Wedding Venue?
Depending on the time of your engagement, from my point of view, I would not be looking at a hotel if you are planning a wedding for 2015 at this stage, at the moment I am still taking enquiries for early 2013 so I would say anywhere from 6 to 18 months is time enough.
What is the best advice you can give a couple to help them choose their Wedding Venue?
Do your research online and in magazines before you go to the venue. There is nothing more confusing then visiting tones on places and getting confused, whittle it down to five venues that you agree on and a wild card each. Also, if there is a theme involved i.e. castle/country house/vintage/location/budget, stick to that theme
As soon as a couple have found their ideal Wedding Venue, what do you feel is the most important next step?
The two most important steps to take together is to find the church and venue and make sure the dates both match. People have to understand that because there are such great deals to be got that availability is lacking for a lot of venues so there is little point in going to a venue and saying, “I only want to get married on the Saturday of August Bank Holiday 2013” the likelihood is that, if that is the case, you won’t be getting married. Flexibility is the key. If you are booking a wedding within four months the next crucial step is to give notice to your registrar of intention to marry.
Browsing through Wedding Websites I’ve noticed different Wedding themes, what is the most popular theme you’ve noticed and what theme do you think will be popular in times to come?
2013 is showing to definitely be the year of vintage and lace. From looking at trends the past few years, puffy dresses are a thing of the past.
How important is it to keep communication lines open between you, the Wedding Coordinator and your clients?
If your hotel has a Wedding Coordinator it most probably means that weddings are its thing as a lot of venues would not have this specific roll, he/she is there to answer your questions but generally they will have it all under control and you won’t necessarily hear from that person until about four weeks before your wedding.
Is it important for couples to involve their family and friends or can that result in ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’?
To a certain extent. I have been on both sides of this question having gotten married myself – weddings are difficult enough without having ten more opinions unless in some cases, parents have to have a say due to financial reasons, but this is not as popular as it used to be.
Weather is the biggest threat to a couples Wedding day, especially in Ireland, what precautions can you advise ?
Always dress for the worst scenario.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give a couple on their Wedding Day?
Enjoy it! Don’t get caught up in the organisation, you are paying your venue a lot of money – they have it under control. People will tell you that the day will go quickly but you won’t actually believe how quickly it actually does go!