Tips for Planning a Pub Wedding – According to a Wedding Coordinator

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Pub weddings are on the rise in the UK, with many couples choosing to get married in a characterful, often historic, British pub. But why are so many couples choosing to tie the knot in pubs, and are there any caveats to planning a wedding in a 'less traditional' venue?

We turned to an expert to find out. Nina Beer is the owner of Occasion Queens, a UK wedding coordination and venue consultancy service. With 16 years’ experience in the events industry, she knows a thing or two about planning, and coordinating, a great wedding.

We asked Nina [pictured below] why pub weddings are becoming so popular, and for her top tips and advice for couples.

Nina Beer Wedding Coordinator
Occasion Queen: Nina Beer is the owner of wedding coordination business Occasion Queens.

The rise of the pub wedding

Due to an increasing demand for unique wedding venues in the UK, Nina said pub weddings are more popular than ever, attracting laid-back couples wanting a relaxed wedding inside a characterful venue with traditional British food.

“Pub weddings are very much the focus at the moment, especially in London. It’s personal and comfortable for guests, the food is great, the service is warm and friendly, and there are so many stunning pub wedding venues out there,” Nina explained.

“Today people are looking for something other than a flashy hotel. They want more of a relaxed and informal wedding. The trend is moving towards the untraditional, and DIY weddings allow couples to really personalise their wedding and make it their own.”

How to plan a pub wedding in the UK

Hearty pub food

Nina said she has also noticed big changes in the style of food served at weddings. 

“People don’t tend to want silver service anymore and are moving away from the traditional three-course plated meal. Sitting down to a big plate of fish and chips and pie and mash is becoming much more popular at weddings, because couples want it to feel like you’re having a roast dinner on a Sunday with your family. Feasting menus and grazing tables where guests can help themselves have also become very common.”

Pub wedding tips and ideas - food
Pub Grub: A wedding menu at The Counting House, Bank. Photo by Eva Photography London.

Nina’s top tips for planning a pub wedding

For couples wanting to get married in a pub, Nina said there are a few key things they need to consider.

1.    Work with the pub’s décor, not against it

“Work with the décor within the pub and don’t try to turn the venue into something it’s not. Look at the colours of the walls and the décor already there and see how you can add to it and make it pop,” Nina explained.

“It’s about not doing too much if you already have a characterful pub venue. Take The Counting House in Bank for example – it’s already so grand and detailed, so all it needs is candles, foliage and simple flowers.”

Pub wedding tips and ideas - the decor
Make it pop: simple wedding table settings at The Counting House, Bank. Photo by Eva Photography London.

2.    Consider your guests

“Make sure your guests are well fed and watered. What makes the best wedding is when your guests are well looked after, which means they have plenty of good food to eat, a drink in their hand, and can dance the night away. It’s all your guests want.”

Pub wedding tips and ideas - food and drink
Fed and watered: Wedding guests about to enjoy fine food at The Gun in Docklands.

3.    Put your own stamp on it

“Bring something different and unique to the wedding that people haven’t seen before. For example, Charles Burns makes silhouette cut-outs of your guests on the spot. Dimitria Jordon designs bespoke stationery to fit your style and venue. You could have a pub quiz with questions about yourselves for your guests to answer. Think of something to make it personal to you and your venue, that will be memorable for your guests.”

Expert Tips for Planning a Pub Wedding in the UK
Suprise & Delight: Matching jackets for an edgy couple at The George IV in Chiswick. Photo by Will Patrick Weddings.

4.    Choose your ceremony type

Nina said: “Most pub wedding venues aren’t licensed to hold civil ceremonies, so couples will either need to get married elsewhere before going to the pub for their reception, or they can opt for a humanist ceremony instead.

“Humanist ceremonies are with a celebrant and are more personalised. Many couples have their civil ceremony a few days before the wedding to sign the registrar, then have a humanist ceremony at their wedding. Not having a civil ceremony and having a humanist celebrant at your wedding instead means you aren’t restricted as to where you get married and you can include lots of traditions from all backgrounds as well as make up your own!”

Read more: The Best Civil Ceremony Licensed Pub Wedding Venues in South England.

Expert Tips for Planning a Pub Wedding - the ceremony
Civil ceremony or humanist?
The White Swan in Stratford-upon-Avon is a historic Civil Ceremony licensed pub wedding venue.

5.    Hire a wedding coordinator

“What you need to remember is you are hiring a pub, not a venue that specialises explicitly in weddings. The pub’s event’s team will help to coordinate the venue, food and drinks on the day, but everything else needs to be brought together by the couple. A lot of people put their heart and soul into planning but only a few think about how it will come together. Having a wedding coordinator to ensure everything comes together smoothly on the day makes all the difference,” Nina explained. 

“We’re not wedding planners, we’re wedding day coordinators that ensure everything is exactly how you hoped and dreamed it would be. We’re stress relievers, insurance and reassurance that everything you planned will be executed perfectly.”

Nina’s on-the-day coordination services are included in wedding packages at The Counting House, a historic pub wedding venue in Bank, London.

Find out more about wedding coordination by Occasion Queens.

Occasion Queens UK wedding coordination services
The Occasion Queens: Nina and her team doing what they do best.

Find your perfect wedding venue

Now that you know why pub weddings are so popular in the UK, and the key things you need to consider when you start planning, it’s time to choose your perfect venue!

Fuller’s has a great number of beautiful wedding venues across the south of England perfect for every season. From rustic to contemporary, quaint to quirky, each of our venues offer a unique and special backdrop for your special day.

Whether you’re looking for a ceremony-licensed venue to hold your entire day, or a stunning place to enjoy your wedding breakfast and after-party, we have a dream wedding venue for all, with first-class hospitality and premium food and drinks.

Read our list of the best pub wedding venues for inspiration, and use our wedding venue finder to find your perfect venue.

This article was written by Janelle of ContentQueen.

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