Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Image courtesy of www.ianh.co.uk
  • Image courtesy of www.ianh.co.uk
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There are some questions which we are often asked about how the venue works so we hope this collection of answers will help you. If your question still isn’t answered then please contact us and we will be able to help you.

Can I get legally married on the beach?

Yes, you can. We are the only place in England and Wales  where you can legally take your vows right on the beach. This is for weddings and civil partnership including same sex marriages.  The Registrars from Bournemouth Registration Service will conduct your legal ceremony as our Wedding Hut is a fully licensed venue. They can be contacted by phoning 01202 454945 or emailing registrars@bournemouth.gov.uk You may also still use your venue if you are already legally married and you wish to renew your vows or if you wish to have a baby naming or welcoming ceremony.

Can we get married elsewhere and then have our reception at Beach Weddings Bournemouth?

Yes, you can have civil ceremonies or your church service at another venue and then come to us for your day time and evening reception. Please contact us for further information and we can explain more.

Can you hold events other than weddings at Beach Weddings Bournemouth?

Yes we can, we can cater for vow renewals and baby naming ceremonies.  At the present time that’s all we are licensed for although we can apply for a special licence on an ad hoc basis for other events please contact us to discuss further.

Can we have a small and intimate ceremony with just The Wedding Hut and no marquee?

Yes you can on certain dates although we can never guarantee that it will just be The Wedding Hut in place without a marquee as marquees can take a day or two to build so if you book a date and we subsequently need to build a marquee just before you may need to have that in situ for your wedding date but you wouldnt be charge for it of course.  Please enquire about small intimate ceremonies with just Bride, Groom and two witnesses (although a member of the BWB team can be one of the witnesses and your photographer the other if you wished to keep it very small and simple).

Won’t the good old British weather ruin our wedding day?

No! Absolutely not. We are a marquee based venue so we are always prepared with the great British weather in mind. We build a marquee up to the Wedding Hut so that you and your guests are always sheltered, be it from the rain or the blazing sun! The side of the marquee overlooking the sea is a  complete window wall so you can still see out to the sea and the gorgeous views across the bay during your ceremony. If the weather is fine we can roll up the sides of the marquee easily and quickly so the marquee goes straight out onto the sand.

We always build a second marquee (included in our marquee prices) out on the sand containing the bar set up for your drinks reception too and we have beautiful white wedding umbrellas for your use for walking around outside. During our 2012 season we had close to 50 weddings, and it only rained for 2 of them and that was meant to be the worst summer for 100 years so we were very lucky!  Bournemouth is said to have a bit of a micro-climate so we think we benefit from that. During our second season (2013) we had a glorious summer and on certain days it was hotter in Bournemouth than in Spain!

At the end of the day you could get married in the Caribbean and it might rain- you can’t guarantee the weather abroad either!  The only thing you have no control over with your wedding is the weather and that stands for wherever you marry so the best advice is not to stress about it – embrace it and make it a part of your day if it does rain!  Photographs with umbrellas and atmospheric skies and sea are stunning and you then get the beach to yourself which is another bonus!

How much will it cost?

We have recently introduced packages, please see the pricing section if you are looking for a streamlined price and an ‘all-in wedding’. We still offer bespoke quotes – all of our quotes are very bespoke as we like to tailor our services to you and what you want. Therefore it is not possible for us to give you a price without finding out a bit more from you. Please send us an email with your approximate guest numbers and let us know if you would like the ceremony only option or the ceremony followed by wedding breakfast and we will send you a no obligation bespoke quote so you are fully informed.

When can we see the venue?

The best time to view the venue is at one of our Open Days which happen in the spring and autumn and our staff are available to discuss plans with you. Please enquire with us or see our website or Facebook page for our next upcoming Open Days.  Private viewings are available during the wedding season if you are unable to make one of the Open Days. These usually take place early in the morning before wedding guests arrive when the venue is set up for a wedding that day.

Unfortunately the venue is not available to view in our closed season between October and April. We do not operate during these times so although the Wedding Hut is in situ because its a permanent structure, the venue is packed down so there is nothing to see other than our location on the beach.  We are happy to meet you however during the winter season to show you the location and explain how things work and have coffee nearby to chat through any questions for you – sometimes its just nice to do these things face to face isn’t it!

Most of our couples book the venue without having seen it using our extensive galleries on our Facebook page and website.

I want to book, how do I do it?

Firstly you will need to check availability with us to see if the date you would like is available and advise us that you would like to book that date. Once we have confirmed this we will then put that date on hold for you temporarily for a few days without deposit. You then need to check availability with the Bournemouth Registrars to confirm they have a Registrar available to perform your ceremony with us. If they do, book them and then come back to us to confirm you have booked the Registrars and would like to go ahead with the date you have on hold.

When you received a quote with us, we will have sent you a copy of our booking form which will need to be completed and returned to us by email or by post together with a deposit which needs to be paid by bank transfer and our bank details can be found on the bottom of the booking form. Only once we have received both your booking form and deposit we will confirm your booking via email and will send you a receipted invoice for your deposit.

I have booked with Beach Weddings Bournemouth, what happens next?

Once you have booked us, we will send you confirmation of your booking. Then we will be in touch a month before your wedding date and will send you your Function Sheet for the day on which will be all the information about your day: your guest numbers, timings, supplier details, music choices, drinks requirements etc. We will complete as much of the sheet as we can with the information you have already given us and then we will ask you to fill in any missing details.  There is no need to give us any of this information or pay anything further to your final balance until we have been in touch with you one month before your wedding date although we are of course here throughout your planning to answer and help with any questions you may have.

Please note that all payments to BWB need to be paid by bank transfer and bank details will be provided.  Please if you need to pay in any other way including cheque or crediting our account over the counter enquire with us in advance so we can correctly trace and allocate payments to your file.

When do we finalise numbers?

When you book with us we require you give us approximate numbers to allow us to book the right size marquee but final numbers will be required a month before the wedding. We do not need to know your final numbers before this date.

When do we give our final food orders?

We do not require you to return your food ordering forms when you book but you are welcome to let us know of any menu choices you have made and we will keep a note on your file. You can then make final food orders and choices a month before your wedding when you receive your function sheet.

Are you able to offer options for vegetarians or people with special dietary requirements?

Yes, although we do not have specific options on our menus our chef is more than happy to suggest and prepare different seasonal options for guests with special dietary requirements.  Please note that if you do not pre-book meals for guests with special dietary requirements we cannot guarantee that such dishes will be available on the day.  Our chefs cook from a beach kitchen based on pre-orders so we do not retain stock for other dishes with our limited space and the logistics of setting up on the day.

How is the food served on the day?

Our BBQ and buffet menus are served buffet style.  Chef will come front of house and set up a buffet station and the freshly cooked food will be served to your guests with our Front of House Manager calling your guests up to be served on a table by table basis.  We give the option for the top table to be served.  Fish & chips and afternoon tea menus are served to the table / plated rather than buffet style. If you prefer your guests not to get up and be served buffet style we can serve “family style” which is bowls of food coming to the table – please let us know if you prefer this. For the desserts, you can either select 3 of our desserts to be served  buffet style for guests to come and decide for themselves which they would prefer and chef will serve them.  Alternatively you can decide on 1 dessert and this will be plated and served to your guests at their places.  If our suggested menus do not suit you please let us know – we will be happy to come up with alternative menus to suit your requirements within the constraints of cooking in a beach kitchen without electricity.

How many people can we seat to a table?

We use 5.6ft round tables which seat up to x 10 people comfortably.  We don’t recommend x 11 but you can squeeze x 11 with our chairs as they are fairly narrow but it does restrict elbow room. Your top table can be a round or if you a prefer a long table either with your backs against the prom side of the marquee looking out to sea or with your backs to the Wedding Hut.  For a 9m x 9m marquee your top table will seat a maximum of x 8 people (6 along the back and 1 on either end) and for larger marquees it can be x 11 or more.  Please enquire.  We can set up the layout of your marquee with all long tables if you prefer.   This can be either separate tables or with a top “wing ” across the top with your backs to the Wedding Hut.  Please enquire for room layouts applicable to your size of marquee.

1 month prior to your date when we have your final numbers we will set up your room layout on an online seating plan system which is very simple to use.  You will be given log in details for you to log on, type in your guests names then click and drag them to the correct seats so you can see where everyone will be seated.  This allows you to change as many times as you like until you get it right and you can add on there any guests with special dietary requirements so we know who they are.  A few days before the wedding we will ask you if you have finished making changes then we will print ready for your day to work from when we turn the room around from ceremony to dining layout.

Do you have high chairs for children?

Yes we have x 5 of our own which you are welcome to use free of charge.  If you require any more than that they will need to be hired in for a small surcharge.  Our own high chairs are white painted wood to match our chairs.

When do we give our final drinks orders?

Final drinks orders will be required a month before the wedding, we will ask for this when we send your Function Sheet to you.

Can we taste the wine?

We are more than happy to order bottles of wine / champagne for you to taste if you require this in advance which will be charged at the drinks menu price and we can add that to your final invoice for you.

Can you advise us on how much wine/drinks to order?

For the drinks reception we would advise you account for approximately 1 glass/ drink per person per half an hour. For the wedding breakfast we would recommend half a bottle of wine per person and 1 or 2 x glasses of champagne per person for the toasts/ speeches. A bottle of bubbly will fill 6 glasses and one of our jugs of cocktail or juice is enough to fill 8 glasses.  This is approximate and you should be recommended to order additional amounts if you know that your guests are likely to consume more.  Any surplus will be boxed for you to take with you when you leave or if you have a local hotel for your evening venue we can often deliver there for you.  If we run low on the day we do keep stocks of most of our items locally – subject to availability.

When should we book hotels?

We would recommend you book hotels around 6 months before your wedding. Bournemouth is a very popular summer destination so hotels do get booked up very quickly, particularly during the school holidays so it is essential to look into and book hotels quite quickly. For ideas of places to stay please click here.  We do offer a separate service to arrange accommodation for your guests so if you need help please ask as we will be happy to arrange for you.

What time should we/our guests arrive?

We would recommend the Groom arrives 30 minutes before the ceremony is due to start. The Groom needs to arrive in time to provide us with the iPod for the music and us to run through the music requirements with him. On arrival, the registrars will also need to quickly interview the Groom and run through the ceremony with him and the Best Man and Ushers so they all know what they are doing.

We would advise guests to arrive around 15-30 minutes before the ceremony is due to start. Guests do not need to arrive any earlier than this as they will be waiting  if they arrive too early we may still be doing the finishing touches to the set up. We aim to seat guests 10 minutes before the ceremony is due to start to ensure all guests are seated before the arrival of the Bride so they do not see the Bride before her entrance.

The Bride should arrive around 10/15 minutes before the ceremony is due to start.  If the Bride is arriving via the Cliff Lift one of our team will usually come to the top of the Lift to meet the Bride and escort her down to the marquee.  On arrival the Registrars will need to quickly interview the Bride and the person giving the Bride away before the ceremony starts.

In all cases please ensure you leave plenty of time on sunny days, during bank holiday weekends and during school holidays to travel to Beach Weddings Bournemouth. During these times traffic can be heavy and car parking can be more difficult. Please also ensure you leave plenty of time getting down to the venue from the car parks either via the cliff lift or walking down the zig-zag, steps or slope and along the promenade. The Beacon Steps are the closest to us with a short walk from the bottom of the steps to our location on the beach.

Where can our guests park?

As we are on the beach we unfortunately do not have any parking facilities for your guests. Guests will have to use public car parks. Please click this link to download a map for nearby public car park locations. We would advise including parking and direction instructions in your invitations. Click here to download a prettier map to send out with your invitations.

Can we pre-pay for cliff lift tickets for all of our guests?

Yes, you are able to pre-pay for all of your guests (£2 per person return which is a discounted rate to our couples 0r £1 per person single for evening receptions as the lift closes at 5pm). If you are staying with us until 7pm, the council will keep the lift open longer, providing a minimum of £150 has been pre-paid.  The council provide two complementary lifts for the Bride and the contents of that lift (up to 12 people), and the Groom and the contents of that lift (up to 12 people). Please note if the Bride and Groom choose not to use the lift then the complementary use of the lift is not transferable to other guests. On your Function Sheet, there is a section to fill in if you want to use the lift and how many people the Bride and Groom are travelling with so we can advise the cliff lift staff. If you don’t pre-pay for cliff lift tickets, any of your guests who use the lift will need to pay for it themselves.  Please note that you can only pre-book for all of your guests or for none of your guests ie not part of your wedding party and this is because the cliff lift operators do not have the facilities to be able to take names of who the tickets are for.  In our opinion it is a really nice touch to offer pre-paid lift tickets to the guests so they are not expected to pay on the day or trying to find change.  It really adds to the enjoyment of the day and we find that guests (especially if they are not from the area) really enjoy the lift journey as part of the beach wedding experience.

What time is the cliff lift open until?

For the general public the West Cliff Lift is usually open until around 5.30pm during our season depending on weather but when weddings are booked we can keep the lift open later for you – last lifts at around 6.45pm with lift to close around 7.00pm so please ensure any guests who cannot access up the cliff on foot get on the lift before they close.  If you require lifts to be open later than this please enquire for future information.  We will endeavour to do an announcement in the marquee 15 minutes before the lifts are due to close.  In the event of guests who cannot use the lift or access up the steps once the lift has closed there is a possibility after 6pm to get a vehicle down to collect on prior arrangement with ourselves.

Can you accommodate disabled / wheel chair users

Yes we can. We can request the use of x 1 sand accessible wheelchairs for you free of charge from the council beforehand – please advise in advance on your final Function Sheet if you require one and we will be arranged for it to be waiting for you at the cliff lift office on the prom when your guests arrive. The sand accessible wheelchair can then be used for transport across the sand to the marquee and back again at the end of the celebrations and their own wheelchairs can be used once inside the hard floored marquee. Please note that we don’t have a ramp to access down the small steps onto the sand as the sand levels usually allow very easy access from prom to sand level but we recommend that each wheel chair user has x 2 people to assist each chair if any lifting is necessary to get onto the sand. Please note that if borrowed it is your responsibility to ensure these are returned to the Cliff Lift office before they close and to ensure they get back safely. If not returned or if lost or stolen the costs will need be passed to the person who has borrowed the chair.

What about evening receptions on the beach?

You are able to stay with us up until 12 midnight with any music and the bar finishing at 11:30pm. Our licence has recently been extended to allow us to offer this which makes it an amazing opportunity for you to stay with us and have your full day – ceremony right through to evening reception and party into the night!  Get in touch to chat about packages and bespoke quotes for evening reception weddings with us.

We have seen photos of wedding parties on the land train, can we hire it too?

Yes you can, just let us know if you would like to hire it and we can arrange this for you. Please book this through us so we can liaise with the Council.  Please do not call the Council direct otherwise we will not know you have booked and we cannot ensure that the logistics will work on the day.  We will add the cost of this to your final invoice a month before your wedding. The land trains can take you for a trip from our venue down towards Poole (note it cannot cross the border outside of the Borough of Bournemouth land) as far as Alum Chine (at Vesuvio) and then as far as Boscombe (by Urban Reef / Pier) in the other direction- it can also go up through Boscombe gardens.  The style of land train cannot be guaranteed and are subject to availability on the day.  A maximum of x 50 passengers on each land train.

Are there toilets on site?

There is one toilet available for the Bride and Groom for a ceremony only. This toilet is not available for the rest of your guests to use and this is strictly enforced by the Council as this is not our WC. If you have a catered wedding booking we will require that you book private toilets at your expense for your guests to use as outlined in our Terms and Conditions and there are a number of options to suit all budgets. There are public toilets available approximately 300m down the promenade so we do not require that toilets are booked for ceremony only bookings if you choose to not hire private facilities.  We strongly advise all couples to consider hiring private WCs as this greatly improves the enjoyment of our venue for you and your guests.  In the event that you decide not to hire private WCs and our staff have difficulties with your guests who are not happy about using the public WCs then please understand that we will have to inform them that the bride and groom decided they were happy for their guests to make use of the public WCs.

Can we decorate the venue?

Yes of course; whether you choose the D.I.Y route or choose to hire a styling company, our venue is a blank canvas for you to make special and personal. Unless prior arranged with BWB, all decorations must be removed the day of your wedding- please speak to the team for more information.

The D.I.Y route

If you want to be involved with the styling of your day and plan to make/bring your own decorations, then please do let BWB team know what you are planning and provide styling directions/plans on your Function Sheet. This will be sent to you a minimum of a month before hand. We will be more than happy to decorate the marquee for you so you don’t need to worry about this on your wedding day. As a wedding venue, we have helped a lot of couples set up their day, but please do bear in mind that we are a venue rather than a styling company and so we will need to discuss your décor plans in advance to confirm we are able to create your desired look with the decorations you provide.

If you are planning to bring down your own decorations, please make sure that everything is dropped off at the Beach prior to 9:30am. Exact timings for drop offs and collections will be confirmed in your Function Sheet and will depend on any other weddings we have on the day amongst other factors.

Professional Styling Company

If you want to take away the stress/if you are not a creative person, you may want to consider using a Styling Company. Coastal Creatives are recommended by us as they are a local company who know the venue well- you may be familiar with their work from our Open Day’s/Facebook page. You don’t have to use them however so if you find another company you prefer, just ask them to give us a call so we can chat through the logistics of your Beach Wedding.

Can we have bunting/ceiling decorations?

As mentioned above we are more than happy to help with your décor, our team are not insured to use (and do not have use of due to lack of space to store) ladders and therefore BWB team will not be able to put up decorations which require a ladder. If you would like to have bunting which hangs from the centre of the ceiling to the edges of the marquee then we are unable to do this as would therefore recommend Coastal Creatives who hand make, deliver and set up/collect your bunting and decorations.

If you want to make your own bunting you can either hire in a ladder and hang/take down the bunting, or enquire with a local handyman. We have a few we can recommend if you contact us for more information.

We are, however, able to put up bunting/decorations around the edge of the marquee in a draped style. Please do check with BWB team for recommended dimensions/lengths of bunting. Please bear in mind that as the exact marquee size may not be determined until a couple of months before your wedding, we will not be able to give you precise dimensions in the very early stages of planning your wedding at Beach Weddings Bournemouth. This is because in peak season we have a run of weddings and so the largest marquee suitable for those weddings will be built. This will not affect your costings- for more information on this please see our T’s and C’s.

Can you help us plan our whole wedding?

Yes we can, on the other side of the business, Bellissimo Weddings, we are wedding planners so please contact us to find out how we can help you. If you book our Bellissimo services in conjunction with booking Beach Weddings Bournemouth we can offer our services at a substantially reduced rate and we can help you with as much or as little as you would like from helping you plan the whole wedding to sourcing accommodation for all of your guests.

Please contact us if your question has not been answered by reading the above – we are always happy to help.

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