How Exclusive is “Exclusive Use?”


The term “Exclusive Use” is one that is frequently used by many types of wedding venues, from hotels to farms to village halls. It can be confusing to know exactly what the term means to each venue. For a couple embarking on their first search for their dream place to get married, the definition may not be exactly as they might expect.

Many places offer “Exclusive Use” as standard, and some offer it as an additional extra, at additional cost. A hotel, for example, may charge extra for “Exclusive Hire” of certain areas, certain rooms or certain bars for a wedding day, and depending on the geography of the place, this may seem easy to understand, that there would be rooms or spas or restaurants running as usual in other parts of the building.

“Exclusive Use” should mean that only your guests can use the whole place for your wedding day.

With weddings running on consecutive days, however, what venues may not promote is the arrival of the next day’s guests, meaning that during the afternoon reception of one event, people dragging suitcases will be arriving for the next day. They will inevitably be curious to see what is in store for them the following day! This does not feel very “Exclusive”, so the terms of the agreement need to be looked at very carefully!

There is also the question of who can visit during the ‘Exclusive Use’ hire period. Many venues allow viewings during the morning of a wedding. The result may be that a prospective client gets a nice view of the venue dressed for an event, but it certainly does not feel that the focus of the staff is on the actual bride and groom for the day!

It is often only the bride and groom that understand the arrangements for their wedding day. For their wedding guests arriving to a place, it is crucial that they understand the arrangements too, with present, approachable and well-briefed staff, adequate signage and proper instructions, or their first impressions will never be that the place has been specially hired for your wedding, and this impression can last a lifetime. They should feel like they are expected solely as a wedding guest and not a gym member, and this impression needs to start in the car park!

Otherwise, what is the point of Exclusive Use?

Key Questions to ask a venue about “Exclusive Use” or “Exclusive Hire” should be:

· Exactly who is allowed on site during the complete hire period?

· Where and when do other users enter the building during the hire period?

· Who meets and greets my guests? Where are they met? (At reception is not the answer!)

· What signage is provided or what can I provide?

· What is the procedure if my event does not turn out to be Exclusive Use as I expected?