Ballrooms, Barns and Chapels, OH MY! There are a lot of things that go into choosing a venue for your wedding day. Let’s get down to the skinny of what you should consider when making this big decision.
While we would all love to have a beautiful sunny and 75 degree wedding day that doesn’t always happen. So what happens when it starts to rain or it’s so windy that all of your decor starts falling down? You need to make sure there is an indoor option. Check with the venue staff before you sign a contract to find out what steps they will take if the weather turns sour. Also, find out how soon they will make the call to setup indoors or outdoors. Some venues will make a decision 3-4 hours before the event while others will push it right up until the start time.
Are you having a local or destination wedding? If you’re choosing a destination wedding just know that only very close friends and family will attend something like this. Your guest count will be very small, but so will the amount of gifts you receive. Also, consider how much this will cost each of your out of town guests in food, transportation and hotels.
If you’re choosing a local wedding consider things like is the venue hard to find or in an area that is familiar to a lot of friends and family? Is there construction going on somewhere close that will make a lot of your guests late to the ceremony? Is their parking close to the event space or will your guests have to walk 2 miles in high heels on a grassy field. Ultimately it’s your day and you can choose to have your wedding wherever you want, but your guests will certainly have a better time if you consider them while planning.
Don’t assume that a rustic wedding is going to be cheaper than a traditional ballroom setting. In our area in southern Indiana our most expensive venue in town is a rustic red barn. You may be thinking southern Indiana doesn’t offer anything other than a barn so that’s why it’s the most expensive, but that’s very untrue. We have ballrooms, country clubs, barns, fields and everything in between for our brides to choose as a setting. It just so happens with all the rustic and boho weddings being so popular our most sought after barn can charge high rental rates. Do your homework and shop around before deciding. You might be surprised at which venues are the most expensive in your area and vice versa.
Have you ever heard that saying don’t judge a book by its cover? That’s so true when venue shopping. When you’re inquiring about rates always ask what that price includes. While one venue might include a full day in their rate another might only include 4 hours. You will also need to ask about the details like chairs, tables, linens, and microphones. The cheapest place to rent might actually turn out to the be the most expensive if you have to pay separately to rent all of your seating, decor, linens, tables and mic’s. Don’t forget when you rent something it’s not just $4 per chair you’re paying for. Your rental company will include Delivery, Setup and Teardown fees as well.
Setup & Cleanup
What are you really paying for when you book a full service reception venue or a high priced catering company? A lot of brides just look at the price and think “I can feed everyone so much cheaper by doing it myself”. Before you come to a conclusion like that I would recommend counting the cost. You’re not just paying for food when you pay these companies you’re paying for far more. I’ve listed below some of things that will be included in those prices of $20-$70 per person.
- Organizing any vendor deliveries such as flowers, cakes, photo booth or rented decor
- Setting up the room with all of your tables, chairs, and decor
- Setting the tables with each place setting and favors
- Tying chair covers
- Providing linens (also the ironing, setup and teardown of the linens)
- Providing plates, glasses and silverware
- Washing the dirty dishes at the end of the night
- Ordering the correct amount of food and keeping it hot until the dinner hour
- Refilling any empty chaffing dishes if you’re serving buffet style
- Serving each table if you’re serving plated or family style
- Cutting your wedding cake
- Serving the cake
- Cleaning up each table
- Tearing down all of the decor, tables and chairs
- Making sure any rentals get back to the correct company
All in all the above mentioned work can take hours to complete. So be sure to weigh all the setup and cleanup involved in your event before making a decision.
I’ve linked to some great wedding decor websites to help you with deciding on what to purchase and what to rent.