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Booking your wedding venue is likely one of the first steps you’ll be taking as you start to plan the big day. Tisk tisk, as you should really hire, or set up a consultation with a professional wedding planner first for guidance!
Next in our budgeting series, I want to talk about venue selection. This will be one of the most expensive pieces of your entire wedding investment. I’ll break down venue hunting into three easy tips to help you find the perfect venue. You’ll also find some helpful questions to ask as you tour facilities!
Your venue will set the tone for your wedding design and overall aesthetic. Make sure that as you hunt for the perfect space to host your soiree, it fits your overall vision and style. Hosting a black tie dinner? Think country clubs, hotel ballrooms, and stunning tented options. Want a big cocktail party with a rockin’ DJ? Opt for industrial spaces that leave room for creativity. Texas tuxedos and something simple? Tour spaces that have a lot of natural beauty like gardens, historic sites, or barns.
On occasion, brides and their families will come to us to assist with wedding planning and design after they have contracted a venue. One of the biggest mistakes that I see brides making is not getting a full cost estimate from the venue before booking. This mistake, literally, costs thousands of dollars and sends clients over their expected budgets.
Catering and sales teams work off of ‘food and beverage minimums’ which is the very least amount you are able to spend to book the space. Often times, a hotel will have a lower minimum of $20,000.00 or so – WHAT A DEAL! But in reality, after you add up the pricing for a 5 hour open bar, your favorite appetizers, a plated dinner and wedding cake – you have likely almost doubled your minimum spend. For this reason, it is important to ask about the average cost per guest at the property. For more on price per person breakdowns, checkout my overall budgeting post here!
After you’ve narrowed it down, make sure to ask for a broken down cost proposal based on the number of guests you are expecting to have. This estimate should include things like:
Food and Beverage Costs for cocktail hour, reception and dessert.
Labor, Taxes, and Service Fees, which can easily add 30% or more to your total bill.
Beyond the basics of food and drinks, make sure to ask what all is included in your venue rental fees. It may seem enticing to pay $10,000 for a blank space rental, but when that doesn’t include anything, your costs will add up much faster than you think.
Spaces like hotels come complete with food and beverage, tables and chairs, and even linen, china, glassware and flatware. Your minimum spend may be higher for these facilities, but often there is no “room rental” fee in addition to your minimums.
As for spaces like museums and barns, those venues are likely to charge a rental fee only. Then it is up to you to source food, beverage, and all rentals like china and glass.
Make sure you take into account each piece when comparing venues, as most times it isn’t apples to apples.
As always, thank you for reading our post! We hope that today’s topic was helpful as you search for your perfect venue. At Pop Parties, we offer straight forward advice, backed by 15+ years of experience to best serve our clients in their milestone celebrations.