Showing posts with label wedding venues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wedding venues. Show all posts

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Wedding Venues, How They Get You

Happy New Year!

So sorry for the long delay in posts, the holiday season got the best of me!  But I am excited to continue my focus on weddings with another article on venues!  (Shout out to all of you who got engaged in 2014, congrats!  I hope this helps make planning your wedding a little easier and lighter on the wallet!  If you're just starting out, take a look at my first bridal post: Setting a Wedding Budget)

Now that you have chosen your venue (if you haven't, check this post, Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Venue, to get started), you'll soon have your first meeting with the wedding coordinator at the venue.  While you don't need to have all the details set for this first meeting, it is important that you have in mind the general feel and needs for your wedding.  It helps them get an understanding of what you want and most importantly, it can stop them from overselling you too much.  Even the friendliest venues are going to try and get you to upgrade, and believe me, there are upgrades for EVERYTHING!!!

Here's a list of areas that they will try and get you to upgrade and some thoughts about the choices.  As I've stated before, weddings are not a place to skimp on, so having a few upgrades isn't the worst decision but there are definitely ones that are not needed.


The lowest of chairs I've seen are those plastic folding chairs (yuk!).  Luckily my venue had a nicer wooden chair as their basic so I didn't need to upgrade.  Upgrades could included padded, wood stains, non folding, etc.  The costs for the upgrade could be from $4 to $10 a chair.  This doesn't sound like much but multiply it by 100 and you'll see it adds up quickly!

Aisle Runner
For most decoration items like these, I always say if you do want it, get it yourself.  It not only allows you to be able to get exactly what you want and to customize it, but it also allows you to shop around for a better price.  Plus, afterwards, it may be something you'd want to use in your home or resell later (I'll have a post about that down the line).

Microphones and Speakers
Some places charge for the use of their electronics.  While I don't think this would be something that would be better to buy yourself, do keep in mind if it's necessary.  Electronics look ugly and can ruin the whole aesthetics of the ceremony, plus you run the risk of technical issues and cord tripping.  Keep in mind the size of the room or if you're in an outdoor space, the natural acoustics; how many guests you'll have and how far back they will be seated; and if you and your fiance can project (especially when you get sentimental).  If you're not sure, test it out!  See how far back you can go while your fiance talks and then switch.  Most trained pastors or officiants shouldn't have a problem.  


The same thing as with the ceremony.  Sometimes places can use the same chairs from the ceremony which can save you money.

This isn't really an upgrade, but keep in mind the amount of tables.  The more tables you have, the more centerpieces you need.  So maybe opt for the bigger tables if there are different size options.  I actually think it's fun being a guest at a wedding with a lot of people at a table.  Don't worry about it being crowded, it actually saves space to have larger tables with more people than more smaller tables.  They know exactly how many people can fit comfortably at each table.

A picture of my linens, simple white tablecloth with colored napkins
This covers the tablecloths, overlays (a smaller tablecloth to layer and have two colors), napkins, chair covers, and sashes.  This is where the plethora of options come out.  You have a myriad of choices between material and color.  I'd say stick with the basic material unless your dying for a sheen (which I think usually ends up looking cheap).  The place where you can opt to upgrade is in color.  I actually kept white tablecloths with no overlays and just added color to the napkins.  Sometimes too much color is overwhelming and keeping a lot of white is much more calming and lets your centerpieces stand out.  I made our sweetheart table stand out by having a tablecloth and overlay with our colors.  As far as chair covers and sashes go, I think it's overload.  They're annoying to sit on and usually get messed up throughout the night anyway.  But everything is preference.  Just know that each add on, is another $1 - $5 PER PERSON.  This can easily add on a few hundred dollars.  

Food Service Fees
A lot of places charge a cake cutting fee, usually $1 per person.  Most place charge a corkage fee for wine you bring in yourself which can be $20 per bottle!  Some places even charge corkage fees for their own wine!  Just be aware of all the fees and plan accordingly in your budget.

Again, for microphones there can be a charge.  Also, if you want to use their sound system or any TV's or projectors they might have, there can be fees.  These can run from $50 to $500!

Lights and Decorations
They'll show you lost of pretty pictures of how the place can be decorated and often they'll tell you they can provide you with that.  If they don't say it comes with it, make sure and ask how much it is!  Often, this can be easier then decorating yourself, but just know to ask how much it all is! 

Extra Tables
Some places charge for guestbook and present tables (ridiculous!).  If there are any other tables you may want for other crafts or stations, they will probably charge you for those. 

End of Night

Late Fees  
This one is kind of a no-brainer -- if you stay past the allotted time, they'll charge you extra and usually A LOT extra.  Just know how much it all is and try and keep things on schedule!

Cleaning Fees
Make sure you have people scheduled to clean up all the things you are responsible for cleaning.  If things are not left as they were, there can be some steep charges. 


Couple Extras
This is the champagne flutes for you and your fiance and the cake knife and server.  Most people get their own special ones which I just thought was a given.  I didn't realize that most places have their own and they can provide you with these for no extra cost!  Of course you don't get to keep it, but that's something I didn't really care about so bonus!

Cake Stand
Make sure you ask about this.  Again, this was something I assumed that most people provided themselves but there ended up being a nicer one already there for us!       

I think that pretty much sums up everything.  I'm sure some places charge for even more ridiculous things that aren't on this list, maybe try and find that out before booking a place just so you don't get overrun with extra charges!  There are going to be a lot of things you didn't plan on when it comes to financing a wedding no matter how hard you try (believe me!) but hopefully this can help you going into it.  If you think I missed something big, please let me know in the comments below!  Happy planning :) 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Venue

Choosing a wedding venue is one of the hardest and most important parts about planning your wedding!  It is important to find a place that suits you and your fiance's personality while meeting all the needs of your wedding.  And the venue is going to be one of the biggest finances in your budget so it's important to look around at all your options.

Hopefully you've already made your budget so you know what's in your price range (Look at this post for major ways to save on your budget: Setting a Wedding Budget).  Once you know that, it's good to start a preliminary search based on the location and setting that you want most to see if your dreams are within your budget.  My favorite website to use was Here Comes the Guide because you could get really specific in your search like views, setting, guest count, etc.  And what makes this guide even more handy is that in the description of each venue, it gives a breakdown of all the rental costs.  That is super handy to have because sometimes it is hard to find on each venue's site and it also explains it all in an easy to understand way.  Those that didn't have their prices available for the Here Comes the Guide site, I assumed were too pricey and trying to hide things.

Once you've looked at a few places that you were thinking of, you'll be able to see if what you were envisioning is within your budget.  You may have to make some compromises, but don't get discouraged!  There are hidden gems, other ways to get the feel that you want, or if you're really set on a place, you can make compromises in other areas that have a big impact on price as suggested in Setting a Wedding Budget.

Areas that are important to a venue (I will be focusing on Northern California as that is where I live, but the same idea applies to all places):

This may be what makes a price the most expensive.  Bigger cities are going to have higher price tags.  Try going a little outside the city to save a few bucks (and probably make it easier on the guests too!).

Are you really set on a winery?  Of course everyone thinks Napa, but those wineries are the most expensive.  Try the nearby Sonoma Valley or even the Livermore Valley has a lot more wineries now at a much cheaper price!  (My wedding was at a beautiful winery in the Livermore Valley, Elliston Vineyards.  Check it out!)

Really want an ocean view?  Most people gravitate towards Monterey but there's a whole coastline full of wedding spots!  (Here's a great place that I loved but was too small for my wedding, Landmarks Art and Garden Center.)

Catering Offered
This may seem like it makes a place more expensive but, trust me, it saves a lot of hassle and usually ends up being cheaper in the long run.  In fact, the really packaged places can save you A LOT of money.  It wasn't my thing because I wanted more say in the decision-making process.  But if you're not big on the whole details thing, you should really check out some awesome packages like this cool company that has a lot of great venues throughout California, Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada: Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Center.

Hope this helps and happy venue hunting!