Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wedding Tip #3 - Venue Rental Packages


You've called/emailed/visited some potential reception locations and received some kind of "welcome package" in reply. Here is an example of the pricing section from a Portland, ME venue (not the location pictured above) with some of my own notes.

Our Elegant Five Hour Receptions Include
~Open Bar with Call Brand Liquors~
(if you can afford to you should treat your guests to an open bar. They've put in a lot of effort and money to come to your special day)
~Champagne Toast for All Guests~
~House Wine (Red & White) Served with Dinner~
~Chair Covers (In Black, White or Ivory) & Sashes (In a Beautiful Array of Colors)~
(These cost from $3-$5 per chair)
~Personalized Menu Cards at Each Pace Setting~
(A high end look for tables while allowing guests to check for food allergies)

~Professional Wedding Consultant~
~Complimentary Centerpieces (Mirror with Hurricane Globe)~
(You can always add/substitute flowers if it is with-in your budget)
***Personalized Menu Tasting for Bride, Groom and Four Additional Guests***

Additional Amenities
~Complimentary champagne and hors d’oeuvres for the bridal party upon arrival~
(You often miss the cocktail hour because you are doing photos)
~White glove service during cocktail hour~
~An exquisite gourmet plated dinner created by our Executive Chef~ (Plated dinners then to look for formal than buffets)
~Complimentary cake cutting service~
(some locations charge extra to cut your cake)

~Complimentary reservation cards for your invitations~
~Complimentary room rental for your Rehearsal Dinner or Bridal Brunch~
~Discounted overnight accommodations for your guests of 10 or more rooms~
~Complimentary overnight accommodations for the Bride and Groom on the wedding night~

Total cost for this venue: $90.00 per person (Grande Ballroom Food & Beverage Minimum is $10,000.00)

The average American wedding cost is $22,000 with 48% of the budget going to the reception. So with an average budget of 22k a couple would have $10,560 to spend on the reception including: Reception Site, Food, Drinks, Rentals, Cake, Favors. This package covers all but the cake and favors. By spending this location's minimum of $10,000 (110 people) a couple could have approximately $560 left to spend on their cake, favors and/or additional guests.

See a budget planning worksheet here
(Photography is budgeted at 12% - or $2,640 with a 22k budget) In many cases this won't be enough for full day photography coverage. However some photographers, myself included, could work out an hourly coverage plan to fit this budget.

The problem is that all venues do not price with the same structure or include the same things. This means they can be difficult to compare. How do you sort though all of this information? I suggest making a basic chart for comparison. Your chart should include the following columns: Location, Room Rental Fee, Dinner price, tables & linens, chair covers, cocktail hour apps, Open bar, Bridal suite, Center pieces, cake cutting fee, and any other options you would like! (For example, you might be looking for a reception location that also offers space for your ceremony.)

Once you have your chart you can check included items or write in additional costs and more easily compare venues. I made my chart in excel, if you you like it just email me and I'll happily send it to you.

I believe you want a venue to include enough options so you don't have to search for all the extras (food/drink vendors, tables, silverware, etc) - but leave enough options outside the packages so that you can make your day unique! For example, most couples choose to book their own photographer, band/DJ, and cake rather than take and "all inclusive" reception package.

Happy Planning!

1 comment:

perfect bound said...

That venue is such a great bargain. I'd love to see what the place really looks like. You are so right about hidden costs like cake cutting fees, coat checks, bridal party suites and so on... I loved our venue and felt so comfortable working with them during the entire process but you really do have to work hard to ask the right questions and get all of the information. This is a great resource! Well done.