It is not only the first thing on your to do list when you get engaged, but it is the MOST stressful, and the MOST expensive item to book in your wedding planning process! So lets talk about

How to Choose the Right Venue & Stay in Budget

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How much of my budget goes to the venue?

  • The majority of the time, it will be around 50 percent of your overall budget. This needs to include venue space, full catering, cake or dessert, and all rentals.
  • If your budget is under $25k this does not normally apply to you! MOST of the time, your outside vendors will cost between $10-$15k if you pick reasonable packages and vendors. So be sure to keep that in mind when receiving estimates from venues.
  • I am going to touch lightly on the “blank slate” venues where you have to bring everything in. I get how appealing these venues are. You get quotes from others where the food is included and these that include nothing seem like they would be a much cheaper route. This holds true if you plan on having a taco guy, or pasta delivery. However, you do need to hire a full service staff regardless and they require a ton more work and time on your part. So be careful and make sure you have really done your homework before booking a location with nothing included. Make sure you are completely transparent with your vendors and what the venue has to offer when reaching out for quotes. For example, if there is no kitchen on site, a caterer may add on an additional $1500+ to build their own kitchen. I think these types of venues in themselves are eligible for their own blog post. So we will touch more on that, at a later date! How do you know what price point you should be at? Do your homework! Search for your ideal photographer, DJ, etc. and gather pricing so you can deduct from your overall wedding budget and then book your venue accordingly. Where do you start the search? The best is through a referral from a friend. Another is the power of social media! Search hashtags of your town, desired venue, etc. Vendors who have worked there in the past should start to pop up. (#redondobeachweddingphotographer, #losangelesweddingvenues, etc.)

What I love about Instagram is that when you get to lets say a photographers grid who has some pictures you may like, you also kind of get to know them. Who they are, if they are a family person, party-er, etc. Its important to identify with the people you will be working with on your wedding day, because, well, it is the most important day of your life thus far and you want to be surrounded by people you enjoy, trust, and relate to! Lastly….YELP!!!! Before hiring anyone, booking any venue, etc. you should YELP them! All of the good, bad, and in between gets posted on YELP! Ideally, it is always smart to start with your dream package and then work your way down from there if you need to cut costs.

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Things to look for in proposals from venues:

  • Service fee 15-25 percent. Don’t arrive to the venue to fall in love with it when not taking into consideration the extra 30 percent for tax and service fee. Your proposal could go from $10K to $13K at the snap of a finger!
  • Do they add the service fee and tax on through out your payments or lump sum it at the end for the final payment. Example: $20,000 goes to venue at 25 percent service fee and tax that would be an additional $5000. Some venues when setting up your payment plan, do not add tax and service charge into the estimate until the LAST PAYMENT NEEDS TO BE MADE! So if you were to make 4 payments in the above example, the first 3 would be $5k but the last one would actually be $10k (5K plus tax and service charge). Could you imagine getting an unexpected $5K bill thrown on you a few weeks before your wedding. EEeeekkk
  • How many hours are included? Some venues will seem a little cheaper then others but offer little time to get all of your events in and then also offer an hourly “add on” rate. Typically, you need 5 hours for reception only and 5.5-6 hours for both ceremony and reception. Both of those should give you a decent amount of dancing time, if planned properly. Anything more then that is a true party!!!Venue coordinator: is it the same as a day of coordinator? Most cases it is not! Day of Coordinators take on A LOT more then venue coordinators. A lot of venues say they include a coordinator. Make sure that coordinator covers all of the aspects that a typical Day of Coordinator would cover before booking.

I hope this information was helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below or DM me on my Instagram @love.marriage.babycarriages

If you didn’t get your question answered today, or just simply want to chat about any and all things wedding, I am an open book and would be happy to answer your question personally. It may even become one of our blog topics in the future. I hope you all have a wonderful day! This is Desiree with Desiree Carol Special Events signing off!