For bees who chose a venue with nothing provided, was it worth the work?

posted 5 months ago in Reception
Post # 2
208 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2019 - Mountains

So I’m an August wedding and I will tell you I considered a number of options for venues, but ultimately decided to have our reception at a restaurant as it was already decorated, linens/glassware/etc, was already there, familiar staff. I saw so many event halls that you paid a few thousand dollars just to rent the space for the time, and then you had to rent everything else. My number one priority was to have a no stress wedding and so far I haven’t had any. I just booked our nuptual venue and the restaurant. That was like half of the work.

I would also caution you that if you rent everything, you may not know what it will really look like until the day of when its brought in- there’s no turning back so make sure to work with a reputable company. Also, better hope they show up on time.

I even considered having the party in our backyard but the cost of renting everything and nice port-o-potties was just as expensive as a venue space.

Post # 3
2565 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

We rented an empty ballroom with no vendors on site. It was worth it for us, we were able to bring in our own alochol and bartenders (saved a ton of $) and customize with the vendors we wanted. Overall I think our wedding turned out great but it was a lot of planning. 

One thing that helped was hiring a DOC to be on site the morning/afternoon of the wedding to make sure all vendors were there and setting up at their times, etc. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t have someone to coordinate day of, there was too many moving parts for me to have handled the morning of my wedding. 

Post # 4
3321 posts
Sugar bee

I did this. My site supplied tables and chairs but I had to do everything else, including bringing in my own sound, food, alcohol, people to set up, etc.  I did this because I was trying to save money. However, I am also not a crafty person. I ended up hiring a day of coordinator, DJ (as opposed to speakers and making a playlist), caterer/bartender, etc. It all worked out. I had fun* – *was a little tense making sure things ran smoothly. In the end, I think I would have rather just paid someone to deal with it all.

Post # 5
341 posts
Helper bee

My venue is bare bones. The only thing they required us to use is their bar service. But we found an awesome caterer who offered to rent tables, linens, chairs, silverware, floral, event coordination, lighting. Basically everything. So it was easy to go with that venue. However, if you need to do everything piece meal then definitely get a more hands on coordinator earlier in the process. 

Post # 6
5958 posts
Bee Keeper

I was debating between two venues – an all inclusive in a further/remote area or a more DIY close to town. I went with the DIY but ended up hiring out a lot of it. In the end, it was more expensive than the all inclusive. It was still a really gorgeous location, and I don’t regret making it easier on my guests. But yeah, if the all inclusive was in the same location I would recommend that hands down. 

Post # 7
376 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2019

mtbee26 :  our venue doesn’t include anything, except for the chairs. We decided that since there would be so many vendors to pull together a planner would make it all a lot easier and give us confidence that it would all go smoothly! 

The wedding is in April, and I feel great about our decision! It was the most gorgeous venue we looked at. 

Post # 8
7184 posts
Busy Beekeeper

mtbee26 :  I did it and it was worth it! I hired an event planning company that had the catering and rentals all rolled into one. They even hooked me up with their florist since she was cheap and I didn’t have strong feelings about flowers. This particular company had worked with my venue before so it was fairly seamless in terms of coordination. I planned to buy the liquor from a wholesaler and have the caterer serve it, but the caterer actually offered to match the wholesaler’s low end price but as a full open bar (the wholesaler had a buyback option so basically they oversell you to make sure you don’t run out, but give you a ballpark of what they think you’ll sell back based on the average event) because they didn’t want to have to coordinate with another vendor. I ended up with full open bar for 5 hours for a total of $12/head! Being able to pick everything myself allowed me to negotiate that price which saved me a bundle given my boozy friends – I had not planned on being able to sell much back lol. 

Post # 9
466 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

We had our reception in a park so had to bring in everything (chairs, tables, decor, lighting, booze, glassware etc). It was a lot of work but we hired a coordinator to manage day of (she also confirmed all of our contracts and managed the servers and bartenders we hired). I thought it was great! Very personal, and very us. So, I guess it just depends on how much work you want to do? 

Post # 10
278 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2018

mtbee26 :  Our venue had tables, chairs, and a bar with bartender. I went with it because it was really cheap, and I had found a cheap caterer. As a result, we managed to get our ceremony space, reception space and caterer for under $4,000 for 160 people. My caterer was incredibly reasonably priced. If I could not have found that caterer I would have gone all inclusive because all the DIY would not have been worth the savings. If you can afford all inclusive, and really like the venue, then I would recommend that route. If you DIY, hire a coordinator. 

Post # 11
88 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

Our space had tables, but we had to bring in everything else, including other tables of different sizes. We  had a wedding planner who helped us, but in my experience that caterer can handle everything – they did tables, chairs, linens, bar set up, etc. The band handled the stage (but make sure to ask them about it). Anything can be done, but there is always a price! 

Post # 12
761 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

We are still planning, but based on initial research it will be a lot less $$ and less stress to go all inclusive. Now, we are shopping around and getting tons of quotes so this isnt always true, but we are budget minded so definitely seeing a savings there.

Post # 13
1034 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

We did this, and it turned out well but it was a LOT of work. The factors that made it successful were:

1. The venue owner (we got married on a farm that offered only the space, but offered it from Wednesday-Sunday) has relationships with several vendors and recommended different options, plus provided advice about how many plates, etc. we should rent for our reception. She had lots of experience with weddings on her property, and gave us lots of helpful advice.

2. Friends and family were willing to help out with decorating and cleanup

3. I had already planned most of the things I cared about on my Pinterest page and with the planner from A Practical Wedding, so it was pretty easy to make decisions about things (though I still had to make decisions about all the things I did not care about as well, like the length of tablecloths to order). It can be a bit daunting when there isn’t a limited list of options to choose from, and you can literally order anything off Etsy. It’s easy to go over budget.

4. One of my college roommates volunteered to be our DOC and was fabulous at keeping everything on track. She kept the DJ in line when he tried to move his booth ONTO the dance floor, taking up a third of it, and called the rental company to come back when it became clear they hadn’t delivered salad plates.

5. The vendors we selected (especially the caterer) were extremely competent and professional and could fix things that went wrong in the moment

I don’t think we actually saved much money by going this route, but there was SO much more flexibility in what we could choose, and it was very personalized to us, which made it special. We got our booze and bartenders from a local liquor store that bought back anything unopened, and was able to source the specific German beer my husband adores. My stepmom found bulk flowers at a farm and market near our house. My sister made all the programs, and our officiant, another farmer and longtime family friend, provided maple syrup for our favors. My friend recommended a former colleague who had gone into the photography business, and the photographer waived the travel fee because of the recommendation.

Keep in mind that if you do all the work yourself, you’ll need to be super organized. I had a massive Google document of who was supposed to arrive when, and put what where, that I printed out and handed to my friend who was our DOC. Also remember that you’ll probably need to tip more people than you would at an inclusive venue. It’s a lot to keep in your head, but if you’re that personality type, it can go smoothly!


Post # 15
1526 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

My best friend went with a venue that provided nothing. As moh, I stayed 2.5 hours after she left helping her family pack up decor, sweep, mop and otherwise return the venue to its original condition. 

Her wedding was beautiful and I don’t think it was thhhhatt much work to pick all the vendors and diy. But the clean up sucked. 

Knowing how much work it was for her and my sisters wedding, I want to give my family and friends the gift of getting to really relax and enjoy the wedding. And when I leave, I want them to have minimal effort and time before they leave. 

My only real nonnegotiable was picking a venue that provided table decor and clean up. I found one that handles that and dishes. You take what you want and they handle removal and disposal of the rest. SOLD!!!

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