Post # 1
i’ve just started this whole wedding business and i cant decide whether we should do a hotel wedding which may decrease the overall hassle of planning a wedding or picking a non-hotel site that would require me to rent everything, bring in my own food, hire a staff, etc etc.
it appears from a rough calculation that they would be the same price but with the a non-hotel wedding site, i would get to personalize more of the decor and bring in the food of my choice. for example, if the hotel charges $55/pp for alcohol for 4 hrs that’s at least $5.5k. but if i use a non-hotel site, i could purchase the alcohol myself and save some $$ but i’d have to rent the equipment and hire a bartender.
any insights would most helpful!! : )
Post # 3
We are going with the country club, which is like a hotel in that they will supply staff, linens, etc. They also have an excellent chef, who is working with us on the menu, so we do get to customize quite a bit. They have a fully stocked bar, although we are bringing in some of our own wine (my cousin owns a winery).
It turns out that, the country club being a not-for-profit type of institution, there is no facility fee as such and the catering and bar fees are really reasonable. And I am so happy to have their event coordinator to advise on number of appetizers, timing and sequence of events, and such. There is so much to handle anyway I can’t imagine having to hire a bartender and stuff like that. I think that the less you have to worry about, the better. That way you can drive yourself crazy over favor boxes and things like that (last night I actually dreamed about wrapping votive candles), as opposed to logistics.
Post # 4
I really agonized over this decision myself and there’s so much that goes into it! A lot will depend on what kind of caterer you go with and what kind of location fee comes with it. I went with a beautiful atrium that’s part of a military academy. I love LOVE the fact that I’m bringing my own alcohol, I think that’s a big money saver, plus, I can really work with my caterer to get exactly what I want in my menu. Hotels and restaurants are great, but I really felt like I was getting ripped off on a bar that not many people were going to use and the food packages in my price range always stunk! Just watch your rentals. The space I went with provides tables and chairs, and the caterer has a china pattern that he owns about 40 pieces for. That drops my rentals WAY down for my 75 people. I think, for me, the deal maker/breakers were:
Is there a kitchen on-site
Does it need a ton of decoration? Or just enough to make it your own
How much is the location fee
Can you bring your own alcohol
Are there any items already on-site that you won’t have to rent (tables, chairs, linens, etc.)
Post # 5
We debated about this as well, but decided that a space you can bring everything into would make it more personal since we could choose everything. I joke all the time that we’re basically renting a field of grass with electricity for our wedding. Of course it’s surrounded by mountains on all sides so the view is amazing which cuts down a little on the decorations needed. It also has a huge fire pit so we’re ending the night with a huge bonfire and a smores bar. That pretty much sealed the deal. Cost wise, I think is about the same for the space and the rental items (tent, plates, glasses, etc.) but some of the things you don’t think about can add up (a tent for the caterer, lighting, needing 2 sets of chairs). We’re saving a ton on alcohol though because we get to buy it all ourselves. We do have to buy a license for the day but in NC that’s only 50 dollars and we have to have a bartender provided by the caterer at $20/hour. Overall though I think the food and the look is going to be so much better than some of the hotels we looked at and it will look more like us. Another plus for us was not having to work our color scheme around the usually ugly paint/carpeting combos that many places have now. I will say that pulling together all the vendors took a little effort but now that it’s done everything is easy.
Post # 6
Ditto Puffy and ncmountainbride — I found that the cost was approx. the same, and that the independent venue is a lot more work, but a good caterer/event planner/coordinator makes all the difference. You save in some areas, spend more in others, but you truly do get more personalization. But that’s sort of the problem — you do have to decide/plan (or at least approve) for everything from how many extension cords to the flowers, food and vendors.
If you’re a very organized person, or have a good lead on a caterer or event planner, then it can truly be worth it. If you’re a person who doesn’t like to think about "how many feet of paper lantern strings does it take to light up this courtyard" you might be better off with a hotel.
Post # 7
I would suggest thinking long and hard about whether doing everything yourself is something you would enjoy or not. I am going the tent/bring it all in yourself route, and it’s super stressful. I would never do it without the help of a coordinator. It takes way more time, way more research, way more careful planning to figure it all out. It’s definitely caused me a ton of stress along the way! In the end, it’s going to end up costing the same, or maybe slightly less than the costly but easy hotel option. I think it will be more personal and more fun for our guests in the end!
Post # 8
I’m not sure if you’re just between two places, but there are a lot of options between hotels and places where you have to bring in everything yourself. We are having our wedding in a room that has a contract with one catering company. The package provides rentals, linens, etc… The open bar is about $15/person for four hours. No cake cutting fees, etc… So, it’s about the same number of vendors as we would need at a hotel, but less ridiculous costs.