Post # 1
I got engaged this past October and am looking for a ceremony/ reception venue. I live just outside of Philadelphia and I don’t really like the venues around here… not to mention the price. I went to school in Lancaster, so it has a very special meaning to my fiance and I.
At first we were looking at a barn/ rustic wedding. Completely DIY. We rent the site for $3000 and bring in a caterer, linens, pick up trash, etc. It is a very beautiful site, and if you know Lancaster – you know its pictureseque.
I had a gut feeling to check another place out in Lancaster that is kind of the exact opposite. It’s the “Cork Factory Hotel: Warehouse Room.” It has some rustic/ historic elements, but the package is approximately $140/ person and this includes the reception room, open bar, all food, taxes/ gratuity, servers, wedding cake, wedding coordinators, linens and even some decorations.
I’m looking to have approximately 65-80 people at this space, and I’m unsure of what’s more realistic. Any experience out there for what REALLY is the bang for your buck and if I’m better off doing this on my own or going with a package deal? My budget is around $10,000. And I am very minimalistic in regards to “finding the perfect dress,” and other expenses.
Post # 3
@misss0901: It depends on tons of factors. We were planning to do it all DIY and it was going to cost around $14000. We’re doing a complete package that is very nice and that will cost around $11000. (That’s for total wedding expense in CA a very expensive place to have weddings). In addition to cost you should also consider the added stress and time you have to put in (the ‘sweat equity’ part). If you have reliable people you can count on to help you then DYI can be a wonderful choice. Part of the reason we liked the package is that somebody else takes care of the logistics and panic problems, we just show up and enjoy the day. DIY expenses can easily run out ofd hand if you don’t watch them.
Post # 4
It depends on what you want! But my guess is the package deal will work out to be about the same!
Post # 5
@misss0901: It depends. We were looking at possibly hosting on a friend’s property, until we did the math and realized that renting the tables, chairs, linens, and dinnerware alone would cost more than half of the venue rentals we were looking at.
Post # 6
Thanks guys, it all seems like it would be cheaper.. but it really takes time to sit down and do the math. It kind of adds up to be the same, so it’s all a matter of what makes more sense.
Post # 7
@misss0901: I would guess that DIY would require a lot of teamwork and possible stress. I don’t think you need that kind of aggravation, on your wedding day. For a package, that doesn’t seem bad. I’m getting charged a 20% gratuity and 6% PA sales tax , on top of the food/beverage, plus the gratuity. In Philadelphia, there’s a 8% sales tax, and I believe 10% on the alcohol portion. Just make sure that your venue doesn’t have a minimum number of guests/$ amount, that would put you over budget.
Post # 8
Well, it kind of depends on the sort of DIY you mean. If you actually DIY your food with your family (or do a potluck) and use a public park or someone’s yard for the wedding, then it gets REALLY cheap, but then the flip side of that is having to do all the work.
For a sort of average-sized, formal wedding, I’d say that a package wedding is probably just about as expensive as a DIY wedding is. The difference there is that a package wedding is just that, a package. You get it all done, but that means limited choices and less personal touches. So, there’s no stress and no worries, but also a lot less options. With a DIY wedding, you have to do everything yourself, but then your options are limitless. So, you can have anything you want, but you have to work for it a lot more, and there’s basically no way to do it stress-free, lol.
So it’s kind of a trade-off, I guess. It’s probably more of a personality difference than a matter of budget. We had the budget to do a package wedding for our guest count, but it wouldn’t have been the style of wedding we wanted, so we rented a garden for the whole day for about $1000, got catering, and are DIYing everything else. It’s by no means stress-free that way, but it’s what we wanted to do, so.
Post # 9
@misss0901: Just my opinion, if I had a 10k budget, I would do the package. BUT I would ask for pricing with a cash bar. It should shave a couple k off the pricing and if 10k is total budget you still need to get tux dress flowers etc.
Post # 10
It all depends on what you want and how DIY you’re willing to get… Our mostly DIY wedding was 8k including dress, rings, adn tux rental.
WE did a lot of craigslist hunting to get free things we could re-purpose… Namely those wood pallets from which we made boxes for our centerpieces. They turned out really well!
Craft things can get very expensive so I did a ton of couponing to get things cheaper from Michael’s and Joann’s. They both regularly have coupons online and you can get them from their apps too (life saver).
Post # 11
To us, a combination of both. The package included the cocktail hour, a 5-course meal, wine for dinner, the cake and the cutting/serving, taxes and gratuities, and basic decor such as tableclothes and chair linens. All this under 100$/person, I thought it was totally worth it, because I don’t feel like buying these things, and renting them will cost be a few hundreds. Also, the venue is 1.5 hour from home. I don’t want to carry all that stuff in my car, given that I’ll already have our luggages, my dress, his suit, my makeup and all, our DIY centerpieces, etc.
However, 140$/guests seem like a lot to me. I would probably choose your first option, get the 3K rental, but save on catering, alcohol and other expenses. If the landscape is beautiful, you will need minimal decor for your venue : the landscape is your decor.
Post # 12
For 80 people we were looking at a DIY running about $12,000 after renting a handicap accessible venue in the French Quarter, catering and buying the booze ourselves and hiring two bartenders. And then we’d end up with a ton of decorations we won’t ever use again and I’d have to try and sell everything to try and recoupe losses.
Or we can pay about $13,000 for an all-inclusive venue with a contracted caterer that had excellent food and is known for pouring excellent drinks, they had three different cake companies on retainer, they have deals with a local DJ in particular, and a florist who cut us an excellent deal on real floral centerpieces exactly what I had planned to do with fake flowers and hand painted glass.
The extra grand for the convenience is totally worth it, especially when you factor in the fact that it includes all taxes, tips, and set up and break down costs.
Post # 13
Well, if your budget is 10,000, then the hotel is out with 80 people, because at 140/pp it adds up to 11,200 without any other details. Even at 60 people, it takes a huge chunk out of your budget at 8400.
If you check some of the more wholesale type places for your tables and chairs and whatnot, the barn may be a lot cheaper of an option. I would say do the barn, but check around and really scout our your options before committing and find the best value for your dollar.
Post # 14
If your budget is at/around 10k, you wouldn’t be able to afford the cork factory.
Plus, you should leave some slush.. there are probably a few people you’ve forgotten to add on your guest list that you’ll need to make room for. We thought we were inviting 80 or so.. we are currently at 114!
DIY CAN be much cheaper, and it can be much more expensive.
When it comes to food and drinks, if you are able to bring in a non-traditional caterer [local eateries and what not], and do your own alcohol it us MUCH MUCH cheaper than going with a venue. However, if you have to bring in tables & chairs, it isn’t much cheaper.
We are going the DIY route.. however, we found ceremony & reception venues that had tables, chairs, restrooms, heating, air, ect so that didn’t have to bring in. All we really need are some extra decorations to spruce the spaces up, since they aren’t the most eye pleasing.
Our cost per person is around $162, however, we are having ALOT of extras that we don’t really need : cigar bar, candy buffet, a HUGE cake, photo booth, dj/dancing, outside seating area. But we are able to afford these extras because we saved so much on our venues.
Post # 15
Yeah, it really depends on what you want. I was originally planning to have a DIY wedding, but then switched to a hotel when I saw how all the costs added up. In our case, we weren’t going to save money and the food was going to be BBQ vs the full formal dinner we can serve at our hotel. However, I definitely recognize it would have been possible to DIY it for cheaper than we were doing! We could have chosen cheaper chairs, we could have gone with the cheap caterer instead of the awesome southern BBQ people we were considering, we could have just let everyone arrange their own transport instead of having a bus go out of the city (there were no hotels in the area). In the end I think having a really glamorous looking country/DIY wedding like you see in the blogs or magazines is actually probably way more expensive than a banquet hall wedding, because the food is just as pricey but suddenly you have tons of rentals and off site fees etc. But it is possible to do a cheap DIY wedding if you are willing to compromise on certain details in ways that you wouldn’t be allowed to do at an all inclusive place.
Post # 16
@misss0901: Just wanted to add, make sure you ask how much a taxes and grautity would add up.
Our venue is 100pp for the package. With 100 people, we figure 10,000 would be fine within our budget. We forgot about taxes and gratutity initially. There’s about 3k just in taxes and gratituty!!