Post # 1
I’m newly engaged!!!!
….and completely overwhelmed, stressed and generally not enjoying this stage in my life. Am I the only one???
I got a beautiful ring from my wonderful boyfriend less than two and a half weeks ago. Since then, I feel like I (and my wonderful mom) have wasted hours upon hours online researching venues only to come up empty handed.
Our budget is very modest ($10-$15k for everything) and I cannot seem to find anything within our means. I had my heart set on an urban loft-y or rustic feel but cannot stomach spending $4-$5k on an empty room (food, booze, tables, chairs, etc., not included). Add another $7k for food, $1.5k for tables and my budget is already exhausted! I’d be forced to walk to the aisle in my birthday suite 😉 lol. Our venue search is Chicago and west/southwest suburbs.
I’ve already broken down in tears, developed a few hives and considered eloping numerous times… am I just being dramatic or am I just not cut out for a wedding??
Post # 3
@Jayne_Mar: It will get better. BREATHE! It’s only been a few weeks. You’re just overwhelmed. It will all come together. Smile and be happy, you’re getting married!
Post # 4
Searching for the venue is definitely one of the worst parts, it drove me crazy too. Once you get that nailed down, things will start to fall into place and be more fun… just be patient!
Post # 5
You can do this! Wedding planning can be overwhelming, and sometimes you can’t find exactly what you are looking for, esp. if you are on a tight budget.
I would consider stepping away from looking at traditional “venues” and try looking into out of the box venues – old train stations, restaraunts, libaries, muesums, bed & breakfasts, community buildings/parks, barns, historical sites or, you could check our vrbo.com – there may be some large, lovely homes in your area you could RENT and have gorgeous wedding for a fraction of a normal venue, and have a place for your bridal party to stay!
Post # 6
Also, I originally wanted a gorgeous barn-type wedding [like a barn that’s an actual venue], I found one i wanted but they were taken on my date and it was over $5000 to rent. Yikes!
I ended up choosing a gorgeous historical house for the ceremony [which cost a whopping $50!], and a plain jane brick community building for the reception [$125].
We will have to do a little more decorating for the building than I would have liked, BUT we have a bunch of extra money in the bunch we can shift into food/alcohol/guest comfort.
Post # 8
@Jayne_Mar: A little dramatic 🙂 But, finding a venue was probably the most stressful and frustrating part of planning for me. But, if you’re already feeling like this is a nightmare, maybe eloping IS something to consider. Or having something really small and relaxed wtih your closest people. Not everyone is cut out for or interested in planning a 100+ person event, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of! Put together a list of your “must haves” for the wedding, and then make decisions about where your costs go based on that.
Post # 9
I can totally understand how you’re feeling. It is so hard when your vision doesn’t align with your budget, and even more frustrating when everyone keeps asking you if you’re having fun! Like other posters have said, try to take a step back and give yourself a bit of a break. You’ve only been engaged a couple of weeks, so even if it feels like you have to get stuff done RIGHT.NOW, you do have some time.
I felt like I had to book a venue immediately, and was doing so from 2 states away. I felt pressured, rushed, and honestly feel as though I settled a bit to stay within budget ($15k). I wanted a venue on the barrier island, near the beach, but went with something on the river instead. I’m happy with it, but there are things I wish I could change. Had I gone outside of the box, or found a venue where I live (which would have made it very difficult for some family to attend) that may have been different. My advice is to take your time and try to stay calm 🙂
Post # 10
@Jayne_Mar: I felt the exact same way when I first got engaged ($10k budget, ended up spending about $12k for everything), but you will be able to find things that are totally doable. I highly recommend DIYing what you can, especially anything that is “custom” (i.e. cake toppers, flowers, etc), also look for “off” days (i.e. Friday or Sunday) and many venues will give you further discounts if you book multiple services (we got a great deal on our venue because we had the ceremony, reception and hotel rooms in one place, plus saved on transportation). Cutting the guest list can help tremedously as well. We were able to host 3 events (welcome dinner, wedding reception, thank you brunch), with 50 guests for a total of $12k (includes tax, gratuities, attire, rings, gifts, attire, etc, basically anything “wedding” related). Best of luck!
Post # 11
Have you considered a non weekend date for your wedding? I was stressed about the same thing while searching for our venue. We ended up picking a monday date (Weird, I know). But our venue would have been $6,500 on a saturday, $4,500 sunday and friday, and only $1,600 for mon-thurs! Other perks of a non-weekend wedding so far have been major discounts on our DJ and Photographer. Not to mention we get our pick of the litter when it comes to most vendors, as mondays are obviously not a very popular day for weddings. We are also looking forward to having the weekend leading up to the wedding for fun with family and friends and rehearsal, etc. I am also doing my own decorations and hand picking flowers from a dahlia farm.
I know that a monday wedding isnt for everyone. But there are plenty of ways to cut corners and still have your dream wedding! For reference, my budget is strictly 15,000. Including venue, wardrobe, photographer, dj, food, decorations, everything! (Not honeymoon)
Good Luck! Don’t stress! (I know its easier said than done..)
Post # 12
@Jayne_Mar: We ended up at the hall of a local division of the Lions Club.
See if there are venues like that in your area. We found it by just driving around the area we were thinking of and looking for any sign that said “Hall” XD
We also rented a FIELD from the city (like $200) to use as the ceremony venue, and they were right next to each other so chairs and things were used in both places and just moved.
We ended up spending about $12k for 80 people, however we had no liquor, but did spend about $4k on photography as that was important to us. And we are in Vancouver BC area which I think is typically kinda on the more expensive side… so, it IS doable 🙂
(Just look for the hidden gems, the un-hidden ones are expensive 😛 )
Post # 13
Chicago is one expensive city for weddings, i have a similar budget and had many of those breakdowns. We delt with it by knocking out a few vendors (dj is a gift, family member officiant), i’m making all our (minimal) decorations and doing the flowers myself, and put most of our budget into the food/drink.
take a couple deep breaths, talk to people you know, and try checking out the chicago board on here.
once you book the venue, planning gets fun again! trust me 🙂
Post # 14
Thanks so much for the advice, everyone!!
I was starting to think I was the only bride to be completely stressed over the venue. It doesn’t help when coworkers, friend, and family keep asking for details and then immediatley say… take your time and enjoy this LOL
Post # 15
I’m new to the hive but I feel like the Chicago board doesn’t get much action for some reason ;-/
I’ll have to take some time and sift through the older posts and maybe I’ll find info on the perfect venue 🙂
Post # 16
the board goes dead quite a bit, but there are some old venue posts in there that might give you a place to start looking. i had to give up all hope of that cool loft downtown feel and ended up with a vintage hotel in Oak Park instead. Got a dream location for my ceremony though