Bang for Your Buck: Venues

We hope everyone had a fabulous New Year’s!  Now that everyone is engaged from the holidays, it’s a perfect time to talk about finding venues.  Finding a venue can be a tedious, frustrating, and exhausting experience.  In this post, I’m going to talk about how to get the biggest bang for your buck with venues in your area.

First, locate a space that will accommodate your guest list.  Don’t think that when a venue says “max capacity 220” that 220 is going to be comfortable, provide ample room for a dance floor, and allow space for personal details, guestbook, and oh yeah…food.  Take into consideration that venues sometimes have a max capacity for standing room, rows of chairs, cocktail style, or don’t allow for a dance floor.  Make sure you’re choosing a venue with more than enough space for your guests.

Second, take architecture, view, and charm of the building into consideration.  If you choose a building with an awesome view of the beach, a city skyline, a river/body of water, or even an old church that has been renovated into a stunning venue space, you are going to maximize your budget simply because those spaces don’t require the decor and over-the-top design that a boring ballroom would.  Things like rooftop decks, pools with clear pool covers, beach access, exposed brick or a wall of windows overlooking a cityscape can give your guests something interesting to look at and provide a wow factor that a plain old ballroom can’t compete with. 

Third, consider a location that provides onsite catering and/or rentals in the cost of the facility.  Many brides, particularly those who are on a budget, will see a great savings in a location that has onsite catering simply because they have all the flatware, servingware, plates, glassware and so forth that you would otherwise have to rent and coordinate.  Speaking of rentals, when venues provide tables, chairs and/or other rental items, this significantly will decrease your need for multiple rental providers.  Some locations still charge a rental fee for these items, but it may cost less than renting them elsewhere.  Although, you might want to check the quality of these rentals before agreeing to use them.  We have found chairs and tables aren’t very well maintained at locations that provide them with the cost of the venue.

Fourth, think about what spaces the venue provides.  If your venue has a courtyard, rooftop deck, a porch overlooking the water, or some other kind of interesting space, it might be worthwhile to go with a place with a second location.  You could have cocktail hour there, have games or other activities, or even have your ceremony there.  It would definitely add interest and provide your guests with a change of scenery, rather than standing in a boring old ballroom.

I hope this helps you narrow your decision on a venue and save you some money!

Courtney Shaver

Photo Credit: Eric Boneske Photography at the Brooklyn Arts Center


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