There’s this romantic notion that every little girl has her wedding day perfectly visualized and planned leading up to meeting her soulmate. Dress, flowers and the reception venue -- are all perfectly coordinated and thought out. In reality, very few of us actually do that. I believe that a wedding day is a compilation of one’s life experiences, tastes and preferences, and as such is rarely based on a child’s imagination.
With men and women waiting longer to tie the proverbial knot (in 1960, the median age of first marriage in the U.S. was 23 for men and 20 for women; today it is 28 and 26) there’s no wonder that there’s such an interest in non-conventional venues. Couples are usually established in their careers, with developed tastes and preferences and are willing to go that extra mile to find the perfect venue that represents them on every level. Hence the green weddings, the barn weddings, the vineyard weddings and build-it-from-scratch weddings (where an empty space or a lot is rented and the entire mood is set up based on the couple’s theme).
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing an atypical wedding venue (meaning a place that offers other services than just churning out weddings).
- In general, vineyards, farms, historical mansions will only offer rental of their premises. Prices will vary based on popularity and location of the venue-ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 in New Jersey. That fee usually does not include rental of tables, chairs and china. This additional rental cost will usually run around $50 per guest.
- Services of a caterer will be required, which gives many options and freedom of selection, but also will cost more money in a long run.
- Venues that do not offer an indoor space for a reception and do not have a seasonal tent ready for your use will also require you to rent one.
- Since these venues also run their own business, many times you will be required to start your event after their business hours.
- “Designing” your space from a scratch will also cost you extra, since lofts and empty spaces do not come with a lot (or nothing at all) and every inch of the space will need to be addressed, including bare ceilings.
There’s one more venue that is not truly conventional in a technical sense -- a hotel. Hotels can give couples comfort of hosting an event and offering lodging to their guests at the same location. They can also be impersonal, being that they make the majority of their income from their bookings and not the weddings. Still it is a very popular choice especially for weddings with many guests coming from out of town.
And a note on falling in love with a venue that is simply out of your price range. Do not give up! Many venues will offer special discounts for Friday and Sunday night weddings as well as Saturday morning or afternoon weddings. Also January-February-March weddings are discounted as well. And, lastly, if you can pull off a wedding in a month...go for it! Venues that don’t have bookings for that day will be more willing to work with you and lower their fees.
In my next blog, I will explain the roles of a wedding designer, wedding planner and a wedding coordinator and break some wedding planner myths that are out there. In the meantime -- happy wedding planning!