Congrats on getting engaged! And of course, the first thing to do is to set a date and find a venue. It is nice to have the location settled and feels like a HUGE accomplishment to complete that task. We totally understand why everyone wants to choose a venue before considering all other vendors, but we are here to offer a different perspective.
In the wedding business, there is something called “venue poor.” Typically, when we look for a venue, we think about the location, the accommodations, and the number of guests. We do not think about the hidden costs like cake cutting, linens, catering, and even a cleanup/set up crew. This is what is referred to venue poor.
Typically, clients anticipate spending 25% of our budget on the venue. But with extra hidden costs and fees, clients can end up spending up to 75% of their budget alone! To avoid situations like this, we have a couple of recommendations to choose the right venue.
My first recommendation is to hire an event planner. I get it; spending an extra $5,000 to $8,000 on a planner sounds like a lot of money right off the bat. But when you are planning a wedding and the overall scheme of the budget; it is a small percentage. Event planners will not only look out for those hidden fees, but they also negotiate your contracts, recommend reliable vendors, and be your advocate for a successful event! They also will give you realistic thoughts about the actual space to accommodate your guests and fulfill your vision.
If you are not interested in getting a planner right off the bat, then the second option is to figure out the cost of ALL of your vendors BEFORE signing the venue. Have an idea of how much it costs to get a DJ, a designer, photographer, makeup artist and make sure to consider the costs for tax and gratuity. It is harder to stay on budget and have your dream wedding when you already spent so much money for a venue.
From an event designer perspective, you can create a “million dollar” wedding look at any venue without going over your budget. The key is to be patient and be educated about your vendors before signing with a venue.
Remember, at the end of the day, most event planners and vendors want you to have your dream event. Doing your research and asking for help make your special day stress-free.