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Ah yes...the eternal question of packages...
First of all, getting engaged and making plans to get married should be a joyful time in your life. You should feel like you're on cloud nine.
If only planning a celebration were as easy as making a Pinterest board and picking a date and a spot, but it's not.
When you dip your toes out into the big waters of wedding venue searching, it starts to get a little murky.
There are chateaus, plantations, farms, cellars, wineries, such and such valley, inns and too many places named after cedar.
At the end of a day of online searches, drive time or back and forth phone calls and emails, it really all comes down to budget.
Whether it's your money or someone else's, financially the whole proposition has to make sense.
On a fundamental level, we want to be able to compare everything 'apples to apples', but it's not that easy.
While searching for your spot, there are things to keep in mind: wedding packages are put together for the ease of the venue (and some clients).
Most often they are based on lowest food cost and highest mark-up and it makes it easier for the venue to see their clients not as 'Bob & Sally', but now as Package A.
It's a formula and it makes it easy for them to deliver the same product over and over again, almost mechanized.
What you will also find universally with packages is that there are also gratuity charges on top of that and they range from 18% to as high as 30%.
The package you see also does not include tax, so don't forget that.
Next you'll find that in addition to packages, some venues still have a completely separate venue fee IN ADDITION to packages.
Things start to get really crazy when venues also have food and beverage minimums.
Some places can only hold 200 guests and have pricing in brackets from 50 - 100 guests, but when you read the fine print, they have a minimum count charge where no matter what your numbers are, you'll be charged for 155 at minimum regardless.
That seems sneaky.
There ends up being so much double dipping that you won't see until just before your wedding, and by that time you're stuck.
All of the above has us and our clients completely soured on 'packaging'. YOU are not a package. You're not 'option A, B or C'.
Another thing to pay attention to, because it matters: does the venue charge a separate fee for ceremonies?
Do they allow you to come do a ceremony rehearsal in the days before at no charge?
Do they allow you the whole day or is it split into two chunks so that you're rushed but they make double the money?
Can you come do engagement photos after you book with them?
How far away is the venue?
Will the distance affect how many people attend and what is offered for local lodging?
When items such as tables and chairs are included, are they what you'd want? Really? (Go back and look at your Pinterest board. I have yet to see photos pinned of cheap chairs). - Maybe it's worth asking what the included items look like before you get excited. Please. If they end up being nicer chairs, and you like them, then that's awesome.
Beware of 'linens included' - do you really want all white on white? Not even a smidge of color; champagne or blush or a little accent of Tiffany turqouise, maybe a deep aubergine for a fall celebration? If all they provide are white linens, that cost is factored into your price and selecting something other means paying extra (or really paying twice). Defend your newlywed right to personalize!
One more point and then we'll knock it off: beyond plain banquet tables and chairs, do you want something beyond that, that says something about your style?
Do they have any design help ability that can help you make your event stand out? (Go back to your Pinterest board and look at how many pictures you pinned that have trees with strung lights, lanterns, wood tables, bohemian or rustic touches, funky furniture, fabric or unique styling. If you pinned it, it meant something to you. Ask yourself 'why' and be true to yourself from the very beginning). Honestly, people will forgive boring wedding food but they will remember that you made special effort or had help with the details. Details matter (otherwise there'd be no Pinterest, Style Me Pretty, Martha Stewart....blah blah...it's true).
Whether you chose to have your day here with us or elsewhere, we'd like you to consider the value of paying for the space and your fundamental needs (covering for your event and restrooms) and beyond that, design your day around your style, your palate, and YOUR budget.
That's what we believe in.
We absolutely prefer to be the blank canvas on which you paint the masterpiece of your day, instead of a paint by numbers kit.
Your day should reflect YOU, not what's easier for us.
We sincerely want you to be happy. We defend your freedom of choice.