Oct 8, 2019
Inclusively Yours is an equality-minded wedding planning podcast, brought to you by the leading inclusive wedding publication Love Inc. Magazine.
Choosing a venue is perhaps one of the biggest — if not the biggest decisions that you're going to make for your wedding day. The venue's availability can dictate your actual wedding date, and its style can play a huge role in your overall aesthetic. And because of this, it needs to be one of the first decisions that you make during your planning process … and it's usually one of the most expensive. But it doesn't have to be! Today we're chatting with the queen of savings, Jessica Bishop from The Budget Savvy Bride and author of the best-selling book, "The Budget Savvy Wedding Planner and Organizer," and she's sharing her money saving tips and tricks to finding and booking your venue.
Jessica's known as the budget wedding expert, and has shared her money saving tips and tricks with outlets such as Good Morning America, Brides, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Refinery 29 and more. Her first book, "The Budget Savvy Wedding Planner and Organizer" is an Amazon best-seller.
First Step to Finding a Venue
The first step to finding a venue, you need a budget in place! And the first step to getting a budget in place is sitting down with your partner and any contributors. “You should definitely sit down with your partner and discuss kind of if no one else could contribute at all, what the 2 of you would be comfortable spending or could realistically afford to spend. Some couples will decide to delay their wedding or have a longer engagement so they can save up. And more and more couples I think are paying for the majority of things themselves. So that tends to be a big factor.
But then, yeah —going and sitting down with all those other contributing parties, if you are lucky enough to have some financial donors or contributors. And just kind of setting those expectations for what things typically cost. Doing some research on sites like The Knot, or WeddingWire. Or there's a site called costofwedding.com that I always recommend couples checking out. You can actually look based on geographical area. I think you can type in your zip code and see submitted figures there.
Then sitting down with all those contributing parties and kind of making a plan for-- Are they going to cover things when a bill comes in? Are they going to give you the money all at once in a lump sum? Like setting those expectations is like the best way to avoid stress and conflict throughout the process.”
How much of your budget should you set aside for your wedding venue?
On average, you should expect 40-50% of your budget be allocated to reception costs: venue fee, rentals, catering, the bar and entertainment. “It really depends on if you choose like an all-inclusive venue that includes all of those odds and ends - versus a raw space where you're bringing everything in — you’re going out and finding rentals, you're going out and hiring a separate caterer. And so the venue fee might not be quite as high.”
Venue budget breakdown and sneaky costs to look out for:
“Venues that offer kind of more of those services included in their venue fee, their amenities and conveniences basically that you aren't getting when you go to like a raw space and bring in everything yourself. So things that can kind of surprise you are things like cake cutting fees and clean up/setup fees. If there needs to be extra like attendants on site for, to liaise with the event vendors who are bringing in different items for the wedding day. Those are good things to look out for.”
“And then of course like your timeline. Do you only have a certain amount of time set aside? What's your, what's the earliest you can come in, what's the latest you can be there? Is there an additional fee if you overstay that time limit? Because that can cut into your party time if you need to have everything cleaned up and be out of there by that deadline. So those are definitely some good things to keep in mind.”
“I think it's so cool when couples choose kind of a less traditional venue, and they do tend to be a bit more cost-effective. Because they're a lower fee, and you do have more control over each different aspect — because you can select the caterer, the rentals that best suit your budget or your aesthetic, whichever might be a priority. But I think some of the most interesting ones that I've seen are things like libraries for couples who are like big book lovers. Or a good one that that we published several years ago was like at, like an aerospace kind of museum.”
“It’s really cool because when a couple chooses a venue, that can their shared interest or part of their love story. It's just an extra personal detail. And if you can also save money in the process, that's great. But some great places to find venues like that - I really love Peerspace. They have kind of an event rental platform essentially, but instead of being like Airbnb, where you're renting a place where you spend the night, they rent out raw spaces that you can rent for either photo shoots or events or all different sorts of things. And you can sort by your event type or what the purpose of the rental is, and that's really handy.”
“But I think like your best cost savings are going to come with like kind of a more intimate wedding in a place like that. But one thing that I'm currently working on over at Budget Savvy Bride, is we're launching what we're calling, The Savvy Wedding Guide.
And we're going to be featuring some of these offbeat, a little bit alternative wedding venues in order to try to share those hidden gems with the couples who are looking for them. They tend to be places like community centers or like VFW halls or like lodges, local unionized groups who rent their spaces out, and it's really affordable and you can easily customize them, because they're kind of just blank spaces. So yeah, that's a resource that we're currently working on now, hoping to launch soon.”
Things to keep in mind when touring an out-of-the-box venue:
Make sure there are power outlets for lighting and DJ, easily-accessible bathrooms, and see if they have basic rentals such as tables, linens and chairs, or if those will need to be sourced. “Basically every single line item detail that you would need to put together a wedding reception. It's a good idea to ask - just line by line, all those details. I actually have a great downloadable, printable form on The Budget Savvy Bride, with some great questions to keep in mind and ask when you visit a venue.”
Other Secrets to Savings:
Choosing a less popular day of the week or time of the year can save you a lot of money. “I'm dying to be invited to a brunch wedding, because I love brunch. Yeah, so Sundays, Fridays — I'm hearing that people are doing mid-week weddings. I haven't been invited to one personally, but obviously it'll depend a lot on your guest list and who you think might be able to attend an event that's not on a weekend. But you can save significantly by choosing a date other than Saturday. And also, knowing what kind of peak seasons are in your area. It obviously depends on the area of the country that you're in. But generally spring and fall are the busy wedding seasons. So going for like winter. And then if you're in a really, really hot area — sometimes even going in like the dead of summer can save you potentially.”
“Another thing I really encourage all couples who are like looking to save as much as possible, is to keep an eye out for venues that will allow you to bring in your own alcohol. It can be a huge saver, just because you have so much more control over the cost per bottle of liquor or wine - so that can save you significantly, honestly. Because the markup tends to be so high with caterers — so that's a big one.”
The Budget Savvy Bride Website:https://thebudgetsavvybride.com
The Budget Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer: http://bit.ly/2OrRD1d
Cost Of Wedding Resource Site: https://www.costofwedding.com/
Savvy Wedding Guide: https://thebudgetsavvybride.com/directory
Printable Venue Form from The Budget Savvy Bride: https://assets.thebudgetsavvybride.com/wp-content/uploads/Downloads/Ultimate%20Savvy%20Wedding%20Venue%20Guide.pdf
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