Print Edition: February 4, 2015
Engagement is exciting and all, but eventually reality starts to kick in and the happy couple soon realizes they have a whole effing wedding to plan! Dear God, how did it come to this? As someone who was just recently married, I guarantee you it doesn’t have to be hard if you don’t want it to be. And I can help.
There are several stages to planning, but I’d like to look at venues. As far as numbers go, they can look pretty basic when it comes to pricing. A thousand dollars and under can land you a very nice venue for a whole day. But there are a few catches. Catering, decorations, sound, and video all have to be considered. Some venues have a few of the necessary amenities, but some do not. On top of that, you have to make sure the venue looks nice to begin with, and that it is in a good location.
This is where hotels come in.
Often, hotels come equipped with banquet halls that cater to all sorts of events, including weddings. This is a great boon for wedding planners. If you are not partial to the glorious garden wedding with bluebirds, sunshine, and sexy short-sleeve shirts with vests, then hotels are the perfect venues.
In most cases, hotel banquet rooms are outfitted with sound equipment. At the very least, they will have hookups and speakers. They have to — when it comes to hosting big events, good sound is key. On top of this, they come equipped with all the tables, basic table décor, cutlery, centrepieces with nice shiny little candles, and chair covers. This is normally included in your venue rental price. If you are on a budget, just the fact that you don’t have to rent any of these things yourself will keep your bill down significantly. I rented the Ramada Inn for my wedding. For $700 we had the whole works, and it looked very nice.
And if time is money, consider yourself lucky. They set up and tear down all of the decorations. The reception was as easy as walking in and walking out — with the gifts, of course.
There is a catch to this simplicity, however. In the case of the Ramada — and I’m sure in other hotels — catering is done by the hotel itself. That isn’t a huge issue if you find the right hotel where the food is great; it’s just a little expensive. Hotels, to defend their business (God bless them), keep the catering in-house. Outside catering is not allowed. It does mean that you don’t need to bother shopping around for caterers, but it also means you are locked into the hotel’s price. This can get pricey if you aren’t careful. Buffet dinners, which most weddings seem to have, can drive prices way up per plate. There is the option of plated dinners, though, and those are cheaper.
All in all, hotels can be a great place to begin looking for your wedding venue. They offer great packages — including many of the knick-knack items that drive wedding costs up — and they do all the set-up and tear-down. Even with the catering bill, I’d highly recommend looking into booking one.