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Blog #2 Beautiful weddings on a shoestring budget-Finding a Venue

He asked the question, you said yes….so now what?

You may have had the vision in your head since you were 4 of what your big day would look like. Or you could be suddenly overwhelmed by all of the things that just got added to your “to do “list. Let’s be honest here….it is a big list. So lets start with the basics and you will suddenly see the 10 mile “to do “list shrink down to, oh’ about a mile.

First the guest list. Believe it or not the hardest task on the list. I always suggest to have you’re A, B, and C list. From here you can use your list to help you decide on a budget.

So you have a good idea of where you’re budget stands and the size of space you need to be searching for. Now it’s time to create a list of locations that fit in the high end and the low end of your budget. I say high end and low end because you will find that even if it’s in the high end it still might work for your budget.

Look for what is included in the rental rate of the location. If time in the space is all that your rental rate covers, then you will have added expenses for chairs, tables, linens and other items. By choosing a location that includes these necessities then you are saving a big chunk of you budget. It is also a big added bonus when “smaller” items are included such as votive candle holders, bathroom baskets. etc. All those “smaller items” add up and often are not thought about till the last minute.
How many hours are you able to use the space? Will you have time to get ready, have a ceremony and a reception? If you wish to have more time, what is the hourly rate to add hours? Do they allow you to provide your own alcohol for a fee? If you plan on serving alcohol, then being able to purchase it yourself can save you hundreds. You will always need to pay a corkage fee of some sort that is required by the location, but look for other perks that the venue offers when it comes to your bar. Do they provide a space or table for the bar, is the bartender included?

Vendor selection is a crucial part of the planning process. Being able to choose your own vendor can be very beneficial to your budget. Look for packages deals. Vendors will often team up to offer special priced packages that are all inclusive. Packages are always a great deal and it allows you to cross off several items from your “to do” list in one swoop.

Staffing. Even if you are on a budget you don’t want the guest experience to suffer. Let’s also be honest, no one you know wants to take out trash, mop floors or bus the tables, after your wedding, no matter how much they love you. You want to look for service staff that is included in your package or in your catering contract, in the end it is priceless. These are the folks that keep your reception going and you and your guests happy.

Deposit and Payment Schedules. No one wants to think of a cancellation for any reason, but sometimes things happen and a date needs to be cancelled. The majority of locations have a non- refundable deposit, in the event that a date cancels. However, if that is your $1,000 never to be seen again it can be very upsetting. Look for smaller deposit requirements so in the unfortunate event that you have to cancel you are not loosing your mortgage payment. I also think that setting up a payment plan where you decide what the amount will be is a great way to chip away at the bill. We let our clients set up their own payment schedule and then send out reminders that record the payments and balances.

In a perfect world the word “budget” would never be used in the same sentence as wedding. But, let’s face it…nowadays a lot of us are paying for our own weddings. However, even on a budget, you can have the beautiful and perfect wedding of your dreams.
Happy Planning!
Jillian Findlay-Laage
Cedar Bend Events Manager

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 11th, 2011 at 3:33 pm and is filed under Bittersweet Cakes and Catering. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Bittersweet Cakes and Catering
Serving Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown and environs in Central Texas
512-917-5223   laura_bittersweetcafe@yahoo.com