Monday, April 25, 2011

Venue vs Home Part I

Val McCormick
I'm often asked over and over and over again, which is cheaper, to host your own wedding at home or at a venue? We will be having a series of different blogs in the upcoming months demonstrating the pros and cons to both. 

I'm going to start with food, because well I have a love and hate with wedding food. During wedding season my main meal of weekends tend to be wedding dinners. In my years of being a planner, I've had countless servings of chicken, most pretty typical and a few beyond horrible.  One to the biggest differences is the control over what you serve and how much it will cost you when it comes to venue vs. home wedding.

The Sweetest Days
What I tend to find is that banquet halls, not all of them but the majority  have set packages.  Pick two of these 4 entrée choices, 4 passed appetizers, and one stationary table of crackers and cheese and it will cost you this much.  You can always upgrade and add another app, or another entrée from their list but of course this is a different higher priced package.  Now it is true that some cooks at venues are willing to create something off the list but it isn't typical, or it will cost you a great deal more.  I do give a lot of credit to certain venues because they have worked to create packages that are fresh and creative compared to what they use to serve.  

The Sweetest Days
One of the perks to a set venue is that you aren't renting chairs, tables, china and linens usually.  Though you should ask how much of your per person price is for those items and how much honestly goes towards the food. I think it is a good thing to know.

Val McCormick Photography
Now when you work with just a caterer who comes to your home, if you pick the right type of caterer you have a lot more control over the type of food you will be serving.  With the right company, they can create a menu around your culture,  certain loves, and allergies while staying within the budget you give them.  Things to remember are that you may be adding to your rental fees, staffing fees and even travel fees at times.   Make sure in your contract it is written out in a way you can understand, let them break up the food cost, staff cost and taxes and such.  One of the things I love is that you are honestly creating a menu that is your own. No one else is really ever going to have the exact same menu.  I need to say a few of my favorite caterers are Hop River Cafe and Gourmet Galley.  The food is amazing and they are cost effective without letting your guests know you were being cost effective.  

The Sweetest Days
Things to ask your venue and or your caterer is how much local food do they use, how creatively can they display your food, and what do they do with the left overs?? You should always have a tasting, no matter what.  It may sound good on paper but it may not taste good or look good. 

These are just a few things to ask and find out for yourself.  Having knowledge of knowing how the funds are being used will give you peace of mind.  That fact doesn't depend on if you use a venue or a caterer. 

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