We are literally over the moon to be sharing this post with you today. In the year since we've started this blog, the one thing we've heard consistently from couples is that choosing a venue is one of the hardest parts of planning their wedding. Angela from Elite Wedding + Event Planning is here to not only help guide your decision, but to also share her newest service with all of you - Venue Scouting! So grab your coffee and a blanket (we know you're not heading into work today!), read all of the incredible information from Elite Wedding Planning services, and enter the giveaway!
Elite Wedding and Event Planning is a full-service wedding planning and design (firm) that specializes in high logistic, custom tailored weddings at non-traditional venues such as barns, private estates, wineries, retreats and industrial spaces. I am the owner and lead planner of Elite Wedding and Event Planning. In addition, I am a Preston Bailey certified wedding designer. Our clients strive to create a one-of-a-kind experience for their guests, through an overall design concept, that will ultimately reflect who they are as a couple. Design is much more than the pretty elements we are used to seeing at weddings, such as tablescapes and flowers. Design is about creating a unique, cohesive, and often times interactive experience that begins with the save-the-date and ends with the thank-you card. Our goal, as well as the goal of our clientele, is that following the wedding guests feel that they actually know them even better than they did before. We want guests leaving the wedding staying nothing less than “wow, that we the best wedding ever!” Our couples bring their inspiration and vision; we use our passion, talent, creativity and resources to seamlessly make it all happen.
1 | WHY IS A VENUE THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT DECISION?
Selecting a venue is the first and most important decision a couple will make in planning a wedding. The type of venue they select, will make the biggest impact on their budget and from a design perspective, it will determine the overall look and feel of the wedding, down to the style of the bridal gown and attire.
If your budget does not align with your vision and the cost of your venue, you could have trouble later. In my experience, the venue can really make or break a budget, if not properly prepared or considered prior to booking your venue.
Couples often do not take the time to prepare a budget prior to booking a venue and, as a result, the other line items of their budget become very limited later. We like to begin by learning how much the overall budget is and how many guests are expected, prior to researching and touring venues. Sometimes it is very eye-opening for couples, when they learn what off premise catering and bar will actually cost. Once they see that number, they realize that they might have to cut the guest list or consider a less expensive or more all-inclusive venue. If you are not aware of this figure in advance, you can end up over spending on the venue and have to cut either your guest list or must-haves later. It is always wise to have an experienced planner assist you with creating your budget, in advance, so you have realistic figures to work with, when booking venue and vendors. If you are currently looking for a venue and have not firstly created a budget, I highly recommend that you develop the budget before proceeding.
2 | WHAT IS ONE MYTH COUPLES OFTEN BELIEVE?
One of the biggest myths couples believe is that if they host a wedding at a non-traditional venue, it will be cheaper. In all actuality, the very opposite is true. Non-traditional venues cost much more than a ballroom or all-inclusive venue. There are so many elements you will have to bring into a non-traditional venue, of which the venue typically does not supply; such as chairs, tables, linens, china, flatware, glassware, cook tents, portable bathrooms, lighting, rain back up tents and more. All of these items add up and do not come cheap. All-inclusive venues tend to be more affordable, because they own and supply all the chairs, tables, flatware, china and linens etc., so they build these costs into their per person pricing.
3 | WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF VENUES AVAILABLE IN THE TRi-STATE AREA, AND WHAT MAKES EACH UNIQUE?
The most common style of unique venues that you will find in the Hudson Valley are barns, farms, wineries, estates, industrial warehouses, inns and retreat centers. These type of venues are perfect for couples who really want to customize their wedding and build something from the ground up. Barns, industrial warehouses, and retreat centers offer protection from the weather elements (rain, wind, cold, etc.). With farms, wineries and estates, you can anticipate needing a tent for the wedding and a good rain plan. If you are the type of person that just does not want to deal with mother nature(,) then I suggest that you do not consider these style venues. Northeast weather is very unpredictable and can range from really hot and humid to rainy and chilly type conditions. If you enjoy the rustic outdoors and are dreaming of a laid back weekend filled withfestivities, with not a lot of restrictions, then barns, farms, inns and retreat centers are a great option. Wineries, estates and warehouse venues typically only rent the site for the day and have stricter load in and load out timing policies. Estate venues usually have beautifully landscaped gardens(,) so if you are wishing for something with lots of natural floral(,) this might be the best fit for you. With the exception of most warehouse spaces, views are usually pretty amazing at all of these style venues, located within the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions. No matter the style, it is important to keep in mind that non-traditional, unique venues will require a lot more work and coordination on the day of the wedding, than a traditional ballroom or banquet hall.
4 | WHAT IS THE VENUE SCOUTING SERVICE, AND HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Our venue scouting service is a convenient way for couples to uncover the perfect venue, in a stress-free manner, while saving time and money. The couple benefits from working with an experienced planner, who can advise them on things they may not have thought of when selecting a venue, such as additional costs and logistical factors they otherwise may have not known to take into consideration. We offer this service with no strings attached, but there is always the option to add our planning, design and/or coordination services, after we have helped them find their perfect venue. It also gives them first priority over other couples when reserving a date with us. We put a soft hold on their date, while we are searching for their venue and advise them in advance, if we have another inquiry for planning services on their date.
Our venue scouting service provides couples with insight into what they should be spending on a venue as per their overall budget, saves them time and money, as well as alleviates a lot of stress. The cost of this service starts at $650 and varies based upon the area we are traveling to. We are able to offer this service at a low rate, that is really very budget friendly for most couples, because we have inside access to all of the information and stay up to date on the latest and upcoming venues. We constantly have venues reaching out to us to tour their sites. We have had couples state after experiencing the service, that if they were truly aware of the benefits of our service from the beginning, they would have paid more!
Our scouting service starts with a phone call or Skype meeting to get to know the couple a little better and see if we are a good fit for them. Once they decide to book our service, we provide them with our venue questionnaire, which provides us with a thorough understanding of what style venue they are looking for and all the important details we need to get started on a search for them. In addition to the questionnaire, we ask them to provide us with a pinterest or vision board of the look and feel they envision for their wedding. Once we have the questionnaire and inspiration board, we then begin our search and build a portfolio of 3-5 venues that matches their style. The couple receives a custom portfolio with all the venue details, pricing, add-ons, nearby accommodations, transportation and more. We then schedule tours of each venue. During the tour, we walk them through all the details, answer logistical questions and provide them with everything they need to know to make a decision on which venue is the best fit for them.
As a special offer for Red Oak Wedding readers, we are giving away two 1-hour planning sessions by phone or Skype. The planning sessions can be used to discuss budget, venue scouting, or whatever questions or concerns the couple might have at whatever stage of planning they are in. Enter below!
For more details on our scouting service you can visit our website!