It’s no secret that choosing a wedding venue is one of the biggest hurdles to clear during the planning process. Often, it’s the first thing couples tackle (after hiring professional help, of course) and the myriad of choices can make the search feel totally overwhelming. Not only that, but most modern couples tend to search for a diamond in the rough location to wow their guests and as hosts they care deeply about sourcing top-notch food and beverage. There’s nothing wrong with a ballroom, and hotel catering can be high-quality and delicious but the allure of a totally custom backdrop and menu drives many couples to search deeper leading them to off-the-beaten-path, BYO spaces. As a wedding planner, I love the idea of building something from nothing, and thrive on the creativity it takes to turn a blank space into an enchanting evening. I also can’t deny that the proposition is costly. Furniture, outdoor kitchens, lighting, bathrooms, delivery costs, etc. etc. push a “do it yourself” venture over budget for most couples.
So what can you do?
Get married in a restaurant.
Restaurants can offer a perfect solution to this conundrum. Here is the quick and dirty breakdown of why it works.
Restaurants, obviously, are going to have high powered, professional kitchens and the staff it takes to put out lots of quality, hot, food over the course of the evening. You will get a staff that’s used to cooking in that space, which means there’s no learning curve. They will be familiar with the items offered, and you can create a custom menu that you love (I mean, you picked the restaurant so it better be one of your favorite spots!).
Fully stocked bar on site plus the folks who specialize in pouring. Enough said.
Hip restaurants spend time, energy and money on atmosphere which can work to your advantage. If you choose a location that’s stylish, you won’t have much work to do on decor since they’ve done all of the work for you. You’ll get the basics too and avoid an entire rental order - tables, chairs, linens, glasses, plates and silverware.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE MINIMUMS
For private events, restaurants normally charge what they’d make on an average Saturday night as their F&B minimum. While this number may seem high at first glance, remember that those dollars are going toward actual food and alcohol for your guests (and the staff to cook, serve, and clean up), while at a BYO venue you’ll potentially spend thousands on venue rental before you add in dinner and drinks.
Your guests will appreciate your ingenuity, and if you pick a place you actually frequent, they will feel invited into your life. Added bonus - getting to go back for dinner post-wedding as happily-marrieds and reminiscing about your celebration.
Your wedding venue is the foundation all the other decisions build upon, so you want to choose carefully and take your time while searching. Using your eyes, ears, and taste buds in real life can lead you to a truly authentic choice.