Wedding Venues Albany, NY
A Guide To Choosing The Perfect Wedding Venue!
When you think about a wedding venue what do you imagine?
There are a lot of wedding venues in Albany, NY and choosing a wedding venue is one of the most important first steps in planning your wedding. Once you develop your guest list and form your budget, the wedding venue should be the next detail you consider. The wedding venue is not only the single most expensive aspect of planning a wedding, but there are a lot of details to consider.
In this article we are going to take a closer look at the following topics:
- How To Budget For Your Wedding
- What Details Need To Be Addressed When Choosing A Wedding Venue
- Direct Links To Some Of Our Favorite Wedding Venues In Albany & Saratoga Counties
How To Budget For Your Wedding
Wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to worry about budgets? Unfortunately, the majority of us do. But there is some good news too - there are ways to stretch your dollar to get the most out of your budget. Many couples, and it's easy to do, make a similar mistake. When it comes to all the details of wedding planning they place the same level of importance on everything. When this happens it becomes very easy to go way over budget and/or invest too much money into the details that are much less important. We see so many couples after their wedding say, "I wish somebody would have told us that."
You get one chance to plan your wedding. Inevitably something will go wrong on the wedding day - it's just the nature of weddings. That's okay. What we want to help couples avoid are the mistakes that are within their control.
It's important to understand the relationship between your budget and your wedding planning. It's not a linear process - our budget impacts our planning decisions and our planning decisions impact our budget. After you come down from your engagement high, you will want to begin planning your wedding. There are two critical steps you will want to address first - the guest list and determining your budget.
Developing Your Guest List
This is the very first step and it's imperative that you have a fairly accurate guest list when you begin to approach wedding venues. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, how do we develop a guest list? A great way to approach it is to make two lists:
- Must Invite
- Possible Invite
For budgeting purposes you can figure the wedding venue will cost between $100-$120 per guest. Again, keep in mind this is the average. There are several factors that can impact these numbers which we will be discussing a little later.
Forming A Budget
According to The Knot, 23% of couples planned their weddings without a budget. I found this statistic quite surprising. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to properly plan a wedding without a budget.
Traditionally speaking, wedding etiquette dictated the bride's parents were responsible for the wedding costs, while the groom's family was responsible for the rehearsal dinner, and honeymoon expenses. Considering the average wedding in 2014 slightly exceeded $31,200, it's pretty rare to see just the bride's family picking up the tab. Also, with the increase in same sex marriages we find families sharing the wedding costs.
Your total wedding budget will reflect the money you're able to contribute plus the money your families can contribute. You may also want to consider taking out a small personal loan to help offset some of your expenses. Before approaching your families to see what they are willing to contribute, we recommend doing a little pre-planning research.
Make a quick outline of the details that will be part of your wedding, then secure some pricing from multiple vendors to determine what the approximate average cost will be per detail. With your guest list and average pricing information in hand it's time to sit down with your families. They will more than appreciate that you took the time to properly estimate the wedding costs.
The Wedding Venue Details
We get to experience a lot of beautiful wedding venues in Upstate NY. When it comes to choosing a wedding venue there are a wide range of details that need to be considered. While many of the wedding venues offer similar features, many venues have details that are unique to their location.
While this article isn't going to address every single question you can ask a venue, it's designed to help you sort through a lot of information, and deal with some of the more pressing issues.
Your Wedding Date
One of the fist pieces of information a wedding venue will want to know is your wedding date. If they don't have availability you will have to decide whether or not you are willing to change your date - assuming of course this is definitely the location you want for your special day.
The wedding venue point of contact will also be able to advise you whether or not your wedding date is considered "off-season" or "in-season." There can be significant cost differences between off-season versus in-season weddings! Many venues will require - typically during in-season weddings - couples to pay a minimum fee (i.e. $20,000) or guarantee a minimum guest count (i.e. 125 guests). What if you really want to book this venue, but only have 100 guests? You can certainly book it, but you will ultimately pay for 125 guests! This certainly a detail you need to keep a close eye on.
The Venue Location
The location of your venue may seem like a small detail, but it's pretty relevant. You want to choose a venue that is easy for the majority of your guests to get to. You will need to consider total drive time, number of routes available, and of course traffic. You don't want your guests to arrive at the wedding frustrated because there was only one route and it was packed with traffic. This is especially true for Friday weddings as your guest could very well be part of the Friday afternoon commuter traffic.
Distance is an important consideration because while your venue may be close enough to drive to, it may be just far enough away that it causes your guests to leave the wedding reception earlier than expected. If you have enough guests sharing this thought it could ultimately mean a pretty boring wedding party.
If you will have out-of-town guests or distance is a concern meet with local hotels about reserving a block of rooms for your guests. Many hotels have working relationships with wedding venues and will extend room discounts to your guests. The guest list you worked on earlier should give you a fair idea on how many rooms you will need.
The Venue Style
Most likely you have a pretty good idea how you want your wedding to "look and feel." when visiting potential venues be sue to request a tour of their entire facility, including ceremony sites (if having a ceremony on-site), reception room(s), outside grounds, etc. You will need to determine if the style of the location aligns with your needs and if you're going to bring in your own decorations, will they fit the existing decor or clash with it?
When touring the venue make note of your surroundings - both inside and out - do you think it will work well for your wedding photography? Look for nice backgrounds which can include unique walls, rooms, flowers, bushes, trees, water, etc.
The Venue Features & Benefits
Now we're about to address the questions couples will be looking to discuss with potential venues. Make sure to take notes on each venue you visit so you can refer back to it later.
If you Google "questions to ask a wedding venue," you will find tons of sites that provide you with endless amounts of suggested questions. I'm guessing you can make a list of at least 100 questions. However, this is not the most efficient way to approach it. Research the questions, but only use the questions that are important to you and your wedding. This will save you a lot of time later on from sifting through irrelevant information.
With that being said let's take a closer look at the questions we recommend addressing with every wedding venue you visit:
- Can the venue accommodate your wedding ceremony if you want to have it on-site?
- What is the charge to include your wedding ceremony?
- Does the venue have one area dedicated to ceremonies or do they have multiple options?
- How much per guest is the venue?
- Does the price include linens, chair covers, plates, glasses, and silverware?
- What options are available for linens and chair covers?
- Does the price of the venue include centerpieces and what are the options?
- Does the venue price include a wedding cake and what are the options?
- Does the venue offer both buffet and full service dinner options and what's the cost difference?
- If having an outdoor wedding does the venue have weather contingency plans?
- Does the venue have on-site catering or do you need to hire a caterer? (request a list of caterers if you need to hire)
- Does the venue offer a food tasting?
- Does the venue require a minimum financial commitment or a guaranteed minimum number of guests?
- Does the venue have a maximum number of guests allowed?
- Is the venue site handicap accessible (if applicable)?
- Are there any restrictions as to how late music can be played?
- How much does the venue charge for taxes and gratuity?
- Can I use my own decorations and move things around to suit my purposes or do we have to leave everything as is?
- Do we have the option to run the reception longer and what are the overtime fees?
- Make sure there is sufficient guest parking
- Ask about local hotels offering discounts on rooms for out-of-town guests or guests who want to stay the night
- Are there on-site bridal rooms you can use to get ready?
- Can you visit the site during their next wedding to get a better feel for what it looks like?
- What is required to book your wedding?