Planning a wedding is a big feat. Let’s be honest. It’s no secret. There are so many things you need to keep track of, decide on, and choose between. Sometimes it can be like herding cats while trying to spin plates.
There are a lot of venues out there trying to make this wedding planning process SO EASY by going all-inclusive.
Now, before we planned our wedding, the only instance of all-inclusive I had ever heard of was all-inclusive vacations (like our honeymoon). Eventually, wedding venues began hearing the frustrations and wanting to meet the needs of busy couples who were planning weddings. They came up with the idea to be a one-stop-shop for all things weddings.
What is an all-inclusive wedding venue? It’s just like an all-inclusive vacation, except fewer french fries (unless that’s what you want for your wedding, then you go for it, girl!). These wedding venues allow you to have one contact for every single vendor, everything from thevenue, to the caterer, to the sound system, to the tables, chairs, and linens. The wedding venue takes care of most everything!
Recently, we’ve had a lot of brides and friends asking us if all-inclusive wedding venues are worth the price or if they should hand-pick each vendor to suit their needs. We decided that a blog post was way past due on this new trend.
We’ve seen a few wedding venues in South Carolina, especially in Greenville and Columbia that LITERALLY take care of everything, even to the point of offering transportation to and from the venue. Now, these all-inclusive venues aren’t as common, but they do exist. They will offer a wedding day planner, dry cleaning services for tuxes, snacks for the day of the wedding, limo services, and so much more.
When we are talking about all inclusive wedding venues, these aren’t what we are talking about, but they sure are nice.
To start, let’s look at all-inclusive wedding venues and everything they include. Now, each venue is different and will usually have a couple of different packages. For example, there is a venue close to us in Anderson that has about 5 packages you can choose from and each of them has a different level of coverage.
The first package will be pretty simple, 8 hours of renting the venue space and catering for 100 people with tables and chairs. The next package up will include all of those things but will add in a DJ and a cake. The next plan adds more benefits or hours of coverage.
While every venue has different offerings, just about EVERY one offers catering. That’s pretty consistent across all venues. Similarly, all of these venues will include tables, chairs (for ceremony and reception) as well as linens, plates, silverware, etc.
The appeal of these venues is obvious. You’re busy. If you’re like most brides, you’re trying to balance work or school while you plan a wedding. After you get off work or during your lunch break (or even during work hours, don’t worry – we aren’t going to tell your boss), you’re trying to cram in phone calls and emails with vendors wherever you can.
Imagine if you could just make a few phone calls or send a handful of emails and then be done? It’s not that simple, but it’s pretty close. These venues make planning a lot more simple and stress-free depending on your wedding and your personality.
In most cases, these venues are booked for both the pre-ceremony getting ready time, wedding ceremony, AND the reception. Depending on the venue, it could be in the same spot, which calls for a venue-flip. This means that after the ceremony, the staff will move the ceremony chairs and set up for the reception in record time while your guests enjoy cocktail hour.
Of course, the convenience of those all-in-one venues is pretty awesome, but there are some great things about going the traditional route as well.
Maybe you don’t want to have your ceremony and reception at the same place. A lot of couples want to get married at a traditional church and then have their reception somewhere else. If you choose an all-inclusive spot, you’re going to be paying a lot of money and getting fewer hours.
Another benefit of picking everything separately is you aren’t restricted to any specific vendor. Some of the inclusive venues REQUIRE you to go with their providers.
Maybe you want your own caterer and not theirs. With these venues, you won’t have a choice or you’ll still pay for them even if you don’t use them. Maybe you’d rather go with a different photographer (like us), you’re going to be paying A LOT if the venue doesn’t allow it, or charges a fee for bringing your own photog.
Trying to decide which route you should go is pretty difficult. You need to decide which works best for you and your fiance. Would you rather go the straight-forward option of all-inclusive? It saves time with decision-making and time on the phone, but it can also be more expensive and provide less flexibility. You may be less happy not getting to choose your favorite vendors, but then again some venues may allow you to. We suggest asking and getting clarification on that.
Maybe you should go the traditional route of a not all-inclusive venue that allows you to hand-pick all of your vendors, but obviously, you’re going to have to contact everyone yourself (unless you hire a wedding coordinator- which is a whole other blog post. Trust us, do it!)