Since Love surprised me with an engagement ring this past Christmas I’ve been getting into the excitement of planning the wedding.
I’m really crafty and creative and I don’t want some overdone event nor the price tag that goes with it. I want to do a lot of the personal touches myself and am excited for the design of it.
Now, we don’t want a formal sit down dinner because wedding food is (a) stupidly expensive and (b) crap anyway. And, looking at a preliminary list, we’re only looking at about 40-45 people; basically our immediate families plus a few friends. So I don’t need a massive hall or anything either.
Here’s where the woes begin. I can’t do anything until we get a venue and thus a date. But, finding a venue is proving insanely difficult. They’re all obscenely expensive – even options that I would have thought were going to be more reasonable! In fact, I expected things to be expensive but I didn’t realize it was that expensive just for a place to have a party! (And let’s not even get into the fact most places won’t let you bring in your own food. They require food minimums and/or that you use their “preferred vendors.”)
Bayanihan Arts Center – Classic wedding location. HUGE space. Fancy draping, lights, cocktail hour lobby with grand piano, the works. Waaaaay too big for 40 people. About $2,800 which includes ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. 5 hours + ceremony time + 4 hours prep. (Which is very generous I’m finding.)
What about a simple hotel banquet room? Not a fancy hotel or anything (i.e. not ritzy) but rather a Hilton Garden Inn location. The rooms range of course by season but seem to be about $100/night and up. Hardly worth the price quote I got:
We have our own inhouse catering department and all food and beverage must come from that department. The wedding packages range between $49.95 and $79.95 which includes the rental of the hall, tables , chairs, standard linen, china and silverware.
Then there’s places that are so over the top, it’s barely worth mentioning. Like The Event Factory. Which, judging by the horribly tacky website and sample photos, looks like the Renn Fair got together with Medieval Times and decided to “gaudy it up a bit.” You MUST use every one of their services from food, to photographer to DJ. Everything is inclusive and packages start at about $6,000 and go from there.
Then I thought I found it. Island Bamboo Gardens. Small venue, designed for 30-75 people. Neat, outdoor setting. Seemed like something quirky and different. Great reviews online. Turns out they want $2,100 just to rent the location. No food, no decoration, just chairs and a few tables. Really??
Am I the only person who doesn’t think $10,000 is a “budget” wedding? My idea of a realistic amount to spend on the wedding is maybe $2,500? Three tops. We’re talking about a party of about 40 or so for crying out loud! Not 400!! I just need a nice location that will let me rent the space and set it up how I want it set up with whatever decorations I want to use and with whatever food I want to make or bring at my own discretion!
I don’t want to be forced into using a caterer if I don’t want. I don’t want to have to use your DJ or your photographer. Why does it suddenly turn into some massively restrictive event the minute you call it a “wedding reception??” I just want a nice, simple, crafty party for my family and friends. But I can’t do anything until I can get a location and thus a date set. And I’m just spinning my wheels trying to find a venue. I’ve been looking for two months now and what I consider a reasonable budget is clearly not in line with what people seem to think is acceptable.
A home wedding isn’t possible because I live in an apartment. My Mom’s home is a tiny one-bedroom so that’s out too. I don’t know anyone who has a house large enough to hold 40-50 people so it has to be somewhere else. (And living in Florida 98% of the year it’s impossibly hot and humid and you can’t do a formal event outdoors anyway.) I’m starting to think that place just doesn’t exist. Which is frustrating.
I want to get married. I want to have a nice day. And I can make it a nice day if only I can find a location that gives me the free reign I need. 🙁