How to start picking a venue??

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    How to start picking a venue??

    I need advice on how to start planning for our wedding, which will hopefully be Fall 2010.  I figure the first thing we need to do is find a venue.  What is the best way to get started?  I've been looking at places online and some offer packages and some don't.  How do you compare?  Is the best thing to do just to start visiting places?  Do you have to make an appointment?  Do I need to prepare or bring anything to a visit or are there any specific questions we should ask?

    We're not sure what we want yet, but it will be a small wedding (about 100 people) and we'd like a place where we can do both ceremony and reception (possibly an Indian ceremony, haven't decided yet).  We'd like to stay around 128 or Boston area (we live in Burlington, so we'd like to not travel more than 45 mins from here).  Our budget is pretty small, so inexpensive would be good.

    Please help! Any advice greatly appreciated!
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    Congrats, trex, and welcome!

    You can call and ask for the range of cost per person for weddings at their venues, and I'd recommend only visiting venues that you've found out are in your budget.  Otherwise, you'll be wasting time and disappointing yourself falling in love with venues over your price range.

    It may be helpful for us to know how much per person you can spend.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    Thanks, kargiver!  I'm quite excited to find this forum!

    I guess I'm not sure how to figure out the per person price.  If our total budget is in the $15-20K range, how much per person should we spend?  Closer to $15K would be better...
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from ajuly09. Show ajuly09's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    Hi welcome!! :) 

       I looked at and called many places in the boston area.  Your best bet is to call first and ask questions. I would not go visit a place until you get some details about their packages.   Many places would ask for  my email when I called and then would send me their entire package and pricing. That really helped narrow places down.    Per person is important, which will be the bulk of your budget, however, you need to remember to save room in the budget for photographer, music, etc.    Once you call or email venues and get a basic idea of their costs and what their facility offers, then start visiting places.  You usually can't just show up, i made appointments everywhere we went.   
     Some good questions to ask:  -room rental price, is there a charge to have the ceremony on site?  Is there a price difference for having a wedding on a friday night vs. a saturday night.   -fees for things like cake cuttings  - do they provide a cake as part of the package (if you want one)  If you are doing an indian ceremony ask them if they have held one there before, that way they know how to best meet your needs.  - ask questions about the drink package, is it per person and how much?  can you bring your own caterer and liquor in?    There are many more, but that should be enough to get you started.   Once you start walking around the place you will start thinking of questions you have.  The coordinator you meet with will give you lots of information to think about too.   
     Good luck, hope that helps! 
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from calsgal. Show calsgal's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    See if they will provide a day-of coordinator, and also make sure you can hire your own vendors without paying a penalty fee.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    1. Figure out how many people you have to invite.  
    2. Figure out your budget.  Figure that about 40-60% of the budget will be spent on the reception venue, food and beverage.
    3. Set a date.
    4. Do on line research to determine what venues can accommodate your numbers, your budget and are available on your date. 
    5. Visit only places that are available on your date and can accommodate your number and budget.
    6. If you find a place you love and that meets the above requirements, book it immediately, even if you have other places to visit.

    Good luck.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from cherrywebb. Show cherrywebb's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    I am in the same place as trex, so I don't have anything to add - just another question.

    I don't even know what venues are out there to look at. Is there someone or a website that you used to find the venues available to check out?
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from tibird. Show tibird's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    Sounds like you have a good idea of what you are looking for, which helps!  I don't know North Shore too well, but I'm sure other girls can give you suggestions.  Are you looking for an outdoor option?  Water views?


    I found it helpful to try and get ball park figures on things that are included in packages.  For instance, if a cake was included in a package at one place, but not another, I wanted to be able to compare total costs.  Some web sites will give pricing, just so you can estimate.  I found cake to be around $3pp or higher, so I could add that cost to my comparisson.  Then again, I'm very spreadsheet oriented.  I had many throughout our planning.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from WhirledPeasPlease. Show WhirledPeasPlease's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    You have your total budget and an approximate number of guests, so that's good; those are the first steps. Break down your budget into pieces--how much do you want to spend on a dress (Indian weddings often have two dresses/saris, right?), photog, flowers, how much per person for food, etc.,  and that will give you a better idea of what type of place you can afford. 

    Interview venues before visiting them:
    How many events do you have at one time?
    Is there a coordinator?
    Any extra fees, ie, cake cutting, corking?
    What's the alcohol policy (if applicable)?
    Any vendor packages? (This can cut down on costs)
    Will there be a tasting?

    I didn't pick a date before my venue; the venue was more important to me, so when we found a venue we liked, we asked what dates they had open in the season we wanted.

    FWIW, my venue sounds like it fits the criteria you listed (www.promisesnh.com) It's just over the MA/NH border. It's about 45 min from Burlington.

    Good luck with everything. This board is a wealth of knowledge, so keep asking questions!
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Sept2010Bride. Show Sept2010Bride's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    In Response to Re: How to start picking a venue??:
    [QUOTE]I am in the same place as trex, so I don't have anything to add - just another question. I don't even know what venues are out there to look at. Is there someone or a website that you used to find the venues available to check out?
    Posted by cherrywebb[/QUOTE]

    Cherry, TheKnot.com is very overwhelming, but if you go on their site and click Local Resources, and then click on MA, it will show you all the reception venues in Mass. Well not all of them, but about 100 of them, which is good to start out with.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from cherrywebb. Show cherrywebb's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    In Response to Re: How to start picking a venue??:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: How to start picking a venue?? : Cherry, TheKnot.com is very overwhelming, but if you go on their site and click Local Resources, and then click on MA, it will show you all the reception venues in Mass. Well not all of them, but about 100 of them, which is good to start out with.
    Posted by Sept2010Bride[/QUOTE]

    Thanks for the tip! Yes, this whole wedding planning thing seems overwhelming! All my married friends had their weddings outside the area so I feel completely lost. I guess it's time to do some real research :)

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from WhirledPeasPlease. Show WhirledPeasPlease's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    In Response to Re: How to start picking a venue??:
    [QUOTE]I am in the same place as trex, so I don't have anything to add - just another question. I don't even know what venues are out there to look at. Is there someone or a website that you used to find the venues available to check out?
    Posted by cherrywebb[/QUOTE]

    I got ideas from this site and bought magazines likes Brides Boston and The Knot's Best of Boston. There are lists of venues in there. You can also google "wedding venues Boston (or wherever it will be)."
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    I would say the best thing to do is to figure out some must haves and ask us for suggestions!  Or ask your friends/family/coworkers.  Word of mouth is great.  But don't forget that guests at a wedding have no idea how much it costs so you might hear about places that are out of your budget.

    There is also this website
    http://www.maweddingguide.com/sitelocator/index.htm

    I second the recommendations not to visit a place if it doesn't fit your budget.  It's pointless and then you will be comparing the less expensive places to that and trying to convince yourself you can afford it :o)

    The costs to rent our venue and pay for food and cocktail hour were at least 60% of our total budget (but we also had 157, not 100, so yours should be a little less).

    Good luck!
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    Tell us where [towns, area] you want the wedding, number of guests, what elements you are looking for [water views, country club, historic home, hotel, etc] and what you want to pay.  We'll suggest plenty of places.  :-)
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    In Response to Re: How to start picking a venue??:
    [QUOTE]Thanks, kargiver!  I'm quite excited to find this forum! I guess I'm not sure how to figure out the per person price.  If our total budget is in the $15-20K range, how much per person should we spend?  Closer to $15K would be better...
    Posted by trex509[/QUOTE]

    I agree with ALF, about half your budget is your reception.  So, if you had 100 people and a budget of $15k, you should keep it around $75 pp.  Pretty low, but doable.  $15,000 is tough to do around here.  If you shoot for $15k, you'll probably end up spending closer to $20k.

    The budget and the guest list are the biggest link in planning.  For instance, obviously, if you cut the 100 down to 50 of your absolutely nearest and dearest, you could go up to a generous $150 pp.  And, off the top, you know you can't have 200 people on your budget unless you do a very informal fruit/cheese mid morning thing.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    In Response to Re: How to start picking a venue??:
    [QUOTE]I am in the same place as trex, so I don't have anything to add - just another question. I don't even know what venues are out there to look at. Is there someone or a website that you used to find the venues available to check out?
    Posted by cherrywebb[/QUOTE]

    Hey, Cherryweb!  Congrats and welcome to you, too!

    You can google "Boston Massachusetts wedding reception venues" and come up with more than we can give you here.  It's a BIG industry as you'll find out soon enough. ;)
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    Come on, kar!  $15K is totally doable!!  We spent about $18k and had a band and an open bar.  I got married on the North Shore and had approx 100 people.  I got married on a Saturday in late May, so it wasn't off season prices. 

    Seriously, the best advice I got was on this forum, not from any magazine or wedding planning tool.  Ask specific questions of the ladies on this  board and your wedding will be fully planned before you know it, with no heavy lifting on your end other than to write the checks.  :-) 
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    In Response to Re: How to start picking a venue??:
    [QUOTE]Come on, kar!  $15K is totally doable!!  We spent about $18k and had a band and an open bar.  I got married on the North Shore and had approx 100 people.  I got married on a Saturday in late May, so it wasn't off season prices.  Seriously, the best advice I got was on this forum, not from any magazine or wedding planning tool.  Ask specific questions of the ladies on this  board and your wedding will be fully planned before you know it, with no heavy lifting on your end other than to write the checks.  :-) 
    Posted by ALF72[/QUOTE]

    Oh, yeah, I agree!  It is on the lower end of the price range for a typical evening wedding with what I think most people would want, that's all. 
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from wendy98. Show wendy98's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    I had mine for around the $15k and we had about 115 but it was at a hotel so I am not sure if that is what you want.

    I am also very spreadsheet oriented so I had a spreadsheet for everything, there were invites that I compared in one, venues in another, dresses, etc.  And of course my budget right down to including an estimate for the number of stamps I would need for the invites, the RSVPs, the thank you notes (for the shower and wedding).

    I did ask for suggestions here, asked my DH's family since there are from around here (I am not), and I google'ed wedding venues, as well as banquet halls.  My biggest frustration with venues was that many didn't have price lists and I either had to call or email for them.  Once I had looked at agreat deal of them online and managed to get price sheets, I think we only wanted to see 4 in person.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    Thanks everyone for all the advice!  I'll start a new post for specific venue ideas.  You guys are great!

    PS.  I *love* spreadsheets too!  I think I need to start one for our wedding budget.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from heatherv1211. Show heatherv1211's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    Welcome Trex and Cherry!

    My end budget was about the same as yours, and I had 136 people attend my wedding.  So you can totally do it! 

    Here is the list of where we visited, just in case it helps!

    Gore Place, Waltham, MA

    Endicott Estate, Dedham, MA

    Saphire Estate, Sharon, MA

    Searles Castle, Pelham, NH

    Castleton, Pelham, NH

    Pelham Inn, Pelham, NH

    Tupper Manor, Beverly, MA

    Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, MA

    Lakeview Pavillion, Foxboro, MA

    Turner Hill, Ipswich, MA

    Hellenic Center, Ipswich, MA

    The Commons, Topsfield, MA
    Willowdale Estate, Topsfield MA (where we had the wedding)

    Most of these places were pretty much within my budget.  As you can see, we were looking for a non-hotel wedding.  It was important to me to have outside space (some of these places didn't) and a pretty place for the ceremony.

    Just FYI - I visited Willowdale on a day when they were setting up for an Indian wedding and it was gorgeous!

    Good luck!

    Addition: Spreadsheets will become your best friends, if they aren't already.  Also, I started online with all of these places, then did calls and emails to get more (pricing) info, then visited if the pricing seemed like it might be ok.  It's so hard if you visit first, fall in love with a place, then find out you can't afford it (which is why I did NOT visit the Crane Estate!)

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from campBoston. Show campBoston's posts

    Re: How to start picking a venue??

    Be sure to read up on any potential Boston reception sites.  This website has reviews most nearly all it's venues.

    http://bestbostonweddings.com/boston-wedding-reception-sites/1
     

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