One of the first decisions after getting engaged is choosing a venue. And maybe the biggest question to ask when choosing a venue is do you want an all-inclusive venue or a DIY venue? While there are pros and cons to both, here is why we believe you should consider an all-inclusive wedding venue.
What is An All-Inclusive Venue?
First things first, what is the difference between a DIY venue and an all-inclusive venue? A DIY or a-la-carte venue typically comes with the basic minimum: the event space, time, and maybe basics such as chairs and tables. These types of venues are great for brides who have a very personalized and detailed vision of what they want their wedding to look like and those who want to do everything themselves. An all-inclusive venue is exactly what it sounds like: all-inclusive. As Newlyweds on a Budget describes it, “Think of it as receiving a bulk deal for getting a phone, internet, and cable services all from one provider.”
What’s All Included?
While each venue will vary on the specifics of what they offer, a typical all-inclusive venue includes the rental space and time, chairs, tables, linens, catering, coordination, and bar services, among other things.
If you book with Four Oaks Manor, for instance, a standard package includes:
What’s NOT Included?
When it comes to all-inclusive venues, it’s almost as important to ask what’s NOT included as it is to ask what is included with their packages.
Again, each venue will differ slightly, so it’s good to ask each one you’re interested in booking. Four Oaks, for example, does not come with a DJ, cake, real flowers, photography/videography, alcohol supply, or event liability insurance. We do have a preferred vendors list for each of these categories with companies and individuals who we’ve worked with and recommend. However, none of our preferred vendors are required. Couples are more than welcome to use any vendor for those categories.
Am I Required to Use Their Vendors?
Again, this will depend on the venue and the vendors. The only vendor Four Oaks requires is our catering as we can best ensure a smooth event with our chef and services. For all other vendors, you may choose whomever your heart desires! When you’re touring a venue, make sure to ask which vendors are required and which are not.
Are All-Inclusive Venues Customizable?
While some all-inclusive venues are pretty strict in what they permit, many venues do allow a range of personalization options to their packages. With weddings becoming more and more customized to each couples’ personalities and styles, customization options are in demand.
We believe in creating weddings that are unique to each couple we work with, not in a one-fits-all approach. Four Oaks Manor’s packages are customizable to fit your needs and wants. While many services are included in our packages, we are always willing to adjust to help create your dream wedding.
Talk to the venues you’re interested in about customizing their packages. Do they have several menu options to choose from? What linens do they offer? Do they allow you to bring in your own alcohol? It’s a good idea to ask these types of questions before you book with a venue so you know what your expectations should be.
Can I Still Bring in My Own Decorations?
One of the perks of many all-inclusive venues is that they often come with decoration options for your ceremony and reception sites. Four Oaks Manor comes with table settings, altar decorations, and centerpiece options. However, we also allow you to bring your own decorations in to tailor your wedding to your vision.
Do I Still Need to Hire a Coordinator?
Most all-inclusive venues offer some basic form of coordination service. Typically, this means they offer at the very least a day-of coordinator who will run your wedding day. However, most venues do not come with a full-scale wedding planner whose job is to help plan your vision, go to tastings, etc. Make sure to ask what coordination services they offer, what’s included, and if you can pay more for a more full-scale coordinator or planner.
Four Oaks Manor, for instance, provides each couple with an event coordinator and a set-up coordinator. The set-up coordinator arrives the morning of your wedding to set up the ceremony and reception spaces. Your event coordinator has planning meetings with you to help you stay organized, runs through the rehearsal, coordinates with your outside vendors, and runs your wedding for you.
Are All-Inclusive Venues Cheaper?
At first glance, having a DIY wedding appears cheaper. However, the plus of a more inclusive venue means most things are already included and there are fewer added expenses to consider. With DIY weddings, the smaller ticket items can quickly add up, making them often more expensive in the long run. Plus, more-inclusive weddings tend to save you more time, and we all know, time is money!
Why Should I Choose An All-Inclusive Venue Over a DIY Venue?
There are many reasons why we recommend opting for a more inclusive venue, but here are just a few: