Initially, Dave and Jennifer passed on the thought of using an all-inclusive venue, based on its price point. They decided to go for a less expensive location, and manage their budget by shopping around for the best rental prices to fill it—they had more than a year to plan, so they weren’t worried about the extra time it would take. Pretty quickly, though, as they rounded up (and narrowed down) a list of vendors and tallied it all up (including the delivery surcharges and other fees and taxes), their costs were pushing the original price for an all-inclusive package, and they hadn’t even figured in the open bar prices yet. But because they had started planning so early, they were able to rethink their wedding route—as well as their contracts.

They reopened the idea of an all-inclusive venue, looking back to some of their favorites. When they reviewed the list of what our complete package includes, they realized that there’s a lot on that list that they hadn’t even thought to seek from outside vendors. Their experience of the wedding planning journey is a really common one: it’s incredibly easy (and likely) for your actual costs to far exceed your budget. Why does this happen—why do weddings cost so much? Sometimes it’s because your guest count is high; sometimes it’s because you have really big plans for the decorations or the entertainment; oftentimes, it’s just because renting all the things that make the wedding possible is really expensive, especially when you’re dealing with a large number of vendors.

How Wedding Costs Really Break Down

Dave and Jennifer were lucky; so many couples don’t figure out how much it really costs, why it costs so much, and in what ways they could have been smarter about prioritizing until after the wedding. Unless you’re a professional in the event planning industry, it’s almost impossible to compile a truly comprehensive list of all the little and big pieces that make a wedding possible. The big meal alone calls for a wide range of furniture, serveware, and place settings—not to mention the staff that makes it all possible (or the food itself!). You’re building a setting from scratch for every element of your wedding, and it takes a lot to make it possible, to make it comfortable and graceful. The list of necessary things depends on your particular plans, but it’s extensive regardless.

Take a look at this list of all the things you could expect to find in an all-inclusive package for 150 people, and the prices you could expect to pay if you were to instead try and incorporate them all individually.

When you endeavor to build your wedding from scratch, the costs can rival those of a convenient, all-inclusive venue.

As shocking as it is to see these rental prices—even just for a single day’s use—it’s better to be aware before you start spending than to be shocked by the actual costs when it’s too late to adjust your course.

Can All-Inclusive Packages Really Be a Good Deal?

The fact that an all-inclusive venue is able to give you a total price up front can be an advantage and a barrier at the same time. You have the unusual benefit of foresight, unlike the many couples who get stuck in the track of way overshooting their budgets and don’t have a choice but to make compromises. Yet this up-front bill may also present the kind of shock that inspires couples to try to save money by doing it all themselves. It’s hard to believe that an inherently elegant all-inclusive package could be comparable in price to (or even less expensive than) if you were to shop around for vendors and do a lot of it yourself, but that really can be the case. Let’s consider the built-in advantages of an all-inclusive venue and the things that can really shave off some of your costs:

  1. No Transportation Costs. With that whole list of things already on site—from outdoor heaters (and fuel) to catering and labor—you’re not paying for or worrying about transporting everything to and from the venue, on time, in full, and in good condition. You’re shaving off those fees, which you would expect to have with every single vendor you work with.
  2. Limited Hands Means Less Chaos. You have fewer cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. Imagine personally coordinating with ten or more different vendors and making sure, up until the very end, that they’re all going to deliver what they’ve promised, when and how they’ve promised it. Now, imagine working with just two or three—one of whom is the coordinator who has been with you from the beginning, closely connected to all your choices and details. The latter will produce a much smoother, more connected, less stressful experience. And you’re less likely to run into last-minute surprises or forgotten components that end up costing more to add late in the game.
  3. Wedding Coordinator Included. With a lot of all-inclusive packages, you’re working with an on-site coordinator from start to finish, so the reliability of a professional who can steer you in the right direction and ensure that all the details are covered is not an additional cost you need to figure into your budget.
  4. Tried and True Vendors. The venue has also developed a network of partner vendors who they know will produce great results—it would reflect badly on the venue if they didn’t. They may even be able to pass on some cost savings to you from this arrangement because the vendor knows the venue will keep bringing clients to them.
  5. Setup and Breakdown Included. Let’s not forget that time is money—whether it’s yours or someone else’s time spent. At an all-inclusive venue, setup and breakdown of the ceremony and reception sites are often included, and housekeeping too, so you don’t have to invest in additional resources—or spend the time doing it yourself, which you’re not going to want to do right before or right after your wedding.

There are certain things about weddings that are consistent, things that every wedding needs. And then there are the things that make each wedding truly unique. Don’t get caught up in the assumption that an all-inclusive package means you’ll have fewer opportunities to customize the experience in a way that really reflects who you are and what you love. In fact, in some ways, the opposite is true: when you have to spend less time with the basic details, when you can trust that your coordinator has everything covered, more time is freed up for the things that really matter, the things you and your guests are really going to remember.

It makes sense to spend time customizing the menus, the atmosphere—including the overall decor and entertainment—and the opportunities for your guests to really get involved in the celebration. And it makes sense to skip the stress of organizing every single little detail while still paying more than you need to to bring it all together. Choosing an all-inclusive venue is the route to making your wedding perfect and stress free—it’s also the way to stay true to your budget and plan with ease.

We make a point of offering clear pricing with no unexpected fees here at Kennolyn. We value strong, trusting relationships with our couples because that is such an important part of creating truly unique, perfect wedding experiences. Give us a call to find out how our packages can fit your wedding dreams and your wedding budget.

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Lead Image Source: Unsplash user Andrew Itaga

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