By Terry Meadows
6 minute read
You and your partner are starting to plan your wedding, and you ask yourself, “What is this going to cost, and how am I going to do it all.” Most couples can expect to spend an average of $60,000 for their wedding this year, and that is not a small chunk of change. You might want to plan every single aspect of your wedding, or you might want to go with an all-inclusive venue where everything is done for you, or maybe something in between.
As a truly all-inclusive wedding venue, we at Zion Springs feel it’s important to share with you what you can expect from any all-inclusive wedding venue. We want you to be as informed as possible, so you can decide if it is the right decision for you and your budget. Our goal is for you to walk away satisfied, and part of how we achieve that is by providing information on all types of all-inclusive venues, not just ours.
What is an all-inclusive wedding venue?
An all-inclusive wedding venue is especially appealing for couples who don’t want to or don’t have the time to spend on the numerous details and demands required for planning a wedding. All the stress is eliminated as the wedding coordinator handles the execution of your details, leaving you to enjoy your day hassle-free.
One of the major benefits is that you know your cost up-front with an all-inclusive, and there are no nasty surprises a few days before the wedding when bills suddenly come due. You’ll be surprised to know that most couples don’t realize there is an extra $15-20,000 of expenses when all is said and done.
Initially, you might have sticker shock. But….. once you start itemizing the cost of every part of your wedding, you can determine if an all-inclusive option is a better deal. All-inclusives can save you money mainly due to the fact that you are dealing with only one vendor which has an in-house knowledgeable and professional team to cover every aspect of your wedding.
That said, not all all-inclusive venues are created equal.
Many of them have a basic plan with multiple add-ons that cost extra. Others provide their space and then begin to charge for needed items such as tables, chairs, flatware, and linens. Some may include the space and catering, then provide a list of their preferred vendors to choose from for the rest. Make sure you’re not being charged extra for a fork and knife! So, you’ll want to ask the right questions, such as those below, to figure out how they define their all-inclusive wedding package.
What does an all-inclusive package include?
- Event director - designs, plans, coordinates, and manages everything so you don’t have to
- Ceremony space and chairs
- Reception space including tents
- Save-the-Date, invitations, RSVPs, etc.
- Custom website
- In-house catering and kitchen staff
- Table settings, tables and chairs, and linens
- Stemware, flatware
- Snacks, food, and beverages for the wedding party while they are getting ready
- Wedding cake
- Bartenders, servers
- Open bar
- Pre-ceremony mixer and appetizers
- Decorations fitting to the setting of the venue
- Floral design and flowers
- Photographer and videographer
- Sound and lighting equipment
- Complimentary couple lodging
- Guest lodging
- Guest shuttle services
- Set up, clean up
- A total budget for everything including taxes and gratuities
Zion Springs is an all-inclusive wedding venue, and you will need to make sure that whichever venue you choose that they really are all-inclusive, as sadly that isn’t always the case. You need to check what they include.
To help you decide if all-inclusive is right for you, weigh your options by considering the questions below.
What do you need to know if choosing an all-inclusive wedding venue
Is an all-inclusive wedding venue cost-effective?
The most recent study by The Wedding Report shows that the average cost of a wedding in Northern Virginia is $60,000. You might be wondering how it got there. It includes all the various items most couples include in their wedding budget. With an all-inclusive wedding venue, everything is in one package deal.
The venue has established contacts with its vendors they use on a consistent basis and may offer discounts. Usually, they have in-house staff which again brings down the overall costs. Transporting things like food, flowers, and supplies are not expenses you have to worry about since everything is done on-premise. The fees and gratuities are paid once, and not to each vendor.
Does an all-inclusive wedding venue save you time and stress?
Planning a wedding is very stressful and time-consuming. There are many moving parts, such as catering and beverages, cake, flowers, music, invitations, RSVPs, etc. Having your venue take care of these details is a major reason why people choose all-inclusive. This is a perfect solution for you if you’re not a planner as the venues are in the business of organizing and conducting weddings and you are not!
Tip: Reading real customer reviews is a great way to evaluate the end result!
Is an all-inclusive wedding venue convenient for you?
Having a wedding all under one roof can make it all so much easier. Even if you plan on having a religious ceremony at a house of worship, the reception can be held at the all-inclusive venue. Many of them have a beautiful space for both if you choose to do it all in one location.
They set up and take care of everything, and have all that they need in-house. You are not required to vet and approve vendors for your services, and you don’t have to deal with multiple vendors for each item on your list.
Does an all-inclusive wedding include a wedding planner and in-house team?
What do I need to rent for an all-inclusive wedding?
What bar options do I need for an all-inclusive wedding?
All-inclusive venues already have a liquor license so they include alcohol packages with an open bar option. They take care of the inventory, sourcing, storing, and serving of beverages/alcohol that you want to have for you and your guests. That might mean a special beer, a favorite wine, or a signature cocktail.
Tip: Bartenders are already included. If you don’t decide on an all-inclusive venue, make sure you add the cost of hiring bartenders/servers to your caterer’s quote. Don’t forget extra ice, too!
Is lodging included in an all-inclusive wedding venue?
If your all-inclusive venue has lodging, you have just eliminated the huge headache of booking remote hotels, logistics, and coordinating transportation. Guests no longer have to get a car or shuttle from the hotel to the wedding if they can just walk there instead.
You can reserve a block of rooms for your guests, who can then join you before and after your wedding. No worries about guests driving after a few cocktails! Having guests stay on-site allows them to relax, have a great time, and then off for a good night’s sleep just a few paces away.
Tip: Most all-inclusives provide a complimentary bridal suite for your wedding night
Top 3 reasons not to choose an all-inclusive wedding venue
1. Potential for limited choices & personalization
All-inclusive venues store and provide decor inventory for you to choose from. Make sure it is to your taste and vision. If not, then ask if you can bring in some decor of your own such as centerpieces or lanterns. The venue’s decor should match the style of the venue, so if you love the venue you will most likely like the decor they provide. If they don’t allow much personalization, however, then take that into consideration.
Tip: Have a Pinterest board ready for their review to make sure they can bring your own style to life.
If you’re choosing an all-inclusive venue that has its own in-house staff, then you most likely won’t be able to hire your brother-in-law as your photographer or have your sister bake your cake. You’ll have to discuss their policy for making exceptions.
2. What surprises and “gotcha” costs are there with an all-inclusive wedding venue?
3. Does every all-inclusive wedding venue include everything?
Always compare your list for your dream wedding with the venue’s list of all-inclusive services. Having a full understanding of what your wedding is going to cost will help you see all the services and supplies you can expect to pay for your wedding. Some venues say they are all-inclusive and yet don’t include some basic options, much less than your favorite things. If you choose to go all-inclusive, carefully compare what each venue offers and if they are missing what is important to you. Get a solid idea of inclusive and add-on costs to calculate your total budget.
How do I know if an all-inclusive wedding venue is right for me?
You might decide it is worth your time and money to go with an all-inclusive venue, or you may be thinking is an all-inclusive really worth it?
Working with an in-house team who have done a large variety of weddings together can remove the stress of planning and budgeting for your dream wedding. Now you begin the decision-making process of which venue to choose.
Create a spreadsheet using the list of what is all-inclusive at the top of this article, and then compare your final costs for each all-inclusive venue. You can see what is included in each venue and what add-0ns or extra costs need to be accounted for. While you will need to make some compromises, you want your wedding to look and feel right for you and your partner.
You want to explore what a truly all-inclusive venue has to offer, including pricing and packages by reviewing each website carefully and comparing your prices. You might find the perfect venue for you that includes all your must-haves, and at a comfortable price, all while relieving the stress and planning of your wedding.