Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Banquet Halls - Apples to Apples Part One

When you're scouting out banquet facilities in your chosen area for your wedding reception, one of the most important things to remember if you want to save money is to compare apples with apples. What is included along with the room and what must you provide yourself? A hall that seems like a good deal might not be so great once you factor in the cost of outside rentals and decorations.

Bare-bones venues are inexpensive and include VFW halls, Fire Halls, Knights of Columbus, and lodges. These venues usually provide plain, basic tables and chairs, and very little else. Some don't even have that. You will have to provide everything yourself, which can be overwhelming if you don't have a planner. Once you include the cost of linens, food, delivery, and set-up, you might not save as much as you thought you would by choosing a cheaper venue. You may even be faced with a hefty delivery charge if the hall requires everything to be cleaned up and out of there by midnight, and late charges if your rental company is late. Deejays party rentals is the only place I know of in the Raleigh / Wake County area that can reliably pull off a late-night pickup.

    Downsides to a basic venue:
  • The cost of renting even basic tables and chairs can add up quickly and eat away the money you saved by booking a cheaper venue. For a party of 100, expect to spend at least $250 for tables and chairs alone, not including delivery. Even basic white table linens cost at least $10.00 per table around here.
  • These halls are usually very plain and may need a lot of decoration to get the look you desire.
    Upsides to a basic venue:
  • The savings. If you have a lot of guests and an extremely small budget, this may be your only option.
  • You may be able to get a discount if a family member belongs to the club or lodge.
  • If you have a very specific look in mind, it's easier to achieve such a look on a "blank canvas" than try to make the burgandy banquet chairs and heavy chandeliers over at the Sheraton mesh with your "beach theme" wedding. However, be prepared to work hard to achieve that look.
  • Most lodges and fire halls are not going to restrict you to a set list of outside vendors, meaning you can use whoever you choose.

Remember: in addition to the price of your venue, be sure to factor in the price of all outside rentals, as well as catering costs, the price of the bar (if applicable), and decorations.

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