It's so exciting!! I officially have a wedding date. My wedding will be on July 10, 2010. We decided on a location before Christmas but just finalized the contract and paid our $1,000 deposit yesterday. All done by fax and e mail-gotta love it!!
As I was searching for locations there were times I felt myself looking longingly at mansions, wineries, and lush golf course country clubs. Some of these locations were absolutely fabulous. I could only imagine how lavish and fantastic it would be to have a wedding at a place like that. I was not however seduced by the $90 per plate catering costs, $5000 venue fees or $8,000 food minimums. I have a budget and it does not include using the money we have saved for a down payment on a house in order to finance our wedding.
Back to reality. Which is fine, because there were a lot of lovely locations that were within our budget. I couldn't just look at the cost alone- I had to factor in the ever present sales tax and hefty 18-19% gratuity. That adds a lot onto the final tab. I also had to consider the estimated cost of my extras: DJ, Photographer, Officiant, cake, and flowers. This is on top of any costs associated with the facility and food.
We decided that Zosa was just too far to make it convenient for out of town guests. We also felt that the rooms were just a little too pricey. Basically, after the wedding we would be heading back home and our guests that were staying in town would either have to switch hotels or else we might not see them again and it would make it more difficult for them to do the whole tourist thing if they wanted to while they are here. We would have gotten so much more for our money with their great all inclusive package prices but we decided to pass.
MVR was actually the less expensive hotel option but Mj just didn't like it. The upside in addition to cost is the free parking and they provided false flower center pieces. The ceremony location was right behind the pool and was not closed off at all so he did have a good point about that not being ideal. When I crunched numbers to include alcohol, and Hors D'oeuvres I really liked the price though because we had a better chance of staying in the $10,000's. It would not be nearly as stylish as The H and I was willing to accept that but Mj was not.
The H Hotel it is. It is centrally located, the room prices are reasonable and the renovations on the entire hotel will be done in February. It is convenient having the ceremony and reception in the same place. The garden area for the ceremony is beautiful and private. The reception room is intimate and has floor to ceiling glass that looks out onto the garden area. The hotel does the catering, provides staff, tables, chairs, and linens. There were some really scenic locations that I found online but by the time you add in the cost of paying staff and renting tables, chairs, linens, china, bar set up, etc through the catering company the cost seemed way too high so I think this was the best way to go for us. One downside is that they do charge for parking which we can either host or make our guests pay. The upside is that I won't have to buy chair covers because the hotel has nice gold ballroom chairs whereas the MVR had an ugly maroon that I would have wanted to cover.
Garden Ceremony Location
I like it that we will have plenty of time to use the facility. There were some places that wanted you in and out in 4-5 hours which I didn't like because I don't want to rush through this. The changing room for the bride is right across from the reception area and is available as early as 10 am. The ceremony venue fee is $1,190. What's nice is that the ceremony location is set up with a sound system and CD player so we won't have to hire a DJ for the ceremony at all. The reception room cost is included in the food prices. We have chosen a reception package that provides one hour unlimited drinks during cocktail hour along with a cheese display, a single plated entree selection, and champagne toast. The cost for this is a very reasonable $55 per person. The food minimum for our room is $3,000 which we will have not problem meeting with our planned 75 guest list. We may add on an additional fruit display. Their bar hosting packages are flexible and we may also add on some extra alcohol.
I want to work on getting our officiant, DJ, and Photographer in place next because those services usually do just one per day so you have to book those well in advance. In my earlier searches for locations I have come across possibilities for all of the other vendors too and have saved the links in a hotmail draft for later reference. I've done most of the research I just have to dig it up and make decisions.
So, the key is to keep the cost of all of my additional vendors as low as possible so as to try and stay within budget. That includes officiant, flowers, photographer, DJ, and cake. I also will have to decide on low budget center pieces and invitations.