Austin Wedding Venue Advice; Tips For Choosing The Perfect Location
“What advice do you offer to couples who are debating on having their wedding reception at a residence opposed to a venue?”
Congratulations to the newlyweds! Usually one of the first steps in planning your wedding is deciding where you will get married.
When considering a residence vs. a venue you should consider how much legwork you actually want to do on the day of your wedding. You can certainly bring in everything you will need to a residence, but there are also full service venues who include everything from the space itself to tables & chairs for dinner (and even the silverware on the table!), to fun lighting & AV packages to get your guests dancing, to experienced staff to interface with vendors & more! When looking for a venue you should consider one that will help make your big day easiest for you. In addition to finding a beautiful spot, you should consider what’s included with the venue – as it can range from nothing at all to quite a bit! Working with a venue that includes many amenities will mean less planning for you, lower costs overall, and less coordination on your wedding day – all of these factors will lead to a more enjoyable and relaxing wedding day for you & your family.
Pro tip: Be sure to consider everything that is included when comparing venue costs! A higher price tag up front may lead to a lower overall spending total once you add in everything you will need to rent.
The venue you choose will have more impact on your wedding than any other single decision you make regarding your wedding. The reason you might select a residence or an estate as your venue is because you want to spend the weekend surrounded by the people you love rather than just spending 6-8 hours at a venue. The advantages to having a residence as a
venue are that the wedding feels more intimate, relaxed and can be tailored to your personal style. The disadvantage is that it may require more work on your part such as hiring a caterer. I have several suggestions for couples who choose a residence or estate as a venue:
1. Since you will be at the venue for two days, plan activities or games that will assure people enjoy the entire weekend. It can be as simple as bringing a frisbee.
2. Having family members or friends create your flower arrangements can be a fun activity for them and can be easy on your budget. One of my favorite memories from my niece’s wedding was when several of us took the flowers and vases she provided and created the table arrangements.
3. Setting up for the wedding can be a fun activity that friends are delighted to participate in. Don’t hesitate to ask your friends or family who are staying at the venue to help you hang chinese lanterns, set up chairs or whatever you need to make the wedding perfect. People often say that’s a fun, bonding part of the weekend.
4. Be certain you understand exactly what the venue provides. Don’t make any assumptions including that the venue has outdoor lights or provides ice.
5. When comparing the cost with other venues, don’t forget the value of lodging for two nights for your family, friends or wedding party who will stay for the weekend.
Unless you have the luxury of an abundance of time on your hands and the thick skin to deal with no shows, wrong sizes, damaged merchandise, soiled linen and dirty dishes, a location is worth every penny!
Although a home wedding may seem simple, it is not always the case. Odds are that a residence is not prepared for 100+ guests, 75+ cars, 15+ waitstaff, and the happy couple. It is important to choose a venue that can comfortably host your wedding guests or you will find yourself trimming the guest list. Since the yard will most likely be the center of attention, a lot of prep work may be required beforehand which may be more work and money than anticipated. Your wedding day is a day to concentrate on what is most important, love. So let a venue, who is prepared to host your beautiful celebration, handle all of the essentials so you can enjoy a day filled with love, family, and friends.
The biggest difference between choosing a residence and a venue is your piece of mind. Venues are used to having the crowds so their kitchens/ bathrooms/ parking lots can handle the extra activity. Most venues come with bonuses like tables and chairs, built in lighting and sound systems, and ours even comes with a day of coordinator. It may seem like you are saving a lot of money by doing it at a residence, but once you add in the rentals and the headaches of trying to figure out the logistics, was it really worth it? If you value your time and want to keep things as streamlined as possible, then I highly recommend finding the right venue that fits all of your needs.
My advice to couples who are debating on whether or not to have their reception at a residence opposed to a venue is don't debate! I am speaking from experience as a bride who got married at and is now a property coordinator for a "residential" venue. When my husband and I got married we immediately thought of our family and friends. Life gets busy, distance is lame, and even though we wish it was, it's not always easy traveling to or carving out time to see everyone. We decided that we wanted to make a weekend out of our wedding and, second to choosing each other, it was the best decision we have made. When getting married at a residential venue like the Liney Moon 70 family members/friends are able to come relax and enjoy time spent together with the bride and groom prior and post wedding. This also makes the wedding reception so much more fun because family and friends have time to get to know each other, introductions are out of the way, and come party time everyone is letting loose and having fun! I can't speak for all residential style venues, but at The Liney Moon we allow our couples and their guests to come in and take over the property and we leave them be so whether they want to use our onsite chapel or not, it's all up to them. Doing this allows them to fully customize their wedding and experience to perfection.
Holding a wedding at a private residence is a great option for small weddings. There are a few key things to keep in mind: How will you dispose of all the trash? Who is responsible for clean-up? Where will everyone park? and What if I need something during my wedding or if something goes wrong? Wedding venues have thought of all these questions and answered them for you to allow for less stress and more FUN during your event. There is no need to worry if a toilet gets backed up or a neighbor complains about someone parking in their yard. Our job is to make sure your special day is not cluttered with mundane tasks or problems to handle. Our suggestion is to choose a venue that has experience in hosting weddings and let us take care of you and your guests.
We at Montesino Ranch and Events try to explain to the couple that hiring any friends or relatives means those friends and relatives do not get to party and have fun along with you on your wedding day. They are working and it's a lot of work! The same would apply having your reception at someone's private home. Consideration of their neighbors, consideration of parking, consideration of liability, consideration of the weather all need to be thought thoroughly thru before attempting to hold a huge party with 150 plus people drinking and then driving. There are lots of ways to make it more budget friendly but imposing on a family member or friend is not the way to go.
When deciding to have your wedding reception at a private residence versus a wedding venue here are some things I would consider. Parking -- if there are neighbors around you want to be sure they are cool with 50+ cars being parked along the streets or in the neighborhood. Second: setting up and cleaning up! At a wedding venue, you likely have venue or catering staff to help set up and take down chairs and tables. They also will arrange for venue cleanings either as part of their package or a small charge. Third, be sure to consider how much sound you will be producing. Venues are licensed to have music played to a certain decibel level and to a certain time. At a residence, you may not have that option if there are houses nearby -- you wouldn't want to get your party shut down! Regardless of where you choose, you should want to feel comfortable in your space. Luckily, our venue, Palm Door on Sabine, already has that home-away-from-home feel to it.
The defining difference between a residence versus a venue built specifically for event production is that one of these two places is made to ensure an event runs smoothly. While a residence can surely provide that special level of intimacy, it can also create a lot more unforeseen work (planning, cleaning) for the home's host or hostess. Whereas an event venue, such as The Vaughn, has built-in management and trained professionals ready to help see your special day is completed from start to finish!
Compiled by Austin Party Ride