What Is an A La Carte Wedding Venue?
So, what is an a la carte wedding venue? Quite simply, it’s a venue that allows you to pick and choose the services you want for your big day. An a la carte wedding venue differs from a traditional wedding venue in that it provides more flexibility by offering services on an individual basis. With a traditional wedding venue, couples are typically required to purchase all of their event services—from guest accommodations to catering—from the establishment itself (hence the term “all-inclusive wedding venues”).
However, when couples choose an a la carte venue they have more freedom: They can either buy their event essentials directly from the venue or source them elsewhere. This often means having access to better deals on their desired services and more options overall. For example, if one couple wants live music and another wants strictly digital sounds during their reception dinner, then both parties can get exactly what they want at an a la carte venue.
Pros of an a la carte wedding venue
There are many benefits to booking an a la carte wedding venue. Here are the most popular pros:
- Customization: An a la carte venue provides you with more flexibility and enables you to create the wedding of your dreams. It allows you to handpick all your vendors, which means you can bring in everything from your favorite caterer to the photographer who shot your engagement photos. This also means that if there’s a particular theme or feeling that you want for your special day, you can select vendors who will make it happen!
- Cost savings: One major benefit of an a la carte wedding venue is the cost savings. By selecting each individual vendor, you have more control over how much money each service is going to cost. You can shop around for catering services, photographers and other vendors, and choose those with reasonable prices (or negotiate rates) so that you can save some money for the honeymoon.
Shopping around for vendors may sound like a daunting task at first glance—but we have good news! Wedding Spot has created a list of recommended vendors in every city across the nation so that brides-to-be can find their dream team without spending hours searching Google (or worse: Yelp). We also provide pricing information and offer discounts on selected vendors.
Cons of an a la carte wedding venue
You’ll have a lot more work to do
. An a la carte wedding venue, while cheaper than an all-inclusive wedding venue, will require you to research and negotiate with many different vendors. You’ll need to find caterers, decorators, bartenders and more. While the experience of creating your dream wedding is exciting, it can also be incredibly stressful. While you’re having fun building your dream wedding cake out of tiny wine glasses filled with jellybeans (don’t judge), you must remember that you are also planning one of the most important days of your life!
The more work you put in, the more stress you’ll feel
. And if every detail isn’t perfect on your big day? Well…you might just go into meltdown mode! Instead of worrying about whether or not Uncle Joe will get his scotch on the rocks or if Aunt Mary will enjoy her vegan dish, let someone else handle it for you and simply focus on enjoying yourself and celebrating your special day.
Who should opt for an a la carte wedding venue?
If you’re on a tight budget and are willing to put in the time to research vendors, an a la carte venue might be for you. You’ll also benefit from skipping the planner if you’re comfortable organizing your wedding on your own.
Then again, if you have more wiggle room in your budget and are looking to save time (and stress) then exploring all-inclusive venues is probably more up your alley.
It’s important to note that choosing an a la carte venue isn’t necessarily indicative of forfeiting quality service or personalization—it just means that the bulk of services aren’t included in the package. When it comes down to it, every couple has different needs and budgets they’re working with—and what works for one couple may not work for another.
How to choose the best a la carte wedding venue for You
When you’re looking for an a la carte venue, think about the size of your guest list. A lot of venues have maximum guests included in their package prices, so if you have a small guest list and are paying by the person, you might be paying more than is necessary to host at that location. That said, some places offer discounts for smaller wedding parties. Think about whether location is important to you—how far are your guests willing to travel? If they’re coming from out of town, do they need a nearby hotel or guesthouse? Would you like to have an indoor or outdoor wedding? If it’s outdoors, what time of year are you getting married? How does the weather typically look during that season? Will there be electricity or heat lamps available if it gets cold?
Those things will help narrow down your search and narrow down which locations will best suit your wedding needs.
An a la carte wedding venue is usually less expensive, but also more time consuming.
All inclusive venues usually cost more than a la carte venues, and this is for a couple of reasons. First, the all inclusive venue has to pay for all the amenities that you have access to. They are going to incur these costs whether or not you use them, which allows them to pass those expenses on to you as part of your venue fee. Second, some all inclusive venues have staff on site who will help set up and clean up after your event. You may also be able to get food from their kitchen or even bartenders if yours is an adult event, which can add up quickly!
A la carte venues don’t include these things in their rental package because they want clients who are willing to do most of the work themselves so that they can keep prices low (and profits high). The average wedding at an all inclusive venue costs around $15-25k while an a la carte one comes in at $8-12k (Source: Cost of Wedding Venues).