Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Deciding which venue to choose for your wedding or special event can be a daunting task! In NYC there are thousands of possibilities, all with different qualities, costs, and requirements. Some venues, like banquet halls, provide staffing, food and beverage, rentals, and just about everything you might need, but can restrict your creativity in what you are allowed to do to the space.
Venues that are just an empty space don't come with any of those in house services and require a lot more work but allow infinite custom design possibilities (as event planners / designers we LOVE). All inclusive venues will seem a lot more expensive, but once you pay the fees, there may not be many more things you have to pay for. If you plan on hiring a planner, you may be more interested in a venue that is more customizable. And if you fall in love with an empty space, you'll definitely want to hire a planner!
Wedding and Event Venue Breakdown
(Also known as a Function Hall or Reception Hall)
Can be standalone as their own venue, or as a separate space within a restaurant. This is a traditional venue, often chosen because it's a one stop shop for planning. You may have to bring in an outside photographer and DJ, but everything else should be provided. You'll choose your menu options from a list given, and you'll probably be able to choose linen types and/or colors, and a few other décor details. They can range from quite simple and ordinary, to extravagant and beautiful, and quality of food will range as well. Fees will probably include a per person cost, possibly a room rental, upgrades for bar and better dessert options, and possibly others.
Country Club / Golf Club
Usually membership only, these facilities offer a range of recreational and social services to their members such as golf, tennis, and event facilities. Country Clubs are great venues because they are picturesque and probably have beautifully manicured grounds to photograph and maybe have your ceremony on. Quality of food should be great. Fees will probably be charged per person along with potential additional costs.
If you have a favorite neighborhood restaurant, this could be a great option for an event venue. Food, beverage, rentals, and staff are all included. Depending on the restaurant, you may or may not be able to do much with the space, and you may or may not need to. Fees will probably be charged per person, perhaps a flat fee to host the event (to cover the restaurant for closing to the public).
Loft / Empty Space
This is an intriguing option, especially if you have an eye for design. Usually just the space comes with the flat fee charged. Venues like city lofts, country barns, industrial warehouses all fall under this category. You'll need to bring in catering, décor, rentals, staffing, and anything else needed. Depending on the space, they may offer some stock rentals, and they may have approved caterers that work well at the venue. This is where you can get the most creative and transform the space completely to make it your own. You can keep the budget reasonable if you have low vendor and décor costs, but it could also balloon depending on the design and details you choose.
Venues like attractions, parks, museums, mansions, castles, and gardens. If there is a place that is significant to you (i.e. a park where you met your significant other) where you would like to hold a ceremony or event, an unconventional venue could be for you. Much like a loft space, you'll have to bring everything in, however there may be more rules and permits you will have to handle, especially if its a public space.
In Doubt? Venue List it Out
There are so many possibilities out there so make a list of all the venues you would strongly consider and visit them in person! As your event planner, we schedule site visits with venues you like and suggest additional ones we think will match your vision. It also helps to make a list of the details most important to you (i.e. if you are a foodie, you may want a venue that allows you to bring in your own favorite food) and narrow down the venue list based on which ones allow the details you want most. For recommendations on venues in the NYC and NJ areas (or anywhere!), reach out to us today!
Photo Credit: Chellise Michael Photography