UPGRADES: Take it up a notch!
Take It Up a Notch
Upgrade and Venue Choices
By Laurin Fegley, Owner, Simply Smooth
Photographs Courtesy of Simply Smooth
With some of the most popular times for engagement proposals coming up at Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day, it is time to start thinking wedding planning. Brides that come to us don’t always know where to start when it comes to planning and design. We try to help make the process easier by asking some questions about the concept, approximate budget, venue choice, time of year and any design ideas they might have in mind for their reception.
Some couples choose to go with a country club, banquet hall or hotel ballroom where additional rentals are considered an upgrade where as some couples choose an outdoor space where everything needs to be brought in. Depending on your event space, different recommendations can be made to help you achieve the most “WOW” for your money – this is where we can help! Rental needs are truly based on your venue. Common rental items are tenting, tables, chairs, linens, tableware, dance floors, lighting, climate control, just to name a few. There are basics as well as options and upgrades to every one of these selections.
When booking your wedding at a hotel, country club, or any other venue where a majority of the necessities are onsite, you may only be interested in upgrading a few items. Most of the time, the tables and chairs are already provided. In this case, you may choose to upgrade to a timeless silver, gold or clear Chiavari chair or a rustic-style countryside chair. Perhaps changing from the standard white or ivory polyester linen to a different color, texture or fabric may suit your style better. There are so many fabric, texture and color options that finding the perfect complement for your wedding should be a breeze if you start with a clear vision! A tasteful runner can also enhance a tabletop design and usually proves to be an inexpensive layer of your design. For the most part the tableware that a venue includes in their package is just fine, but you may choose to upgrade your guest place settings such as the plates, flatware, and glassware which can be upgraded to newer shapes and more interesting and creative presentations. Flatware can also be gold or silver plated to go along with your theme. Another nice enhancement would be chargers which you can rent in either lacquer or glass versions and come in many colors. The more layers of design created on the table top, the more polished it will appear to your guests. That same polish can be established with a rustic wedding as well by using burlap, tree slices, drift wood, grasses, cat tails and other natural accents, with or without the typical ball mason jars! So much can be utilized from seasonal growths to accent the tables and to give the table a “fresh from the garden or just picked” look that costs very little in the end.
Of course, there are other items that can be added to any venue including a dance floor. Some venues include a basic floor, but there are many options to choose from. You can go with a checkered, a seamless, or even lighted floor. Upgrading options don’t stop there. You will most likely consider lighting to enhance the overall look of the space. This can be provided by your rental company or it may be included in a package from your entertainment provider.
If you are serving alcohol at your wedding, bar space needs to be established as well. Most venues will have a designated space, this is something you should confirm otherwise renting one may be necessary. Many rental companies today offer LED lit bars that can be turned into a variety of colors at the flip of a switch.
If you find yourself working with a blank canvas, or bare grounds, everything will need to be brought in. Planning an event on a blank canvas is not inexpensive, but lends itself to becoming memorable, unique and all yours – because nothing is cookie cutter! When starting from the ground up, you will want to take all the considerations from above, plus the different options that are available, and add additional items to that list. All this may seem to be overwhelming but this information is only intended to fully educate you on what may be needed when using a unique space. The more you know, the better prepared you can be during the planning process.
In a situation where you are using an outdoor and open space, your first question could be, will we need to be covered or not? Then there comes the lighting. Various tent styles allow for different lighting options with several options being poles vs. no poles, clear span and so much more. Some tent varieties have far greater impact on budgets than others. Keep in mind when choosing a tent location that you will need to consider climate control options especially if it is a particularly warm summer day or a chilly evening? You may decide you need fans or heaters, respectively.
Another aspect that often goes unnoticed is the needs of the caterer. These requirements can change depending if food is being brought in finished or being finished onsite. The necessities can range from needing chaffing dishes to requiring a refrigerator, grills, stove or oven. It is important to know what your caterer needs if you are planning a wedding on a private property. It should also be determined if serving equipment will be needed and how the food will be served and the temperature maintained. Will it be a buffet or a plated dinner? Both have different needs in terms of serving. Another commonly overlooked item is power. If power is not supplied by the venue, temporary power will need to be brought in. It is important to speak with the venue coordinator to ensure adequate power is being supplied. No one wants a shortage in the middle of the wedding!
Another tasteful upgrade item to consider for your big day is lounge or period furniture. This is nice-to-have and it does create a fun and relaxed atmosphere for your guests. These pieces can be customized to the style of your event.
Often a caterer will not only help establish a list of what they need, but will also be helpful in assisting you in procuring the rest of the rental items needed. The caterer does this many times a month and is accustomed to the needs of specific venues and can save you the trouble of figuring out the learning curve on your own. Take their advice if it’s offered, it’s often well founded! Some of the most popular upgrades today include the ever popular photo booth, lighting, linen choices and unusual invitations.
This is a pretty good start to venue differences in terms of rentals and some of the upgrades that need to be considered. Regardless of where your wedding is taking place, there are always upgrade options to enhance the quality of your finished presentation. Your vision can be very complete when you consider the layers in design that you will need to achieve that look!