Finding the perfect venue means more than the right location and an ambiance that fits your wedding vision. It also means finding a place that fits your budget! With venue rental prices ranging dramatically across the country, we reached out to local experts to give us insight into what the most popular types of venues cost in their city. Getting married in Miami? Jackie Fernandez, president of Jackie Ohh... Events, has the scoop on what venues can cost in this coastal hotspot.
Unlike other venues, hotel ballroom prices are usually based on the per person food and beverage rate, not on an overall rental fee. "On average, a five-hour event will run between $80 and $230 per person (not including service tax and gratuity)," says Fernandez. "Typically, a hotel will provide pretty much the whole package at that price, including the stage, dance floor, tables, glassware, silverware, stemware, bars, barware, cocktail hour food and beverages, dinner service and beverages, wedding cake, staffing, standard linens, and hotel banquet chairs." While most brides will opt to rent some of these items (particularly dishes, silverware, linens, and chairs) from outside sources, these included options are available should you choose to use them.
Adds Fernandez, "Hotels work great for a bride who can envision a space and make it her own, but doesn't want to start from scratch."
Lofts and Blank Spaces
Miami is a goldmine when it comes to non-traditional venues. "The fee ranges dramatically, from $6,000 to $10,000, and usually includes the space for the entire day. But if a space doesn't have a kitchen already set up, those fees can add up quickly because your caterer will have to rent ovens, fryers, warmers, and anything else they need to prepare and serve your food," Fernandez explains. And of course, you have to fill the space! "Costs that couples don't consider immediately are for the rentals: You have to rent every fork, knife, napkin, and chair!
But while that list of rentals might sound scary, it ends up at a similar cost to a hotel, since the initial cost of renting the space is on the lower end," she continues.
Another perk of renting this type of venue is the ability to purchase liquor from a wholesaler. "Many will take back unopened bottles, so you'll be able to get some of that money back," says Fernandez. "And you have the ability to offer a wider and more creative range of options when you bring in the liquor yourself." She loves blank spaces and lofts for couples who want something unique and different, and want to create their own ambiance.
If you're expecting more than 80 guests, you may have to completely buy out the restaurant of your dreams instead of using a private room. "Restaurant buyouts can cost $40,000-$50,000, but this includes the rental fee, staffing, food, and drinks," says Fernandez. You may be paying a per person cost, and some restaurants will also require that a certain food and beverage minimum be met. "You're limited to the restaurant's menu and style of food (unlike a hotel or caterer who could offer options from all over the world), but if it's a style or restaurant you love, that's probably a non-issue!" Fernandez continues.
"And you'll save on things like decor and lighting, as restaurants are usually more elaborately decorated than other venue options." You might have less space to be creative with the layout, so the vibe will still feel like guests are dining at a restaurant instead of creating a banquet-style layout that's common at weddings. "If you love food and want a venue that already has a fantastic vibe in tact, restaurants are a great option."
And of course, don't forget the other choices! "We have everything from private homes, open grass spaces, and rooftops to museums, theaters, private islands, and even the possibility of closing down a street and having a huge event in the middle of the street!" says Fernandez. "If there's a space you love, we can create a party there."