Wedding and Special Events Venue Choice – Made Easy
You love good wine, convivial music and could eat pasta for days? You’ve seen all the photos of the beautiful brides against the fairytale hay colored hills, the massive long tables set out under the olive trees for all fresco dinning and you think, “why can’t I have that for my wedding?” Well, you are now officially crushing on Tuscany and why not? It’s gorgeous. But for a lot of people it feels like a far away, remote possibility. If you dream of having a Tuscan wedding but feel the task might be too daunting, then this post is dedicated to you.
So, how do you get started and what are the first steps? I would say, your number one priority is to find a venue that suits your needs. But there are thousands out there so if you want to narrow down your choices to a reasonable number to consider, I highly recommend reaching out to a local Wedding Planner. These professionals have done all the legwork for you. They know which villas have reputable owners that care about their wedding couples and which ones should be avoided.
Before you get in touch with a professional, make a list of your priorities for the event and determine what kind of budget you are going to be working with.
Tell your planner what your priorities are. For example, is being able to dance until the wee hours really important or perhaps you want to be within an hours driving distance of an airport? Also, try to give them an idea of the budget you are working with. Some people are shy about this topic, however there is no use in viewing or evaluating a venue that is completely out of your range.
I think that, by and large, the Tuscan wedding venue market can be broken down into 4 different types of venues. Knowing ahead of time which type of venue to concentrate your search on will save you time. Below is a brief description of the various venue types:
Historic Day Rental Villa: These villas tend to be the most unique and make the biggest splash in terms of the wow-factor. They may have a limited amount of accommodation on the adjoining grounds, but usually don’t offer any accommodation, hence the surprise to your guests upon arriving is heightened. They are one of kind locations that your guests will remember for years to come. Most of these villas require a caterer, and ask a daily rental fee. You should make sure that your budget is substantial enough to handle this choice. There is also the cost of transporting your guests to and from the villa to be considered.
A good option for those wishing to allow their guests the freedom to choose their own accommodation.
Villa with accommodation and on site Restaurant: The attraction of these villas is that they are often located in extremely panoramic positions. For those wishing to make their budget go as far as possible, this is an excellent choice. Although the level of surprise that comes with arriving at a venue for the first time is definitely reduced in this case, the positive aspects are that you save on the food, (usually 20 to 30% less compared to the cost of catering), transport, and rental fee. Most savvy owners will waive a location rental fee if you are able to book out the whole hotel/villa with your guests. If you do decide to go for exclusive use of the venue and rent out all of the accommodation, make sure you ask about what time you have to stop the music, if you have the whole place to yourself; owners are more likely to let your party run longer.
Restaurant: This is an excellent choice for those wishing to have great food. Local restaurants specializing in events can offer you a gourmet menu at lower prices. Some, depending on their location, can also allow you to dance late into the night. One word of caution: If the road can only handle small vans, you should get a good transport quote before you book the restaurant. A 50 person event can cost a lot if you need 4 or 5 drivers to get you there as opposed to one large bus. This advice goes for any venue you see that seems to be located on a narrow windy road.
Private Villa Weekly rental with small catered party: This is a good choice for a small party of 35 or under. You and your guests rent the villa for the week and ask the owner for permission to hold a wedding reception or event in the grounds. Some owners will ask for a cleaning fee for the day after, others a small usage fee, others will be content to rent the week out and ask for nothing in return. Many villas are connected with private chefs and can propose a reasonable menu for the wedding day.
So that, in a nutshell, is an overview of the types of villas you’ll find when conducting your search. In my mind, those couples coming from India should probably consider doing a combination of the 4 choices. Perhaps find a weekly rental villa large enough to allow you to host the Sangeet on its grounds. Couple that with a day rental villa for the actual wedding day and I think you have a great recipe for a successful wedding week.