Wedding Wednesday: How to save money on your venue

  Hello everyone!  We are right smack dab in the middle of one of my favorite seasons right now; WEDDING SEASON!!!!  I know a lot of couples got engaged over the holidays, which means a lot of you ladies are trying to plan your weddings right now.  This can be absolutely overwhelming to do!  Especially when trying to stay within a budget.  So I've decided to help lighten your load a little!  One of the most major expenses involved in wedding planning is the venue.  It can also be one of the most overwhelming decisions!  There are so many details involved in just finding a venue.  Does it include tables for the reception?  Does it include table linens?  Plates? Chargers? Silverware? Catering?  Decorations? DJ? Sound system? Cake?  Chairs for the ceremony as well as the reception?  Can I have my ceremony and reception in the same venue?  Can I bring in outside vendors?  Is there a fee for bringing in outside vendors?  Is there restrictions on outside vendors?  
  Wow.  Did you know there were so many things involved in just this one aspect of wedding planning?  Because until I started photographing weddings, I sure didn't!  
So here's my advice to you future bride; pick your battles.  Meaning decide what details you want to worry about.  
  For example, if the thought of finding table cloths and place settings for your bare tables scares the living daylights out of you, find a venue that offers to include them!  If you don't want to worry about chair rentals, ask for them to be included!  If you want to bring in all of that yourself, then make sure your venue allows outside vendors and doesn't charge a fee for bringing in your own.  If you don't think about these hidden costs beforehand, your venue could end up costing you a lot more than you initially planned on.  
  Now I'm not saying that just because it's included it will be the best deal.  I would recommend doing a little bit of research before meeting with your venue to make sure you are getting the best deal.  
  Ok, so to wrap all that up and simplify:  do research on what's included, and ask about any hidden vendor fees.  These two little things could save you thousands!  
  Just in case you are still looking for a venue, here are a few photos from The Elegant Barn in Gilbert!