An awesome way to save money on your wedding is by choosing a venue that already functions as a restaurant. Gowns and Guests had the pleasure of speaking with Samantha Ashby, who decided to take this route with her husband when they wed in 2014. We asked a few questions that will give you deep insight into what it’s like to have your wedding at a restaurant, and how it could be beneficial to your budget.
What made you and your spouse decide to host your wedding at a restaurant?
Good food and drinks were a top priority for us. We wanted our wedding to be like a really great, and very large, dinner party (followed by lots of dancing). When we started to think about venues, restaurants came to mind because they are well-oiled machines when it comes to food prep and good drinks.
What kind of money did this save you?
Having our wedding at a restaurant not only saved us a lot of money, but also a lot of logistical hassles and planning stress. We only paid for the food and the drinks. There was no venue fee (this can sometimes be a few thousand dollars), no fee for tables and chairs, no fee for napkins and flatware. We didn’t have to worry about carting all of that stuff to an off-site location. We also got a day-of coordinator free of charge.
Dessert was also included in the meal price, so we only ended up buying a small cake for the two of us to cut. So we saved on buying a wedding cake. And the venue was so pretty that I don’t think we even needed to buy flowers, though we did. Compared to my friends that got married around the same time, I’d say we saved at least 1/3 in expenses. We also got to enjoy really good food (something I don’t often say when it comes to weddings).
How was the food?
The food was exquisite. We chose one of the best steakhouses in town and guests had a choice between steak, salmon, chicken or a veggie meal. A salad and dessert came with each meal. I heard a lot of compliments on the food and was relieved, as most wedding food is pretty bleh. We also had an open bar for our guests for about the same cost as the meal for each person. We could have saved a lot of money by offering only beer or wine, but we wanted people to enjoy any drink of their choice.
What were your wedding-day budget priorities that you put above catering?
We did not put anything above the food and drink. I would say 2/3 of our wedding budget was on food and drink (which again, included all things venue related). The other major budget items were the photographer, the officiant, rings, dress and suit (both of which we can wear again), shoes, flowers, DJ, and shuttles for guests.
Would you recommend restaurant weddings to future brides and grooms?
I would totally recommend a restaurant wedding to anyone. It saved us a lot of planning and the food was great. We had 112 people at our wedding, but could have had 150 at the venue we picked. If you want a very large wedding, a restaurant may not be an option, but these days, a small wedding may be preferred anyways.