Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Outside the Ballroom: The Introduction

Ballroom weddings seem to have become pretty standard lately. Most major hotels have a modern ballroom or giant meeting hall. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but more of a necessity as weddings and conventions have gotten bigger.

When you have over 200 people it's hard to find anything besides a ballroom or a tented reception (Then you take your chances with the elements). Ballrooms are great for a bride who wants to start from scratch, it let's you be an artist and paint the walls your own color. The only thing already there is the curb appeal on the outside.

The problem comes when there are so many weddings held in these ballrooms and meeting halls that they tend to lose their elegance. They also lose their originality.

We are creating this series because we want to point out, and discover, other amazing and different venues that exist. The venues we are exploring range from castles, to traditional antique ballrooms, to bed and breakfasts, to anything that cannot be classified as a modern ballroom or meeting hall. We also want to hear from you about the venues you've discovered, so please submit them in the comments or email them to info@pilsterphotography.net with Outside the Ballroom in the subject.

These are going to be places where someone else has already taken a paintbrush to the easel, but you have the opportunity to add to it. You will have a chance to build on what someone else has done, which there is no way you could have created yourself, and to make it your own.

Many of these venues are going to be for much smaller and more intimate weddings, usually less than 200 and some smaller than 20. You will have to tone down your guest list if you want to have a wedding at many of them. We are also going to make it a goal to find some of these places that CAN hold larger wedding parties though, but that will not be our main focus.

We are going to start this feature this Thursday and continue it every other week on Thursday, so be looking for it this week!

One of the features that we plan to include is "What you need to know about this venue". This will break the info down to the basics

Address and Contact info: We want you to be able to find it.

Price: Price will definitely be in this list since I know it can be one of the biggest factors. It is also one of the most confusing. You always see $-$ on websites but how are you supposed to know just how much that really is? Well I recently ran across a website with some useful info on the subject. I took the liberty of modifying it from their highest price of $$$ to $$$$$. We plan to use this in our information to you about ballrooms.

$: $50-$250

$$: $250-500

$$$: 500-2000

$$$$: $2000-$4000

$$$$$: $4000+

Your $2,000-$4,000 range sometimes includes things like tables and chairs, linens, flat/stemware, and a per person catering fee.

The more upscale hotels will be in the $4,000 and above range and typically include the rental of ballrooms but not catering costs.

Ceremony site: This will let you know if there is a place designated for you to have your ceremony.

Catering: Please note that a lot of venues require you to use in-house catering or other preferred vendors.

This can also effect the price of the venue.

Parking: Be aware that although some location say that parking is available you may have to pay extra for it. Most, but not all, downtown venues have limited on-site parking so be prepared to pay a small fee to park in a garage or other lot. Additionally, some churches charge a $200 fee to utilize their space.

Outdoor space: If you are thinking about having any part of your wedding outdoors, this could affect you. Many venues in the downtown areas don't have this option.

Capacity: This can vary depending on if you add a dance floor and it is usually for the entire venue and not individual rooms. Sometimes rooms can be sectioned off or you can use multiple rooms for your reception. This may be a problem if you want everyone in the same place to hear announcements and hear the music.

Styles: You want these places to reflect you!


Anonymous said...

...Another thing to consider that is not mentioned here.... acoustics. Don't hold your event in a room made of marble with glass for walls and then expect your band or dj to "hold it down" during dinner! Some venues have TERRIBLE acoustics that can ruin your night in a hurry if you don't get creative with pipe & drape or carpeting.

Janna said...

Love this post! Your first picture on the blog is where our reception is being held and I loved it! The reason we originally visited it was because Dubsdread was not a big ballroom and had more of that intimate vintage feel I love!

Charissa said...

Anonymous - That is a great piece of advice about the sound! I may have to do an entire post on that. Thank you!

Janna - I love Dubsdread! Cathy is so great to work with. I just photographed a wedding there in November and I have another coming up in May. I hope to do many more there in the future. I'm also hoping to feature them April.

Thanks for the feedback!

Unknown said...

What is the venue of the last picture on this page?

Unknown said...

Hi! I love your blog - one question, where/what is the name of the venue featured in the last picture on the page?

Charissa said...


That last venue is Paradise Cove. You can find the Outside the Ballroom post on it here and some weddings we have shot there here

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