The Truth About All Inclusive Wedding Packages

Your wedding is an important day and there are lots of details to consider.  Before you start stressing about all the aspects of planning a wedding, consider an all-inclusive package.  All inclusive destination wedding packages used to be popular mainly with couples planning destination weddings, but today all-inclusive packages becoming much more appealing to everyone, especially couples who’d rather spend their evenings relaxing over a glass of wine than worrying about wedding details.  Here are some tips on how to choose the right all-inclusive wedding package for you.

 

Is an all inclusive wedding package right for you?

Yes:

  • You’re planning a destination wedding.
  • You’d rather spend your time planning the honeymoon or just hanging out with your partner!
  • You’ve found a venue that has beautiful pictures and excellent reviews and you’re not too fussy about the details.

No:

  • You’re totally Type A and want to be on top of all aspects of your wedding.
  • You enjoy planning events.
  • You think that deciding on all the intricate details is half the fun!

 

What does an all inclusive package actually include?

It depends!  Every venue is different and there is no such thing as a “standard” all-inclusive.  Typically, wedding venues that offer all-inclusive wedding packages will include:

  • Venue rental
  • Tables, chairs, linens, and place settings
  • Dinner and hors d’oeuvres
  • Cocktail hour and open bar during the reception

Some venues will include a few extras, such as:

  • Chapel or ceremony location
  • Bridal suite or lounge
  • Honeymoon suite
  • Uplighting or custom lighting
  • Built-in sound equipment
  • Wedding toast
  • Tableside wine service
  • Cake cutting and plating
  • Dance floor
  • An onsite manager or day-of coordinator
  • Hotel accommodations

For example, the Agora Grand Event Center in Maine offers their Masterpiece Package that includes all of the above.

 

large elegant wedding inside Agora Grand Wedding Castle Maine

Agora Grand Wedding Castle

 

In very rare cases, all inclusive wedding packages will include:

  • Flowers, centerpieces, and decorations
  • Photographer
  • DJ

Packages rarely include these items because they are so personal and specific to each couple’s tastes.  Do you really want to be stuck with the in-house DJ or a photographer with an uninspired portfolio?

 

How much does an all inclusive wedding package cost?

Of course, that will depend on whether the venue is inexpensive, premium, or luxury.  In some cases, a wedding package is a flat fee, such as $10,000 for up to 50 guests.  Flat fee packages are more common among small wedding venues.

Sometimes, a wedding package is a simple per-person charge with a required minimum number of guests.  For instance, the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel in Virginia offers packages starting at around $130/guest plus a 22% service charge.  In this case, the venue fee is built into the per-person charge, so reducing your guest count can result in significant savings.

More typically, wedding packages are quoted in terms of a venue rental portion and a per-person portion.  For example, an inexpensive Midwest wedding venue might cost $5000 plus $50 per guest, while a wedding at the gorgeous Oheka Castle in Long Island might cost $12,000 plus a per-person charge of up to $500!

 

Photo Courtesy Oheka Castle

 

Will an all inclusive package save me money?

Sometimes.  If your favorite venue offers package AND non-package options, then you can simply add up the value of each item in the package and compare it to the actual cost.

For example, assume the package price is $70/person and is separate from the venue fee.  The package includes:

  • Hors d’oeuvres and dinner (value $45)
  • Four-hour open bar (value $25)
  • Place settings and linens (value $10)
  • A wedding toast (value $4).

The total value is then $84, which means that the package will save you money.  However, the real value of an all-inclusive package is the convenience… don’t underestimate the value of your time!  If you’re planning a destination wedding or simply want to simplify the wedding planning process, a wedding package can be worth every penny!

 

What if I only want part of the package?  Is there such a thing as an almost-all-inclusive package?

If you have special requests, some venues will work with you to make sure your package is tailored to your particular needs.  However, many venues have a one-size-fits-all package that isn’t really negotiable.  If in doubt, just ask!

 

What if my guest count is much higher or lower than my estimate?

Most venues will simply adjust your last invoice based on the final guest count.  Typically, venues require a certain minimum number of guests to honor a package deal, particularly if the venue fee is built-in.

 

How do I get the most out of my all-inclusive wedding package?

We have a great blog post about taking advantage of your all inclusive wedding package.  But here are some other pointers.

First, make sure to look closely at your venue’s proposal to see what’s included and what’s not.  Make sure to budget for any necessary items that aren’t included.  If, for example, the package doesn’t include a ceremony location, cake cutting, or a dance floor, you’ll need to add these to your budget and your to-do list.

Second, take advantage of everything that’s included!  If the package includes a bridal lounge, plan to use it to relax and get ready before the ceremony.  If it includes a built-in sound system, be sure to mention this to your DJ for a possible discount.

Finally, relax and have fun!  By opting for an all-inclusive, you’ve just freed up lots of time to really enjoy the process!

 

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Andrew Knight is the owner of the Agora Grand Event Center in Maine, a recent groom, and a blogger who loves writing about unique weddings, weddings costs and budgeting, and wedding planning.

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