Hi! New blogger here… and the topic is reception venues!
When we had started talking about receptions, we dreamed of an outdoor reception with white Christmas lights strung everywhere and lots of candles. Then reality hit. We realized that the table rental, plateware rental, flatware rental, linen rental, and other equipment rental costs for 650-700 people would be way out of our budget, too time-consuming, and too labor intensive. Just the thought of asking our friends to haul tables, put out linens, place centerpieces, plate tables and set out/ clean flatware made us very sad– it really wouldn’t be a celebration for our friends… it would be one more day to labor away.
So we decided to do 2 receptions– one for the 1st generation Korean guests (aka our parents’ guests) and another for 250 of our guests. Since 1st generation guests usually leave after eating (and take about 2 boxes of leftovers each!), we decided it would be financially unwise to have their reception at a hotel. But for our guests who would hopefully dance their socks off, we would want a hotel with a dance floor. That was our first criteria for a hotel venue, and was soon followed by our second criteria… permission for outside catering. You see, my parents had agreed to fund ALL of the food for both receptions! (same Korean food to 2 locations).
That narrowed the list drastically, but here’s what we ended up with:
- Fox Chase Manor–loved it. The high ceilings were gorgeous and there was even a discount if we booked by Dec. 31st. Problem? tables, linens, flatware not included.
- St. Joseph Parish– Super cheap and located close to our ceremony site. Unfortunately, the atmosphere was kind of high school prom-ish and since it was the banquet hall located in the Parish’s school, we thought it might be weird for our friends to get down to Jay-Z and Beyonce while staring at the crucifix on the wall. In addition, the cost of all those rentals would need to be factored in cause they would only provide the tables, chairs, and linens.
- Crowne Plaza Dulles– I loved this venue. The location was about 5-10 minutes away from the church which was perfect. They offer a free shuttle for our out of town guests when they fly into Dulles Airport. They were so flexible, accommodating, and responsive. The price including taxes, service charges, tables, chairs, linens, flatware, soda/coffee, wait staff, buffet supplies, glasses, votives etc.= $30 per person! and then food costs.
- Dulles Airport Marriott–expensive for us though it included everything we wanted: $35/ person + food costs for outside catering.
- Continental Event Center– Again a discount if we booked by December 31st, and the price was reasonable… the total per person turned out to be $31.40 per person + food costs + linen rental + plate rental etc. That would just be way too much labor.
- Holiday Inn Hotel (Alexandria)–loved the scenery around here and the staff was super helpful!! The price was really reasonable to: $30 per person + food costs. The problem was that it was 38 minutes away from the church and really out of the way for all of our guests.
- Hyatt Fair Lakes– too expensive! and the dates I wanted weren’t available… it was $50 per person!!! yikes! That’s not even including food!
- Hyatt Dulles– This was nice too and made it to our top venue selections. The problem was that with the tax and service charge, it became $44 per person not including food costs.
- Westfields Marriott– don’t even get me started: $60 per person + a 22% service and tax charge. They’ve lost their minds.
- Waterford at Fair Lakes– This included the opportunity to have Korean food catered through the venue. But including food costs, tax, and gratuity, it was $85 per person… again outside our budget.
- Sheraton National Hotel– This was nice, but 30 minutes away from our ceremony site and the costs were too high: $59.35 per person + food costs.
So what did we decide?
And they offered us a discounted rate of $26/ person if we booked before December 31st!!! They also gave us a discount on our dance floor rental and 2 free overnight rooms plus a free room for our wedding day. Lastly, they sent us the information card for our guests (in our wedding colors!) They have always been attentive, quick to respond, and easy to work with! We <3 the Crowne Plaza Dulles Airport!