No matter what budgeting tool you may be using, the overwhelming standard affirms that the largest portion of your wedding budget is bound to be spend on your reception. Most sites recommend spending between 45 – 65 percent of your budget on this portion of your big day.
The venue also determines just about everything else, from the date and time to how much money you have left over to spend on the smaller incidentals of wedding planning. Finding a wedding venue within your budget is key to staying on track with the rest of your expenses. When we started looking for a venue I wanted to make sure that we could easily keep track of exactly what each venue had to offer and how much everything was going to cost at the end of the day.
The initial Venue Tracking Spreadsheet I built allowed me to track all of the basics while we were deciding exactly where we wanted to visit in person.
- Venue name
- Day of the week the pricing was for
- Who is the contact at that location
- Estimated costs per person
- Required bar
We used this to narrow down to the places we wanted to visit and find out more information about. From there I built a second spreadsheet that would calculate all of the pricing we’d collected, add in caterer information if needed, and any additional fees. We used this portion of the spreadsheet to figure out exactly what everything was going to cost without any hidden fees.
*All these prices are from December 2013 so if you are in Denver and looking for a venue you definitely need to request a new quote.
At the end of the day we decided we wanted more of our budget to go towards the actual food that our guests would be consuming then the cost to be in the building. Our venue (Soiled Dove Underground) is owned by a larger restaurant group (The Tavern) which allowed us to commit more towards really amazing food without having to pay the overhead for the building.
A lot of restaurants offer spaces that will accommodate weddings, even on Friday and Saturday nights, if you are planning to spend enough to make it worth their time. For a restaurant having a large group means a committed full house on a night they may or may not have that much business usually. As a result restaurants are often not as prone to the wedding ‘fee’ structure for corkage, cutting fees, or server charges.
Check out this Venue Tracking Spreadsheet that you can use in Google Sheets. Just make a copy of it for your Google Drive and you can edit and use it for your venue tracking needs. We hope this free wedding spreadsheet helps you in your wedding planning!
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.