Choosing the perfect wedding venue may not be as easy as one would think. There’s a lot of things to think about; headcount, food, location, space, overall look & feel, and possibly most importantly, cost. These are just a handful of items to have on your checklist when you look into a wedding venue. Let’s break these down to give you a better idea of how to be prepared when you go touring your potential venue.
Headcount: Are you looking for a smaller, more intimate wedding? Maybe you want the big, grand wedding you’ve always dreamed of? Either way, this is one of the first questions you should be asking BEFORE even touring the venue. What if you have a 250 person headcount and the venue can only hold 150? Don’t waste your time looking at a space that won’t work for you. Some places, don’t offer smaller wedding pricing, or even have a room small enough for an intimate wedding; larger rooms with dwarf the size of your wedding and make it look out of place. You want to ensure the venue can fit your headcount comfortably and have the appropriate size room for your reception. We here at Bykenhulle offer packages from elopements, up to 125 person tented weddings on the gorgeous grounds, and everything in-between. Our most common headcount ranges from 50-80 guests, which are held in our ballroom; with cathedral ceilings, gold chandeliers, and surrounded by French doors, it’s the perfect classic setting for an intimate wedding.
Food: Does this venue offer food on-premise, or do you need to hire in a caterer? Even if they have on-premise food, can you bring in your own caterer? This can make or break choosing a venue. When you hire in a caterer, the cost may vary from all-inclusive places, of course depending on your menu and whether you want buffet or plated courses, but also due to location of where the caterer is traveling from, what they may need to rent for cooking equipment, and other factors that varies from caterer to caterer. Having your wedding catered rather than with on-premise kitchens, you have more options to choose from and can really customize everything from the drinks you serve, to cocktail hour, and of course, reception and dessert.
All-inclusive places generally have a set menu that you can choose from, ranging from a low-end to a high-end dinner. Caterers also caterer various types of events with hundreds of different kinds of food so they are always changing up their menus, offering more services to their clients, and are constantly being inspired by each event they handle. While most people may think that hiring in a caterer is more work, the caterers take on a bulk of planning, by working closely with the client & rental companies, they make sure to have everything they need to ensure your event goes off perfectly without you having to do much, if any, footwork.
Location: Do you want a central location for your family and friends, or do you want that place in other state you’ve always dreamed of being married in? Maybe a destination wedding is more your style. Whatever you choose, location is key for many couples. They want as many guests as possible to attend their special day, so that may mean they need a central location to most guests. This is especially true if you’re getting married in a church, and then have a reception to follow elsewhere. Guests don’t want to have to travel to the church, then to a reception, and then travel home afterwards, so the closer things are, the better. If you’re planning a destination wedding, having your wedding at a resort that guests can stay at, is key since most destination weddings, people fly to, and won’t have a car to drive to several locations. Having this in mind before scouting out a venue is helpful because you can cut down on tours if you know a venues location is not within the radius you are looking at. The Bykenhulle House is conveniently located right off the Taconic State Parkway in Hopewell Jct, NY; 15 minutes from exit 38 of I-84, 1.5 hours North of New York City, and 1.5 hours South of Albany. We hold events with guests from all over NY, CT, NJ, PA, and even further places like Ohio, and Canada. Guests enjoy the quiet residential area our house is located in, along with its close proximity to major highways for their guests.
Space: Does the venue have ample space for you while you’re getting ready, for your ceremony and/or reception, and parking for all your guests? Couples go to look at the reception room and ceremony space but often forget about getting ready areas like bridal suites, restrooms, and parking for their guests, as well as looking at rooms to stay in overnight, if the venue accommodates this. You’ll want to make sure to look at every space offered, even if you may not use it, so you know when you make your decision, you have seen all the options available to you. The Bykenhulle House offers up to three different outdoor areas for your ceremony, one partially covered area, and one indoor area, that is mainly used in case of inclement weather. We have two indoor spaces to
accommodate parties of different sizes, from the most intimate of elopements to the traditional wedding of close family & friends. On the grounds is a space for a tent if you’re looking to host an outdoor reception on those perfect Summer evenings, where we can host your larger scale wedding of all your friends and family! Between the Bed and Breakfast guest rooms and living rooms, we can provide space for some of your guests to spend the night, as well as several areas to utilize as a bridal suite, separately for both the bride and groom.
Overall Look & Feel: When you pulled in to the venue, did you get a sense of excitement? Did the look of the grounds feel welcoming, and you could see yourself getting married here? Your first instinct should be a big clue, because you’ll want all of your guests to feel that same sense of awe upon their arrival as you did. Once you see all the spaces, outside & inside, take notice of furniture, lighting, walls, flooring, staff, parking lot, and even the little things like colors, scents, and sounds. All of these things you should make notes of as your walking thru the venue, constantly thinking about your day and if this all matches your vision. Things like sounds and scents can change, of course, but you’ll most likely visit the venue more than once, so it’s something to keep in mind each visit. If you constantly hear a fan, or some sort of noise, and smell a heavy scent each time you walk in, address these to the venue coordinator you’re working with. The last thing you want is your day to be ruined by a pungent smell or a loud event next door (if they do more than one event at a time – which is common and something you should also be comfortable with if your venue does this). At Bykenhulle House, our home always smells of warm sugar cookies or some scrumptious breakfast from our lovely innkeepers, our outside areas are surrounded by gardens so you get the scent of peonies, lilies and other florals. We also only hold one event per day, regardless of timing, so you can feel like the superstars you are and get our full attention.
Cost: Last, but possibly the most important, is the cost of the venue. Most venues will not put their pricing online, or even email it you in their first correspondence to you. Why? Because they want you to walk in their doors and see the beauty and elegance their venue provides and not automatically cross them off your list because the pricing was too high. A lot of venues have several packages based on what you’re looking for; they can offer off-season pricing, buffet style dinner, and smaller parties as a cheaper option. There’s a lot of factors that make up their pricing, so they like to sit down and talk to you about what exactly you’re looking for and then determine if they can accommodate your event within their price range. Sometimes it doesn’t fit, and that’s ok, but sometimes it does, and it’s picture perfect. At Bykenhulle House, we see parties anywhere from elopements of just the bride & groom, up to weddings of 125 guests, and everywhere in between. We sit down with each and every couple face to face to hear and envision their special day. Maybe they want 125 guests, but only for the reception, ceremony will be off-site, or they’d like to do all their own rentals. Whatever the case is, sometimes we can work with them on pricing. And when we can, it’s a magical feeling to know this couple can get married in the perfect venue for them without breaking the bank. However, sometimes we have couples contact us who aren’t local, but are originally from the area, and want to see pricing up front before they come into town for a tour. We get that! And of course we send over our packages. This shows everything that is included in the cost and we make sure to get them the best fitting package for the details they gave us.
Finding the perfect venue doesn’t have to be hard! Take these tips and make notes from venues websites, social media, and local wedding magazines. Reach out to the coordinator and see if there’s any information they can provide via email that you haven’t found before making that tour appointment. Once your tour appointment is scheduled, be prepared with questions and a camera to take pictures that you didn’t see online. Bring a notebook and pen to write down your feelings about the venue, answers to your questions, and what the next step is in booking. We know with these tips, you’ll find that perfect venue in no time, and we encourage you to reach out to our events manager, Kimberly, to set up your tour appointment of the Bykenhulle House for your special wedding day.
Venue: Bykenhulle House
Photographer: White Poppy Weddings
Hair: Sara Julianna Beauty
Makeup: Christina Delfino Makeup
Bride & Groom: Alyse Henry & Mike Maphis
Florist: Maple Field Floral
Forever Florals: Forever Brooch Bouquets
Cake: Jenny Sweet Bakes
Rentals: Durants Party Rentals
Invites & Place Cards: Coppola Creative
Beverage Trailer: Hudson Trailer Company
Dress Shop: Blush Bridal Boutique
Jewelry: Sara Golden Jewelry
Other Rentals: Hudson Valley Vintage Rentals