Monday, January 30, 2012
(This may apply to other cities and states, but we are familiar with how things work in the South & Southwest Suburbs of Chicago).
These are in no particular order…
- Figure out your budget.
You can check out all of the reception halls on the Southside of Chicago that you want, but without having a number you want to spend in mind, it will be hard for you to find a place that will realistically fit your needs for your wedding.
- Get your guest list together.
I know this is never your final list, but putting pen to paper will help you! I recommend having an “A” “B” & “C” list.
A: Close family and best friends
B: Distant family and friends
C: People you want to invite if you can afford it that didn’t make it on the “A” or “B” list. It is also people you “have to” invite if you can afford it.
Having the list in this layout helped me organize everything, so I knew if I invited one 3rd cousin, I invited them all. Your guest list goes hand-in-hand with budget. Many Chicagoland reception halls have a room minimum (number of guests you need to guarantee). The banquet coordinators cannot show you a banquet room to fit your approximate number of guests if you don’t have a general idea yourself. A general idea is ok! The common rule of thumb is 15-20% of your guests cannot make it to your wedding. Example: Inviting 250 people, you can expect 200-210. There is always an exception to every rule, but this will help you plan & budget. If you have a year or more of planning, expect your list to grow. Whether you move, get a new job, new people start at your job, there are always a few people to add later throughout planning.
Funny story about me with my wedding plans… When I sat down with my parents to make the guest list with our side of the family, everyone was putting their two cents in about the guest list. My dad kept eliminating his friends off of the list. It didn’t matter to me if he wanted to invite them or not. Months later, when we were addressing the invites, he told me to add all the people back on since he told them all about my wedding. Luckily I bought plenty of invitations incase something like this was going to happen. My point is that lists change and grow throughout the planning. Don’t worry about it. It happens to all of us.
- Do your research!
Check out Chicago, IL bridal magazines and websites for local banquet halls. Remember pictures can be deceiving. Some pictures for local Chicagoland reception venues were taken 10-20 years ago, and those places still have not been updated and no longer look as nice as that advertising picture. DiNolfo’s Banquets in Mokena has been newly remodeled. We always update our pictures at least once a month, if not more, on our Facebook page for customers to see the most current look. Besides the look, you can e-mail/call wedding reception venues that you are interested in. It does not hurt you to get a price quote; it only benefits you for when your feet hit the pavement for your banquet hall search. Remember to ask about “extra fees” (room rental, gratuity, tax, cake cutting, etc). DiNolfo’s Banquets in Mokena is always upfront about any and all costs. Also, read reviews from real bride and grooms in the Chicago area. Wedding Wire & The Knot are a great place to start.
- Are you flexible?
Some reception halls may surprise you. Ask about discounts for Friday, Sunday, afternoons, or off season months. If you have an open mind on a wedding date, you can find some amazing prices. I (MC) had my wedding on a Friday in April to save money. I (MZ) had my wedding on a Saturday in January. We both ideally wanted the summer or fall, but our budget dictated that we adjust our priorities. For us, the date change was ok & we could get more of what we wanted for our special day.
- What is important to you & your fiancé?
Ambiance, low cost, great food, exceptional service, etc…
As a couple, you need to discuss what your dream is when it comes to your reception. Our facility in Mokena, IL is a full service venue to help you create the most cherished and memorable day of your new lives together. DiNolfo’s weddings are customized to your imagination.
Remember throughout your whole wedding planning process you will have a lot of people telling you their thoughts on your wedding, but it is your day to celebrate your love. You should both have what you want!
All of these above points are to help you on the next part, the harder part: finding your perfect space for your wedding reception. Our next blog will be just that.
For more information about DiNolfo's Banquets in Mokena, please visit www.dinolfosbanquets.com.