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brendaman

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Nov 7, 2008
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OK, weird question, but it has nothing to do with FF or anything, but with our wedding venue.

We want the ceremony and reception to be in a hotel for various reasons. One hotel is in Washington, DC and is a beautiful, historical place. The other hotel is in Baltimore, MD and is a more intimate, boutique-like hotel, but the rooms are kind of boring traditional (see pic of hotels' ballrooms below). The DC hotel is, of course, more expensive. FF and I are trying to put a $ on the breaking point whereupon we would choose the more economical hotel. I love, love the DC hotel, so I told him if the price difference between the two venues is $5000, isn't my heart worth that??!

I keep going back and forth between my heart (DC hotel) and my head/wallet (Baltimore). What would you do?


WillardHarborCt2.jpg
 

lilylover

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Joined
Nov 29, 2008
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311
Yes, the DC venue has those extra details and high ceilings, but IMHO it''s not enough to warrant the price difference. The Baltimore venue is really lovely as well, and that one would be my choice, without a doubt!
 

akmiss

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Jan 8, 2008
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I really like both. I only slightly prefer the DC pick but I am not sure that the extra 5k would be worth it. What does you fiance think? Can you afford the extra 5K easily? If so, go with your heart
If not, then go with the Baltimore pick without looking back.
 

meresal

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
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5,720
Wow, that DC hotel is absolutely gorgeous!! IMO opinion, it looks like a $20,000 venue compared to a $5-10k venue. Have you found out what the minimum purchase amount is at each?
 

FrekeChild

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Joined
Dec 14, 2007
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I think it depends on what kind of wedding you''re having. I don''t know that it should be put in terms of what your heart is worth, because that doesn''t really make much sense to me...

I think you should look at your overall budget and make cuts where you are less emotionally invested, and go from there. $5k isn''t exactly a roll of pennies, so I can see your FI''s point, but at the same time...if it''s something you really really REALLY want, and the wedding would be a little bit of a letdown if you didn''t have it there, then that''s something you really need to consider.

Personally I like Baltimore more. But I''m a minimalist and lack traditional tastes, so take that for what it''s worth...
 

Gypsy

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I priced out venues in DC. YIKES. And I don't personally like boring hotel rooms, but the baltimore one has amazing windows. And 5K is a LOT. Like a lot, a lot. How is the food and the rest there? Are all other things equal? If so, Baltimore. And even, honestly, if close, Baltimore. 5K is a lot of money.

And honey. It's not the value of your heart. It's just a room that you are throwing a party in. My venue was SUPER important to me too, and it helped to remind myself of that, maybe it will help you.
 

choro72

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I like the Baltimore picture better so I''m biased. Even if I did like the DC one, I think 5K is waaaay too much of a difference. Have you priced out the difference including bars, food, service, linens, and other things you can get from the venues? Those prices can add really quickly.
 

Octavia

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Brendaman, is the $5K difference just in venue rental fee? Or is it the overall difference in the costs to have the wedding in DC vs. Baltimore, including food, drinks, etc? Remember, too, that florists, DJs/bands, and other vendors might be more expensive in DC, so you might want to price out the whole thing before making a decision. It could end up being a lot more than $5K, or a lot less. So it's hard to say without knowing the bottom line for both.

ETA: cross-post with choro. Obviously, I agree with her
 

AmberGretchen

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Could you talk to the DC hotel and see if they can cut you a deal of some kind on something you''d have to pay for there? With the economy the way it is now, you might be able to swing some kind of deal - its probably worth a shot, at least.
 

honey22

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I will be totally honest here - I would not spend the extra $5k and I wouldn''t use emotional blackmail to get him to agree, it''s not fair. Using the ''if you loved me line'' doesn''t wash with me, sorry. $5k is a lot of money, it''s not like it''s an extra hundred bucks or so.
 

VRBeauty

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Personally, I kinda prefer the Baltimore options, at least from the pictures you've posted. How many guest are you planning on? And aside from the hall rental fees, how do the other costs stack up? How many guests will be coming in from out of town? Baltimore has local "things to do" options for those who have seen and done it all in D.C., while being close enough to the capital for visitors that they could do the D.C. thing if they were so inclined.

A year ago I was in Baltimore for a week on family business (sorta). I had one day to explore by myself, so I went to the antiques row and the local history museum. I had lunch in a grand old hotel, and it soon became obvious that the party that sat down next to me was the beginnings of a wedding party, slowly gathering as family members and friends flew in from out of town. As they were talking about the crab feast they' be having that evening for the wedding rehearsal dinner, it took all my constraint not to beg to be invited.. it just sounded soooo good! Fortunately we found a good crab shack a few days later, en route to Fort McHenry. Ahhhh... I'd love to repeat that part of the trip!

,
 

EricaR

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Agreed with whoever said that $5000 is not the worth of your heart. It is just a room! Is there a way you could slice $5000 off your budget somewhere else? Buy a pre-owned dress, cut down on stationary/invites, keep food simpler. If you are willing to make those cuts then maybe consider the more expensive venue.
 

lliang_chi

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Mar 13, 2008
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3,740
It''s ultimately a decision for you and your FI.

If it were up to me, my rationale is "You''re throwing a party there, not buying the place." But that''s just me.
 

Haven

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You have to decide where your priorities lie as far as how you will allocate your budget. If we know this already I apologize--but what is your total budget? If 5K is 25% of your budget, then I say NO WAY! If it''s 5% of your total budget, that''s a different story.

I would look at this as something that would take money away from other parts of the wedding, rather than something that would inflate your total budget. If you''re okay with skimming some money off of your band or photog or xyz budget, then go for it. If it''s not worth it to do that to you, then there''s your answer.
 

brendaman

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Many thanks to everyone who replied! I guess the consensus is that $5K is too much (which is about 14% of our budget). FI also is torn about this decision. The $5K is the difference between the package deals between the two hotels. Thehotels'' packages include things like hors d''oerves, 3-course plated dinner, cake, champagne toasts, bridal suite, etc. Because of the economy, the DC hotel is lowering the minimum food & beverage from $20K to $15K or less. The Baltmore hotel is kicking in a few more things like display stations during the cocktail hour, Martini bar, and cordial liquor bar, etc. And yes, other vendors may cost less in Baltimore (except maybe the band). I know, I know! Why am I even considering the DC hotel? We''ve always just loved it. But I guess we can always visit it.
 

Deelight

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You can always ask if the more expensive hotel will come down in price and match the other one...never hurts to ask.

Honestly for me if I found 2 venues I like and both were nice I would bank the 5k on something else to make the day wonderful - a good venue is only one small part of making the day fantastic :).
 

sba771

Brilliant_Rock
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Jun 1, 2008
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887
I am no use as I was in your exact same situation. In fact we had even given a deposit to the less expensive place. It was lovely. Then I saw another venue and fell in love! It was a LOT more...at first! You def should negotiate, in this economic climate people are not throwing such lavish weddings so you are in a good spot to be a little pushy. What we did was we walked into my dream venue with our other contract and sat down with them and told them what we wanted and guess what- we signed last week for my dream! They came down a lot in the price. You could also see if the DC hotel would really really reduce rates for your guests as well as throw in free rooms for you and your bridal party. Good places to negotiate (I found) were little things like coat checks, valet parking, even the bar tabs, have them add additional food etc. because those little costs add up real fast.

I am sorry, I am a bad influence, I just know what is like to fall in love with your dream venue and have another on the back burner that is just ''nice'' but a lot more affordable. Try to negotiate, you have nothing to lose and you probably will get your dream!
 

LaraOnline

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My heart is worth the ring OR the nice dress OR the massive party OR the swish venue OR the exciting honeymoon... got to choose one! Only got one heart!

Personally, (and I know this is personal) I think both those venues are pretty fancy...although I wholeheartedly see what you mean about the extra trim of the Washington place... if you did have to 'settle' for Baltimore, perhaps a more careful use of colour, flowers and fabric could help you achieve much of the effect you desire, in any case...

I also might even consider asking them (extremely nicely) if it was possible to move out the sideboard for the occasion ....ooh, is that super-cheeky??

If the venue is the top priority, and other important aspects of the plans have to be compromised to accommodate the extra cost, so be it! If the venue is not the top priority after all, and there are some other considerations for that 5K, so be it!
 

Rhea

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Oct 20, 2007
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6,237
I like the MD one better. It seems more elegant and understated.

Looking back on my wedding, right afterward I was thrilled and loved every detail about our wedding. About six months afterward I had many regrets and wished I''d changed almost everything about the wedding. I started looking at bridal magazines again and bugging DH every month for a vow renewal. At about 18 months after the wedding I was happy again, we were married. Now, three years after, I love looking at photos of lavish weddings, but I''m glad everyday that we didn''t spend the money. We got married. It was unique, pretty, and lovely. Like many things a few years on, it doesn''t matter anymore. It''s done and dusted. I imagine as time goes on it''ll matter even less and less exactly where we got married, but the spent money is gone forever and can take a long time to save again.

Will the differences between the ballrooms matter to you in a couple of years time? How about the price difference?
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
If I was in your position, I''d go with the Baltimore hotel and save the $$. The Baltimore hotel is gorgeous! The DC hotel is more opulent, which is very nice, but I still prefer the other one. That''s just me though.
 

Inanna

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
565
Hi Brenda


If I had to choose between the two of these hotels, I would probably choose Baltimore out of practicality, although I do think the DC Hotel is much nicer looking. Are there any other venues you're considering? I would imagine that with two large cities like Baltimore and D.C. you have tons of options and could find a happy medium between style and cost.

ETA: I think part of what I'm not liking about the Baltimore hotel is the linens, chair covers, and centerpieces - very bland and dated. Obviously your centerpieces will be better. Do you have many options for linens and other decor at the Baltimore hotel?
 

brendaman

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Joined
Nov 7, 2008
Messages
180
Hi Inanna! I would have to spend some money on decor in the Baltimore hotel, as you can see the linens and chairs are dated. Definitely have to spend more money on flowers and other decor to make the room less traditional.

LaraOnline: It''s not cheeky to suggest moving the sideboard. It''s actually someting I thought about. I was even considering draping the walls as all this traditional elements, but FI is traditional. I was planning on bringing in my less traditional personality with the decor, i.e., flowers, linens.
http://www.bridgeportpublishing.com/pdf/willardintercontinental.pdf
I didn''t mention that I was paying for the whole wedding. Both parents aren''t really in a position to help with the wedding cost, and I don''t really want the obligation of inviting their friends. This will be a small, intimate wedding of less than 100 people. We''ve looked at tons of venues and have narrowed it down to the two hotels. FI and I attend all these professional banquets, so our standards are pretty high, but our wallet is not big. I could spend more, but FI and I have agreed on a budget which is above the national average. In addition, FI''s business is not doing too well, but he''s going to help pay for the honeymoon. We could postpone when things are better, but our parents are getting on, so we''ve decided on a wedding in Feb/March 2010. And in any case, FI is not the kind of person who believes in spending so much money on just one day.

I was thinking of moving on and settling on the Baltimore hotel, but as some of you have suggested, perhaps, I may want to negotiate with the DC hotel as I really have nothing to lose. The DC venue is giving us a beautiful suite to prep and then the bridal suite is just out of this world! Even though the DC hotel is expensive, we would never have considered it, but this economy has allowed us to even flirt with the idea as they are including so much withe their package. There is still some hope for my dream venue, but my love for my FI and my practical side will probably lead us to choose the Baltimore venue.
 

doodle

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
1,812
Personally, i like the Baltimore venue significantly more, but that''s just my personal preference. For me, the DC venue has so much going on that it''s distracting. I didn''t even realize there were flowers on the table until the third time I looked at the picture because I was so distracted by the walls and ceiling! The Baltimore venue being a little simpler would give you a lot more room to be creative, so if your taste isn''t so traditional, it would give you more room to experiment. Just thinking aloud at this point, though...
 

tlh

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
4,511
I like the high ceilings and chandeliers in the DC venue...

5k can buy you a pretty nice pair of diamond earrings....
 

CNOS128

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 28, 2008
Messages
2,700
I prefer the Baltimore room (and Baltimore itself, for that matter!) -- especially for a more intimate affair. You can really transform that room into what you want, because it''s so simple. I like simple.
You can even bring in chandeliers or other things to make it look more elegant...
 

NovemberBride

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Joined
Jun 26, 2006
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Brendaman,

I actually got married at the Willard in 2007. I got married in the main ballroom (I believe you are looking at the Crystal Room) but we had a brunch the next day in the Crystal Room and it is beautiful. That picture really doesn''t do it justice. I am probably biased, but having attended many weddings and other events at a number of hotels over the years, nothing has come close to the Willard. It is such an amazing hotel with an amazing location and great service. It''s sounds like they are willing to work with you budget-wise, which is really nice because they don''t usually do that - mainly because they are booked all the time. I will tell you that our wedding was extremely expensive, the end price was way more than what we figured when we looked at the packages because they do almost everything a la carte, meaning everytime you change something, the price changes. I would just be aware of that when you are planning things out and keep a careful watch on your costs if that is an issue. I am happy to answer any questions that you might have, I absolutely loved my wedding.
 

NovemberBride

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Joined
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Messages
962
The other thing I wanted to mention is that it''s not just the rooms that will be different between the two places. The level of service, the attention to detail and the food at the Willard are far above anything I have ever experienced at any other hotel, with the possible exception of a couple of Four Seasons hotels. It is truly a 5-star hotel and you are paying for everything that comes with that.
 

Feralpenchant

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Messages
427
Do you live in Maryland?

Is the Baltimore venue overlooking the harbor? I love the Baltimore harbor. I personally think the scenery and atmosphere is much more conducive in Bmore than DC.

I dunno why, I think DC is so impersonal. And looking at the pictures, I think both venues are beautiful! 5k is a lot these days..
 

amcgookin

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 3, 2008
Messages
123
Hi brendaman... me personally I like the look of the Baltimore hotel better.

Here is the reason why.... The DC room is VERY glitzy and all around just a bit much for what I wouldn imagine an intimate and personal wedding. I prefer simple rooms where I can bring in the decor that I want and that represents me. When you already have large chandeleirs in a room like that there is automatcially a certain vibe to it. For example a person that wanted a very earthy type of wedding with not a lot of glitz and glam would definitely not fit in that room. So that would be up to you to decide what kind of wedding you want. Trust me when I say that when you pick your hotel it can/will in some ways dicitate what level of decor you are going to do. I wish someone had told me this!! This happended to me (which my mom points out all the time)!. I am getting married in two weeks at a very nice hotel in Orange County, CA. Once I got past the signing of the documents and started getting into the decorating phase I realized that if I didn''t do certain things to the room it could have the potential to look undone and not live up to how beautiful the room itself was. This had been good and bad. Let me explain...

You made a comment about the linens and chairs at the DC hotel being better, but I would guess that those were all rented by whomever threw that party pictured. The hotels almost ALWAYS do that. They show you pictures of the rooms all done up so that you love it and sign on the dotted line. Not a bad then until you start asking what stuff they actually have and you realize that in order to get the look of the room you want then you are going to have to rent a lot of stuff. So unless you have already asked the question to the DC hotel more than likely you can add that on to your cost. I did ask these questions so I sort of knew that I would have some additional costs. My hotel had nice, but standard hotels chairs so I could either cover them like the Baltimore hotel pic (at about $4 a chair) or I could rent the Chiavari chairs at a cost of $7 a chair. I chose to rent the Chiavari chairs since I figure there was not way I was using thier chairs so I was already in the hole $4 so what was another $3 for a look that I think is MUCH nicer/fancier.

You can bet the linens were also rented in the DC photo (unless you of course have already asked and they do carry a variety of linen colors). Again our nice hotel only had standard ivory linens soooo since I wouldn''t comprimise on the chairs I am using the ivory table linen and renting some great lime green napkins to give a pop of color at each table. I also had to rent a linen for my table our candy table, the cocktail tables in our lounge area becasue I didn''t want the boring ivory linens. I felt like to live up to how beautiful the room was I didn''t want to have boring decor.

Also the flower arrangements in the DC photo are beautiful but trust me when I say expensive!!! Not only do they have the table arrangements but they also have free standing arrangements around the room. Those are pricey! I wanted to do candleabra arrangements and my florist said expect to spend $250 or more per arrangement. We opted to do an equally beautiful tall table arrangement, but for about $80 - $100 less per table. The ones in the Baltimore photo are low and I am sure way less expensive. Tall arrangments could give that room a totally different look.

Let''s not forget the height of the ceilings either... a tall ceiling can make a room feel a lot more grand and at times less intimate. The DC hotel appears to have a lot higher ceilings than the Baltimiore one. My room also has really tall ceilings. One of the ways to make a room more intimate that has high ceilings is to do more tall table arrangements. Notice all the arrangements in the DC hotel are tall and the ones at the Baltimore one all low. I wanted an intimate feeling at my reception... in order to do that I had to order more tall arrangements to "take up" some of the space so to say. I did order low ones as well, but not as many. The tall ones were double the cost of the low arrangements. Just something to think about when making your decision

So my point is as far as the decor goes don''t be fooled by how nice the DC rooms looks because I would guess that all of the elements that you are seeing that really pull the room together (to compliment the ornate walls, ceiling & chandliers) were most likely extras. Now this is fine if you have the budget to do all the added decor, but if you don''t then you might not be fully happy with how the room turns out in the end. The Baltimre room is more understated and you could pull a bunch of different looks together to make it look fabulous. You would be amazed what Chiavari chairs some nice lienes and tall and low centepieces could do to a room.

Based on my own personal planning experience... choose wisely and don''t think it is only about the cost of the "food". It could potentially cost you more in other ways as I have found out!

Now I was only talking about the decor elements... as far as food & service goes that is totally a personal choice. If food and service is really high on your wants list then it might be worth it to pay to have a food tasting BEFORE you make your choice. My hotel has both amazing food and service and I knew that going in. BUT I will say that I comprimised because I wanted the fancier hotel, but wasn''t comfortable with the price tag.... we chhose to have our wedding on a Sunday morning with a lunch afterwards because we could still have the nice hotel, but a much more afforable cost. It is still going to be really nice and pretty fancy, but simply due to the time of day & how I am doing my decor it is going to be much more relaxed and intimate that what we could have done during the evening. I did end up blowing our budget, but I got my extras and the nice hotel... my dream wedding :)

I never write this much detail, but I really wanted you to be aware of other potential costs beyond just picking a room... I didn''t necessarily get that advice and it would have been nice! If I was you and I was ok with the food at the Baltimore hotel I would pick that one becuase I would be able to do all the extra design elements that for me were very important!

No matter what I am sure your wedding will be beautiful at either location! Good luck and I am happy to answer any other questions you might have!
 
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