Yes, we all know what BYOB and BBQ stand for. But what about CBA? Or WCB?? Scroll down for the scoop on these wedding-related acronyms.
Why You'll Love This Place
We evaluate every wedding venue on the Here Comes The Guide website. (Yes, we actually turn down locations that don't satisfy our requirements.) When you see descriptive text about a wedding venue, it was written by us, not by some marketing department somewhere.
Prices: What's this going to cost?
First off, we have to recommend that you read our Wedding Budget: Venue Fees and Other Costs article!
You'll find that venues have a few different ways of setting prices. Some have a la carte venue rental fees, while some include venue fees in a package price—and some waive the rental fees if you spend a certain amount on your food and beverages. We've broken down prices wherever we can into Rental Fees, Ceremony Fees, and Package Prices. If there is a Food & Beverage Minimum that you must meet, we note that, too. We also note if a venue has a set Service Charge or Gratuity percentage.
We’ve tried to make the information regarding costs as accurate as possible. However, keep in mind that we can’t list the fees for all of the services a venue offers. Also, while packages tend to be more inclusive, they may not cover the full cost of your event—especially when you add in extras like appetizers or rentals. It’s important to find out as soon as possible exactly what is—and isn’t—included with any service or package you’re considering in order to accurately assess how your venue choice will impact your budget.
It’s a good idea to confirm pricing with the facility you’re calling. If you’re planning far in advance, anticipate price increases by the time you contract with a venue. Once you’re definite about your location, you should lock in your fees in a contract, protecting yourself from possible rate increases later. Make sure you ask about every service provided and are clear about all of the extras that can really add up. Facilities may charge you for tables, chairs, linens, plateware and silverware, glassware, and additional hours.
Don’t be surprised to see tax and service charges in fixed amounts applied to the total bill if the facility provides restaurant or catering services. Although it may seem redundant whenever we include the phrase “tax, alcohol and service charge are additional”, we find that most of us forget (or just don’t want to accept the painful reality) that 23–33% will be applied to the food & beverage total.
Sometimes a deposit is nonrefundable—a fact you’ll definitely want to know if the deposit is a large percentage of the total bill. And even if it’s refundable, you still need to read the cancellation policy thoroughly. Make sure you understand the policies that will ensure you get your cleaning and security deposit returned in full and, again, get everything in writing.
You'll have to ask questions about what's included in the fees. Sometimes a low rental fee isn't the good deal that it seems. It’s possible to get charged separately for all the extras: tables, chairs, linens, dance floor, cake cutting, valet service and so forth. You can also end up paying more than you expected for security and cleanup. All these additional charges can really add up, so save yourself a big headache by understanding exactly what’s included in the rental fee and what’s not before you sign any contract.
- Ceremony: Standing and seated capacities are included for ceremonies since these numbers may be totally different from the corresponding numbers for receptions.
- Cocktails, etc. Many facilities include a specific area, often called a pre-function space, for cocktails. Generally these spaces include minimal seating if any.
- Reception: Seated or sit-down capacity refers to guests seated at tables. Standing capacity refers to a function where the majority of guests are not seated, such as a champagne/hors d'oeuvres reception.
- Meetings: In general, the seated capacity for meetings is listed as a range or a maximum. Sometimes, specific spaces are named along with their individual capacities. Occasionally, seating configurations are also provided: theater-style (auditorium row seating with chairs arranged closely together), classroom-style (an organized table-and-chair arrangement, usually in rows) and conference-style (seating around tables).
- Ceremony: Most venues permit a ceremony somewhere on the property, but there are a few here that do not.
- Outdoor Ceremony: Spaces which are outdoors; may or may not have some covering.
- Outdoor Reception: Some outdoor venues have tents available for rent or will allow you to bring a tent. Check with the venue, of course!
- All Inclusive: This can vary depending on the type of venue, so we don't have a list of what a venue must include to be considered all-inclusive, but these are venues which offer 'extras' in their wedding packages that go above and beyond the basics and take care of most of the basics for you.
- Small Wedding: This is subjective, but we include venues which have spaces appropriate for 50 or fewer guests.
- Elopement Packages: We know that definitions of elopement differ. We include this designation if a venue had told us that they offer a package geared toward elopement, whether the venue defines that as just the couple or an intimate gathering.
- On-Site Accommodations: These may range from a suite for the couple to a full hotel with room blocks for guests. We also include venues which permit camping on-site.
- Rehearsal Dinner: Any venue which welcomes a rehearsal dinner group. These range from a table at a restaurant (perhaps a very long table), a private dining room in a restaurant, to a space that permits you to bring in your own catering for a rehearsal dinner.
- Special Events / Parties: Non-wedding events and parties such as quinceañeras, anniversary or birthday parties, holiday parties,
- Business Functions / Meetings
- Late Night: Venues that allow events to continue after 10pm.
- Wedding Receptions: Wondering why we include this? It's true that most of the venues here permit wedding receptions somewhere on the property, but a few venues only allow wedding ceremonies.
- LGBTQ+ Friendly: We've asked venues to let us know if they are LGBTQ+ Friendly. If you don't see this notation, it likely means that we haven't heard from the venue if they want this designation.
Essential Info Key
We understand that this is highly subjective and varies regionally, but to give you a rough idea, we indicate three levels: $ (affordable), $$ (moderate), and $$$ (luxury).
- in-house: the venue provides catering (for a fee)
- preferred list: select a caterer from the facility's approved list
- BYO: arrange for your own caterer. Some venues require approval of outside catering. In some areas, an outside caterer must be licensed
- in-house: the facility provides alcoholic beverages (for a fee)
- BYO: you can bring your own alcohol. In some cases, the server of alcohol must be licensed. Be sure to ask!
- BYO with corkage fee: if you bring your own alcohol, the facility charges a fee per bottle to remove the cork and pour
- not allowed: See Non-Alcoholic Wedding Bar Ideas for inspiration
- indoors: amplified music allowed inside
- outdoors: amplified music allowed outside
- some restrictions: amplified music is allowed, but there are limits on volume, hours of play, type of instruments, etc.
- acoustic only: almost every facility allows acoustic music unless stated otherwise
Be sure to inquire about restrooms.
- wheelchair accessible: the facility is accessible
- access limited: the facility is accessible but with difficulty (there may be a step at the entrance, for example, but all of the rooms are accessible)
- not wheelchair accessible: the facility is not accessible
Some venues are available 7am to 2am; others offer very limited "windows".
If you'd like to save some money, consider a weekday or weeknight reception, or think about having your event in the off-season (often November, or January through March, but varies depending on the region). Even the most sought-after places have openings midweek and during non-peak months—and at reduced costs.
Buildings, other structures, and natural settings available at this venue.
What can you see from the property? Of course, views might only be visible from certain parts of the venue.
Services/Amenities Key (For Some California Venues Only)
- in-house: the facility provides catering (for a fee)
- in-house, no BYO: the facility provides catering; you cannot bring in your own
- preferred list: you must select your caterer from the facility's approved list
- in-house or BYO: the facility will provide catering or you can select an outside caterer of your own
- BYO, licensed: arrange for your own licensed caterer
- ample or fully equipped: large and well-equipped with major appliances
- moderate: medium-sized and utilitarian
- minimal: small with limited equipment; may not have all the basic appliances
- setup or prep only: room for setup and food prep, but not enough space or utilities to cook food
- n/a: not applicable because facility provides catering or doesn't allow food
Tables & Chairs
- some provided or provided: facility provides some or all of the tables and chairs
- BYO: make arrangements to bring your own
Linens, Silver, etc.
- same as above
- wheelchair accessible or
- not wheelchair accessible
- yes: an area for dancing (hardwood floor, cement terrace, patio) is available
- CBA, extra charge: a dance floor can be brought in for a fee
- yes: there is an area for changing
- no: there's no area for changing
- limited: smaller space, not fully equipped as changing room
- CBA: can be arranged
- full range: facility has a full range of audiovisual equipment, including projectors, overhead screens, etc.
- no: no equipment is available
- BYO: bring your own equipment
- CBA: equipment can be arranged
- CBA, extra fee: equipment can be arranged for an extra fee
- CBA: can be arranged other descriptions are self explanatory
If overnight accommodations are available on site, the number of guest rooms is listed.
- CBA: the facility will arrange accommodations for you
Outdoor Night Lighting
- yes: there is adequate light to conduct your event outdoors after dark
- access only or limited: lighting is sufficient for access only
Outdoor Cooking Facilities
- BBQ: the facility has a barbecue on the premises
- BBQ, CBA: a barbecue can be arranged through the facility
- BYO BBQ: make arrangements for your own barbecue
- n/a: not applicable
- provided: facility takes care of cleanup
- caterer: your caterer is responsible
- caterer or renter: both you and/or your caterer are responsible for cleanup
We've described what type of view is available for each facility.
- no: the facility has no views to speak of
Description of any service or amenity that is not included in above list.
Restrictions Key (For Some California Venues Only)
- in-house, no BYO: the facility provides alcoholic beverages (for a fee) and does not permit you to bring your own
- BYO: you can bring your own alcohol
- corkage, $/bottle: if you bring your own alcohol, the facility charges a fee per bottle to remove the cork and pour
- WCB only: (or any combination of these three letters) only wine, champagne and beer are permitted
- licensed server: the server of alcohol must be licensed
- allowed: smoking is permitted throughout the facility
- outside only: smoking is not permitted inside the facility
- not allowed: smoking is not permitted anywhere on the premises
- designated areas: specific areas for smoking have been designated
Almost every facility allows acoustic music unless stated otherwise. Essentially, restrictions refer to amplified music.
- amplified OK: amplified music is acceptable without restriction
- outside only: no amplified music allowed inside
- inside only: no amplified music permitted outside
- amplified OK with limits or restrictions: amplified music is allowed, but there are limits on volume, hours of play, type of instruments, etc.
Accessibility is based on whether the event areas (not necessarily the restrooms) of a facility are wheelchair accessible or not.
- yes: the facility is accessible
- limited: the facility is accessible but with difficulty (there may be a step at the entrance, for example, but all of the rooms are accessible)
- no: the facility is not accessible
Many facilities require that you purchase and show proof of some insurance coverage. The type and amount of insurance varies with the facility, and some facilities offer insurance for a minimal charge.
- liability required, certificate required or proof of insurance required: additional insurance is required
- not required: no additional insurance is required
- may be required: sometimes additional insurance is required
It's Your Wedding. Ask!
We recommend that you ask lots of questions! Start with our basic set of Questions to Ask A Wedding Venue.
Hmmmm....could that be a mistake?
We do our best to be accurate, but of course, things change—and we aren't always the first to know, so be sure you check each place and service thoroughly and ask lots of questions.
If you find an error, please let us know! Much appreciated! firstname.lastname@example.org