All Aboard All-Inclusive!

When I began my seemingly endless search for venues, there was one phrase that made my nose turn up and brought a bitter taste to my mouth. What was the dreaded phrase, you ask?

Personal image

I was with filled a desire to hand-make table decor and dig through flea-market booths. I was looking forward to contacting every vendor who would talk to me and finding people that would make our wedding truly unique, truly ours. At the beginning, I thought the phrase “all-inclusive” was going to eliminate all of this.

Personal photo by Sister K / Our home away from home: The Nashville Flea Market!

Now, let me skip to the end of the story and tell you that we have booked an all-inclusive venue and I could not be happier!

So, what happened in between? How did I transform from a bride who immediately closed the tab on my browser if a venue’s website included the words “all-inclusive” to a bride who basks in the wonder of having everything in one place?

Well, it’s quite simple really: I learned that I was wrong. The preconceived notions I had about all-inclusive packages differed vastly from reality. So, let me share with you some of the realities I have discovered regarding all-inclusive weddings:

Reality #1)
All-inclusive does not mean a cookie-cutter wedding.

Image via Amazon / Wedding cookie cutter set by Fox Run

I assumed if flowers were included I would have to select red roses and nothing else. As it turns out, the venue we chose has a full flower shop with just as many options as if we were to select an outside florist! The opportunity to customize is available for many other aspects of the wedding, too, making it super easy for us to have OUR wedding, and not the venue’s wedding.

Reality #2) All-inclusive does not necessarily mean ALL-inclusive.

When I heard about all of the things that were included in our venue (flowers, catering, cake, ceremony music, etc.), it seemed like everything was there! Then, I realized I would still need to find a photographer…and a DJ…and an officiant…and someone to do my hair…and bridesmaids’ dresses…and, well, you get the idea! My to-do list still contains plenty of items to keep me busy.


Image via Night Owl Paper Goods

Reality #3) There will be plenty of choices!

I quickly discovered that wedding planning is full of choices. It’s also full of love, happiness, stress, and excitement…but mostly it’s full of choices! From big ones like the venue, to complicated ones like finalizing the guest list, to ones you never think of until you are a bride-to-be, like which stamp to use on the save the dates. Once I realized this, it seemed silly that I was ever concerned about not having enough choices.

Reality #4) All-inclusive DOES include less stress on your wedding day.

Personal photo / Echo demonstrating the joys of a stress-free evening

OK, I haven’t gotten married yet so I can’t personally attest to this—BUT I am anticipating how nice it will be to not have to worry about telling the caterer where to set up, or making sure the florist gets there on time.

The moral of the story is that once I learned to keep an open mind and ask lots of questions, I found that the phrase that once made me shudder was in fact the key to the wedding of my dreams!

Are you using an all-inclusive venue?

Were any of your preconceived notions proven wrong?


Mrs. Dalmatian

Nashville, TN
Wedding Date:
May 2012
Walking on Sunshine: We Arrive in Vancouver
Dress Not-Shopping
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    April, Guest @ 4:04 pm

    My venue is all-inclusive too! I had the same concerns you did, but MAN – is it awesome when FH and I sit around and look at each other like “We should be stressed and doing stuff, but… we don’t have anything to do.”

    We’re 7 months away still and our list is pretty much done. It’s AWESOME.

  2. Member
    BRbee 246 posts, Helper bee @ 5:23 pm

    I was married 9/17/11 and our venue was all-inclusive. It included all decor/linens, cakes, DJ, and catering. I was quite the lazy bride, so this was a godsend. I ended up using the florist the owner/coordinator uses, so that was super easy too. The venue owner is an interior designer/event cooridinator, so I just gave her a color scheme and she decked the place out. It was great!

  3. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:50 pm

    Like you, I was against all inclusive…and I have no idea why, they make it so easy and so much less stressful in the end. Great choice!

  4. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:48 pm

    I wish our venue was all-inclusive. Sadly, we have to pay for everything individually.

  5. parasol Member
    parasol 2955 posts, Sugar bee @ 11:09 am

    I was exactly like you, Ms. D–totally hated seeing the phrase “all-inclusive!” Unlike you, though, I never got over it, but I get why this option helps so many brides and grooms while still allowing them to very much personalize their special day. We definitely had a lot more work cut out for us figuring out each individual piece (catering, table rental, chairs, etc.).

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