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. Member
    latebloomer 41 posts, Newbee @ 8:18 am

    I had your same apprehension and wanted to chose all my vendors, do all the communicating, plan the whole dang thing so that it was uniquely MY wedding….

    Well now that I’m FOUR days out and struggling to keep track of my vendors and fielding phone calls and planning table setups and writing my day-of schedule and hoping the bakery knows where to drop the cake off……lets just say “all-inclusive” sounds pretty good to me right now:)

    I definitely think you will be able to customize to your heart’s content while minimizing the stress factor of coordinating vendors!!!!

  2. biscuit Member
    biscuit 627 posts, Busy bee @ 8:20 am

    All inclusive was amazing. Our venue provided food, alcohol, cake (well, I had to order it–but the price included the cake), they set up everything, we had a maitre d for the evening who put our presents and cards in our hotel room. I really can’t say enough about all inclusive. I had absolutely no stress because I knew someone else was taking care of everything.

  3. warbler Member
    warbler 249 posts, Helper bee @ 8:29 am

    To be honest, the phrase “all inclusive” was a relief to me. Like you mentioned, your to-do list is already full so it’s just a few less things you have to worry about. As long as there are choice, of course :)

  4. Member
    julis120 190 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:30 am

    I agree! Our place includes about half of everything, and it’s SO nice to know the food/linens/tables/chairs/bar/etc. is all taken care of. It’s so much less for me to worry about! You go girl! :)

  5. Member
    blueroses 195 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:14 am

    The beginning of your post cracked me up!! I specifically looked for an all-inclusive. Two months away from the wedding and I couldn’t be happier that my day of coordinator at the venue deals with the catering/bar/bakery/flower vendors. Even so, you are SO right when you said there are still a lot of decisions to make.
    My venue luckily allows for a lot of customization, but even without that, I had no doubt we’d be able to make our wedding unique regardless of the “all-inclusive label.”
    Great post!

  6. Member
    silversixpence 78 posts, Worker bee @ 10:21 am

    The other great thing about all-inclusive is that the people who are lighting, decorating, catering etc at your venue KNOW your venue. So fewer unwelcome surprises

  7. ladyfingers Member
    ladyfingers 1257 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:37 am

    I love love LOVE our venue and every single one of our vendors. But. I really wish we’d gone all-inclusive. For some reason, seeing the BIG FIGURE on all-inclusive venues freaked the balls out of me. But it would have ended up being cheaper in the long run, than a-la-carting each and every vendor. If you can find an AI venue that matches your style, I say go for it.

  8. Member
    SunnySquirrel 519 posts, Busy bee @ 10:52 am

    Our venue is all-inclusive as well. It includes the ceremony, reception, cake, catering, bar, coordination, staff, linens, etc. My mom and I decided to do the flowers. Now all we have to do is find a photographer, videographer, DJ, and work on the little details. I have not been stressed yet in the process! So nice.

  9. msfox Member
    msfox 1635 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:06 am

    We’re using a semi all-inclusive place – lots of things are put into the venue and the cost but you still have decent options and room for picking specific vendors. I actually kind of like it, because it cuts down on some of the crazy searches and millions of options!

  10. Member
    Jamiezilla 436 posts, Helper bee @ 11:30 am

    To be honest, I’m a little afraid of working with a venue that’s not all-inclusive. Sure you might get some run of the mill cake (not just talking design but flavor as well) or generic linens but the biggest relief is not having to seamlessly coordinate that many vendors. I’m frightened of just having to get the DJ, photog, hair/makeup get there on time and do a good job. I can’t imagine having to contact the bakery, the florist for centerpieces, the bar, the staff, etc., too! I echo your thoughts liking the ability to customize despite their parameters.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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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