Full-Service Venues Make Wedding Planning Easy (And Help You Save Money!)

Have you ever set out to plan a vacation on a budget and thought, “It will be way cheaper if we camp then to stay in a hotel” only to discover that in the end, you don’t end up saving much, and it’s way more work? Maybe you have set out to do a project you’ve never done before thinking, “I got this!” only to discover that it’s way more complicated than it looks.

The good news is you’re not alone, and we’re here to make sure it doesn’t happen when planning your wedding!

The biggest pitfall couples face in the wedding planning process is the temptation to try and save money by booking a bare-bones or budget venue. Spoiler alert —  most actually end up spending more + it makes the wedding more work!

Essential Info: What You Need to Know About Venue Pricing  

You’ll spend a substantial portion of the wedding budget on venue and equipment rentals, so naturally, it’s an area where couples look to cut costs.  What most people don’t realize is that opting for a cheap venue may result in a higher cost wedding overall.  How? Let’s unpack that a little bit and I’ll give you keys to understanding venue pricing so you can make a savvy choice for your spending plan!

Every venue presents price quotes differently, so the key to knowing whether or not you’re actually saving money is asking “What’s included?”  Broadly speaking, venue pricing will work in one of two ways.

Event Space Rental: Many venues charge a site rental fee to rent the spaces for your ceremony and reception with little or nothing else included. A bare-bones venue will offer an attractive price tag, but that doesn’t mean you’ll save on the wedding.  Think of everything you’ll need to host the celebration from mics and speakers so your guests can hear the vows; to tables, chairs, silverware, etc.. for dinner and staff to serve the meal.  Consider who’s going to break down the tables, launder the linens, and take out the trash after the party is over?

If you book a bare-bones venue or opt for a backyard, you’ll be responsible for renting all the equipment and contracting the services needed to bring your wedding to life, from start to finish — it’s a big DIY undertaking and the costs add up quickly.  Here’s a sample invoice based on rates from local rental companies for a wedding with 100 guests.

Standard Wedding Equipment (and what it costs to rent)
Ceremony: Ceremony backdrop $165
Wood folding chairs $350
Sound equipment (Mics + Speakers) $500
Reception: Tables $335.00
Chiavari chairs $650
Woodgrain dancefloor $648
Reception lighting $1,050
Tablecloths $390
Cloth napkins $90
Silverware $200
Serving utensils $27
Beverage dispensers $88
Glassware $261.75
Serving trays $24
Total Rental Cost: $4,778.75
* Does not include delivery, setup or service charges
And, this doesn’t include the site fee for your venue rental,  standard delivery and setup fees for equipment, or your FOOD!.  It’s solely the stuff you need to host the party.

Just as important as cost, is how you are going to feel on your wedding day and how you want your loved ones to feel. A frequent lament from brides (and moms) who have DIY’d their wedding with a bare-bones venue: “I had no idea what I was getting into, or how much work was really involved”.

Full-Service Venue: A full-service venue will take care of your equipment and other wedding essentials in addition to the ceremony and reception sites. At Abernethy Center, we include all of the equipment you’ll need (everything in the table above plus more), pre-planning assistance, onsite catering, and staff to run the big day.  Everything is presented in one upfront price quote so you start out with a good idea of your overall wedding cost.  At first glance, the sticker price may seem higher than a venue with fewer inclusions but once you account for what’s being provided, it can allow you to have a cheaper wedding overall.

Included in All Abernethy Venue Packages
Ceremony: Ceremony SIte (Chapel, Veiled Garden or Abigail’s Garden)
Fully appointed getting ready suits with room service for the wedding party
Ceremony Manager
Ceremony backdrop
Sound Equipment (Mics + Speakers) + AV tech
Setup of standard ceremony equipment
Reception Reception Site (Ballroom or Garden Tent)
White wood folding chairs
Chiavari Chairs
Marble or Woodgrain dancefloor (depending on venue)
Romantic mood lighting
Cloth napkins
Silverware + Serving utensils
Glassware & Beverage dispensers
Experience Event Manager
Event Staff
Bar Services + Bartenders
Onsite Catering
Setup & cleanup of standard reception equipment
To-Go Bag for the Bride and Groom with all the food served at your wedding, because we know most couples don’t end up eating much at the reception.


At Abernethy, being a full-service venue means partnering with you on every aspect of the big day. Your Event Specialist will guide you through the planning process for the Abernethy event team to execute on your wedding day.  You’ll arrive at the venue with tables and chairs arranged perfectly, room service waiting in your air-conditioned “Getting Ready” suites, and an entire staff to execute the event, including a delicious meal prepared on-site for your reception. After the celebration is over we break everything down and clean-up, so you, your friends, and family get to enjoy the wedding day without having to produce it!

Key Takeaway for a Savvy Venue Choice 

Booking a venue is the first big step most couples take along the wedding planning journey, and it sets the tone for everything else. If you’re trying to save money on the wedding venue make sure you’re comparing costs accurately and know what’s included with each option. As a general rule, more provided by the site means fewer outside vendors to coordinate, fewer bills and delivery fees, and usually less money spent.

Abernethy Center is truly one of a kind! A full-service wedding and reception venue just on the outskirts of Portland in the heart of historical Oregon City.

We have two distinct gardens, a gorgeous chapel and a classic, elegant Grand ballroom spread out over a 9 acre property. With nearly twenty years in business, an expert culinary team, and a tremendous staff experienced in providing exceptional service, we have everything for the perfect, uniquely yours Oregon wedding.

Abigail’s Garden —– Veiled Garden—–Abernethy Chapel—–Grand Ballroom