Updated: Apr 8, 2020
When searching for a venue, a few very basic questions and answers can help you decide which one is for you, and perhaps more importantly, your budget!
*Pictured Above, 250 Long Pond, a stunning 120 acre property in Great Barrington, MA.
Does the venue have an onsite commercial kitchen?
Some venues offer fully equipped kitchens which will save on the rentals needed to build out a proper cook tent. With that said, most off-premise venues provide a dedicated space for a cook tent setup. Some bring an indoor kitchen space, saving on the tent (minimal cost) yet no equipment. Other private properties, homes, and unique spaces require careful planning, additional power sources and a full kitchen build out. It is important to discuss this with your planner, coordinator or caterer to determine a budget for kitchen rentals.
A bit about us: HAND CRAFTED produces a restaurant quality experience, executing each morsel fresh onsite. We are ingredient - driven, treating each component with the utmost care. We do not use pre-made offerings, frozen ingredients, hot boxes, heat lamps, warming schaffers and sternos, all of which can contribute to a sub par meal.
Q: Can you (the caterer) use the kitchen of the home?
A: In short, no. The space may be useable given the rules in place, however extra equipment such as ovens and power may still be needed. Often the layout and square footage of an existing space can also pose challenges for the kitchen staff.
Quick Tip: The menu and style of service (plated, family style or buffet) has the greatest impact on your catering budget.
Does the venue have on site parking?
Some venues like Crested Hen Farms, the original barn venue in the Hudson Valley, have a dedicated parking lot and valet service. However, you may still want to consider shuttles for the majority of your guests. Many other venues, especially those that are private properties will require strict use of shuttles due to lack of space for parking. Shuttles also allow your guests to enjoy themselves fully without worrying about having to drive at the end of your event.
Quick Tips: Do not assume a large property can accommodate parking, even if it looks like it can. Remember that a multitude of vendors will need parking and shuttle companies may have specific requirements and restrictions.
Does the venue provide rentals?
Some venues bring fully equipped packages from top to bottom, however many great venues such as Cottage In The Pines, offer partial setups. Others simply the offer raw space and nothing else, allowing you to completely customize the aesthetic of your reception. Rentals have a tremendous range in both style and pricing, and they take a fair amount of work to coordinate. Make sure to secure a caterer and/or planner that can help you navigate all the options!
Quick Tip: Create a separate budget for rentals and keep in mind they are not limited to table settings and glassware given the venue. Rentals can include bathrooms, bars, lounge furniture, lighting, AV equipment, and power!
Does the venue provide the bar?
Different venues have different options and rules around alcohol service. Some venues provide in house bar packages for your convenience. Others, like The Mezzanine + The Atrium in NYC and Brooklyn by BOND COLLECTIVE, allow outside purveyors to supply the alcohol and liability insurance.
Q: Can we provide our own alcohol?
A: This depends on the venues rules in conjunction with the liquor authorities guidelines. If allowed by the venue, HAND CRAFTED is happy to work with liquor provided. However, this choice is not without potential pain points. You may not want to plan, purchase, deliver and allocate, especially given multiple bar setups.
Quick Tip: Providing your own alcohol? Think simple, soft bars (beer wine and a specialty cocktail) and make sure to coordinate well in advance with your caterer so that the bartenders will be prepared. Additionally we recommend that you go with a garnish package to avoid dealing with ice the day of your event. HAND CRAFTED provides all of the ICE, bar equipment and garnishes starting at $10 per person.