Packages or Independent…
There are many ways to organise your wedding, but if you want to make a bit of a splash and entertain your family and friends in a traditional way there seem to be two main ways to do it.
- Go to a hotel or wedding venue and buy one of their packages.
- Go down the independent route where you can do your own thing and there are no packages of any kind.
Both have their advantages, but here we summarise each aspect of a wedding and the differences (as we see them) between ‘packages’ and ‘independence’:
A. The food
This is a BIG factor. Most package weddings include set menus where you have to use their in-house staff or caterer. This can severely limit your choice and you will almost certainly have to choose your menu from a pre-set list. This means there is little of your personality and no opportunity to add favourite dishes or ingredients.
Most independent wedding venues and weddings in marquees, village halls etc. allow you to choose your own caterer, and if you get the right one (such as Kemp & Kemp Catering), you’ll be able to eat ANYTHING you like. All your fave foods, your character, ethnicity, background – all perfectly reflected in the menu.
B. Getting in and out
Hotels and wedding venues are often set up a bit like ‘wedding factories’ – with a bride per day and sometimes there are several weddings going on at the same time with the risk (managed you hope by the venue) of meeting the other bride!There is usually little time before or afterwards to decorate the main room (and your tables) the way you want it/them, or strike down afterwards. There can be the feeling of being a bit rushed and having to ‘take your turn’.
With an independent venue, there are no such time/people pressures. You often get the site from at least a full day before and often for two days afterwards to set up and strike down, and the site is uniquely yours.
Hotels (for sure) and wedding venues (almost always) make a decent profit from selling alcohol. Some allow you to bring your own, but to guard the profits they would have made, they then charge you corkage. This can make your cases of cheap (but amazing) French wine lovingly imported in a van last summer as expensive as going to a top wine merchant (£15 per bottle on top of the price you paid), and there is something rather distasteful in having to pay some-one to open your own wine.Independent venues and especially caterers like Kemp & Kemp, simply don’t make such charges (although they’ll pour it for you), meaning HUGE savings on your drinks bill – and the strong likelihood of a very wild party indeed.
For strong-willed people used to having control in their lives and not wanting to be told where and when they can do things, you will not take kindly to having hotel rules imposed upon you and your guests.
At an independent venue, esp a marquee you make the rules!… We especially like Dance floor rules.
There is no doubt that hiring a top-notch marquee, miles from power and water, hiring in furniture, a fridge trailer, a bar etc. will incur you in some pretty substantial costs, compared with a hotel where it’s all there, laid on and
The hotel and package certainly wins through on this aspect. You should not under-estimate the degree of coordination and organisation that you will have to exhibit from early on when you ‘go it alone’. Most people have never organised anything like a wedding before, and it can be daunting. Of course there are lots of tools and resources out there to assist you, but if you choose a caterer with a strong project management ethos (Kemp & Kemp for example), they will work with you to make at least 80% of the day as flawless as you would hope.
Sounds good – how do I make an independent wedding happen?
For nearly 10 years now, independent caterers Kemp & Kemp Catering have been running this website. They have built up a network of over 70 independent venues from barns to Village Halls, to caves, to castles. Each has the flexibility referred to above. You’ll also find resources you might need, like marquees, fridge trailers, bar hire – in fact everything you could wish for apart from the Church and the dress!There is only one caterer on this website, but who else could you possibly consider for your wedding catering – other than Kemp & Kemp Catering – winner of the Title ‘Wedding Caterer of the Year’ for the West Midlands for 5 years running.
But don’t take our word for this.. read our testimonials and see what a host of independently- minded brides and grooms have to say about us… be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons!