Wedding venues in Michigan (Detroit area) that allow outside caterers and outdoor ceremony

Hello!  My fiance and I (due to finances) are planning on having a a late ceremony (think under the stars or sunset) and then having an open bar and appetizers only (and a cake).  We went to 2 venues and they just didn't seem to be appreciative of that idea lol  Everything seems to be grouped in a package and that's just not what we can afford right now.  I love the idea of having an intimate ceremony under the stars or at sunset.  We have a large family and many friends that we couldn't imagine not inviting and so this was the idea we came up with.  

Anyways, back to the point I was trying to make, I'm thinking having a venue that allows an outside caterer might be a good option for us.  I feel like a caterer would be more willing to work with us on our ideas.  Or if there's any advice for talking to venues about doing a more 'a la carte'  option, I would appreciate it!  I'm having difficulty finding venues that allow this though and need some ideas.  So in review, a venue that has an outdoor area for the ceremony and would allow us to have an outside caterer.  Thanks to everyone in advance!  I really appreciate it :)

Re: Wedding venues in Michigan (Detroit area) that allow outside caterers and outdoor ceremony

  • This is my situation too! We have such a huge immediate family and network that we honestly can't plan a local wedding and have it be under 250 people. I am interested in hearing suggestions too! I looked into renting a barn that is set up for parties and weddings and bringing in outside vendors as a way to save money vs having it at a big country club or something, but the barn idea really doesn't fit my vision for my wedding at all...so that idea is out. If I could find the perfect location, I would be open to renting a big tent as well...

  • Depending on where you are located I highly recommend the lake neppessing boat club in Lapeer. It's $600 for the entire day. You have both the 2 pavilions outside and 1 inside banquet hall. You can bring in your own alcohol, caterer, whatever you want.
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  • I would suggest talking to caterers first.  When I was looking into having Holiday Market do our catering (I've heard they do amazing food for a better price than others) I asked them for a list of venues that they work with and they gave me about 2 pages worth of different options.  I found this to be way more productive than trying to find such venues online.

    Any caterer will have a list of venues they have worked with in the past, sometimes you can even find this on their websites.  Also keep in mind that some venues will only work with select caterers.

    Good luck! :)

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  • Nebullama's idea is a good one. We used Holiday Market, but found our venue first, then looked for caterers. (BTW, Holiday Market IS amazing!) They also made our wedding cake, which was fairly standard, yellow cake with Passion Fruit Mousse, buttercream frosting, 2 layers, I think about $100 and would feed 100. It was also FABULOUS!!

    You don't mention how many guests you are anticipating. The City of Beverly Hills (Southfield Rd & 13 - 14 Mile Rd) has a public park on 13 1/2 Mile Rd, just west of Southfield Rd called Beverly Park. It has a large pavilion and bathrooms. I think they open for reservations in March. I went there for a ceremony under the pavilion.

    We had our wedding at Greenmead Village in Livonia, at 8 Mile Rd and Newburgh, just east of I-275. It's an historic park, with lovely tended grounds and gardens. They have a banquet hall that holds 100, large grounds areas, and an adorable historic chapel that holds 100. We anticipated possibly having more than 100 for our wedding back in August 2011, but in the end didn't. If we had, they would have allowed us to set up a tent next to the banquet "house". They do supply tables & chairs in the price.

    Keep in mind that no matter where you are planning, you should have a rain or inclement weather possibility. It would really suck if you planned an outdoor party and it poured, or there was unseasonably cold weather. Tent rentals run $100 and up.

    If you do end up buying your own alcohol, look into Champane's Wine Cellars in Warren, on 13 Mile west of Van Dyke. VERY large selection of wines & beers in a variety of price points. We got 24 bottles of fabulous wines & champagne for about $220.

    Now, having provided all the information above, I will tell you that when you plan an "a la carte" event, you still have to plan for seating for each guest, tables, linens, chafing dishes (brought by the caterer), eating utensils & plates, cups/glasses, servers, bartenders, alcohol and food. Chair rental runs about $1 to $1.50 per chair, tables are from $8 to $15 dollars each. Also, keep in mind that your guests will be getting ready and driving to your ceremony before it starts. They won't have time for a meal. Unless you have your ceremony at 7-8 pm or later, the amount of food offered should equal a meal. Appetizers are not necessarily cheaper, because they are hand made and assembled, and equivalent amounts often cost as much or more than a buffet meal.

    We planned the wedding we wanted and could afford. Initially when I started planning I thought a lot like you: Hey, I can find a great caterer, a nice venue, and get the best of both (inexpensive) worlds. In the end, I think an "all inclusive" venue with everything provided and simply choosing the most inexpensive meal option(s) would have been cheaper. I don't regret any choices we made, but in the end, finding something cheaper isn't always possible.

    I do a ton of internet research in my job, so searching the internet for anything is what I do all day long. Unless you have fabulous cooks in your family, willing to supply everything, keep it at the appropriate temperatures, you are pretty much going to pay $30 + per person no matter what options you choose.

    The only realistic ways to reduce costs below the "standard" is to reduce your guest list, have a Friday night wedding, or get married during the off season of November - March.

    Good luck.

  • Check out the Belle Isle Casino...it was my Number 3 pick over all and Number 3 for non inclusive wedding venues. The building has unique character and it was reasonably priced...only downfall is you're in charge of renting tables/chairs and linens (through your caterer)...but it could be a cost saver!
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